As I have already mentioned, you might want to consider assigned seats if you have family members that do not get along too well. With assigned seats, you can make sure they do not have to be by one another and you can help prevent trouble from occurring.
Even if you don’t have any tensions in your family (lucky you!), you still might want to consider assigning seats. If you want to give your reunion a more formal feel, assigning seats is a must. But, even if you are planning a more casual affair, assigning seats can be a good idea.
If it has been a while since you have had a family gathering and your family members are spread all over the country or over the world, the chances are pretty good that they don’t know each other as well as you would probably like them to. In addition, there are groups of family members living in certain cities or states, they likely have formed closer bonds with one another than with other family members. As a result, “cliques” may actually start to form.
No one wants to attend a family reunion and experience a throw back to high school to when they were not a part of the “cool” crowd. Therefore, you want to discourage cliques as much as possible. The best way to do this is with assigned seats.
If you do assign seats, be sure to carefully select who will be seated together. You might want to look at the ages of the guests and try to get a member of each generation seated at a table together. If you think your family would prefer to have “adult” tables and “child” tables, that is fine too. Just be sure to mix and match the tables so you don’t have people that live close to one another sitting together.
You might want to include an ice breaker activity at each table that your guests can engage in while they wait for other guests to arrive. If nothing else, you can include a list of simple questions they can each ask about each other, such as where do you live, what kind of job do you have, and do you have any pets. You can also include questions about “favorites,” such as what is your favorite food, who is your favorite sports team, and what is your favorite band.
These questions will get your family members talking – and they just might find that they have more in common with each other than they thought!