Weddings are great opportunities for people to gather and celebrate the melding of two families into one. Weddings are a melting pot, and while the ultimate goal is for all guests invited to mingle and have a good time, preexisting relationships may cause some wedding-day interactions to be strained.

However, with careful planning and some best behavior on the parts of all involved, getting hitched can go off without a hitch.

It’s possible for guests who may have tumultuous pasts to keep the peace, but this also can be ensured through careful seating arrangements. This is just one factor couples need to consider when deciding where guests will sit and dine at receptions. It’s important to avoid some common mistakes.

• Mistake #1
Not having a seating plan.
Let guests sit where they want and chaos may ensue. People may think they’re entitled to certain seats, may hop into seats vacated by someone getting up to use the restroom or any number of other scenarios. Seating arrangements also ensure everyone is accounted for across the room.

•Mistake #2
Seating families separately.
Unless there are rifts between certain family members, it’s best to seat parents and children at the same tables.

• Mistake #3
Trying to force new friendships.
Avoid trying to figure out who will get along by creating a potpourri table. A cousin in a band will not necessarily want to sit next to your coworker who plays guitar simply because they have a shared love of music. A wedding is not the time to try to create new friendships. If it’s meant to be, they’ll connect in a more organic way.

• Mistake #4
The dreaded kids’ table.
Young children can probably get away with sitting at a dedicated kids’ table, although it may mean their parents have to interrupt their experiences by checking on their kids throughout the night.
A bigger faux pas is to sit teenagers or twentysomethings at the kids table even if they seem like youngsters to you. Set a strict cut-off age for a children’s table.

• Mistake #5
Being too strict in seating. It’s one thing to direct couples or singletons to specific tables, quite another to assign specific seats.
Do not dictate exactly where at the table a guest should sit. Some people arrive early, others late, and it is up to them to work out how to arrange themselves at the table.

• Mistake #6
Failing to get family feedback.
Always check with your parents and future in-laws as resources about how to seat certain guests. They’ll likely know who will make the best table-mates, especially if couples are not familiar with everyone on the guest list.

• Mistake #7
Not being aware of disabilities or needs.
Be conscious of guests’ needs. An elderly relative may not be comfortable in front of the DJ table. A person in a wheelchair may need easy access to and from the reception room. It’s important to be mindful of these special needs.

A seating plan for wedding receptions is an important consideration so that every guest can feel comfortable.