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Is it OK to separate families at the reception?

Is it okay to separate families at the

Is it okay to separate families at the reception? The Wedding Helper guides your way out of a sticky situation. Credit: Fotolia

Dear Wedding Helper,

My mom and my soon-to-be mother-in-law do not get along. I've heard it's customary to seat all of the bride's and groom's parent's at the same table, and I'm not working with a lot of space at the reception — is it OK to separate them? -- Rebecca Vitrulis, Queens

Dear Rebecca,

There are no actual rules stating that the bride's and groom's parents have to sit at the same table during the reception. Though etiquette may suggest it, this doesn'tt mean that everyone must follow this notion.

In a situation like this, it is not uncommon to have your families sit at separate tables, as long as both tables are equally close to you and your husband-to-be. Just be sure not to sit one family all the way in the back, while the other family is at a table right next to you. If you follow that guideline, no one should feel slighted.  

A great reason to seat each set of parents at separate tables is to allow each family to be with their respective relatives or close friends. Fill both up with your closest family to make the best use of the available space (you can typically fit anywhere from 8 to 10 people at a reception table comfortably). This should keep the night stress-free and relaxed, and both sets of parents will be more than happy to be seated near people they want to spend time with!

If you have a wedding question, email The Wedding Helper at and your question could be featured!

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