Outcast Table
Distance From Bride: 100 feet

The furthest table is jammed with stragglers and unknowns, each wearing an assortment of wrinkled clothing picked up from the sale rack of Kohl’s. There are no +1s, no one knows one another, and everyone has some weird job like vintage radio repair or dog groomer. If you’re sitting here you probably bought the cheapest thing left on the already picked over registry. Your invitation is due to you being a friend of a moody friend, and it’s easier to give you a piece of dried out chicken than explain your absence.

Working Class Table
Distance from Bride: 80 feet

Largely comprised of work acquaintances and neighbors who weren’t invited until they proved their usefulness with hair, knowing an open bar service, or stuffing invitations. If you’re sitting here you’re probably nursing a poorly hidden deep-rooted resentment, believing that your talent was exploited. You’re right, but you need to recognize that your work is third tier Pinterest at best. This table is responsible for the vast majority of Instagram pictures of food and for actually using the couple’s vague and nonsensical hashtag #Married4Ever2016.

Old High School/College Friends Table
Distance from Bride: 60 feet

Easily identifiable by the echoing and empty phrase “we should totally hang out!” This table is often composed of both the furthest traveling attendants and the most frequent open bar visitors. Everyone will relish in finding out who knew the couple the longest, but the bride and groom will quickly walk past this table only once as they move on towards people they still care about. You are pretty much a breathing Beanie Baby in their eyes: a period of stupidity that seemed promising at one time, but gets more embarrassing each year. If you are sitting at this table, you probably do not know this. The guests here exist in a dimension where each individual recognizes that everyone else has aged but themselves. All given a +1 despite the bride and groom never once meeting the significant others, but the punishment for these unknown guests is an endless three hours of nonstop nostalgia about being late to classes and drinking cheap beer. Between sharing memories, the table will glance towards the table of new friends and try to hide their anguish.

Family (B) Table
Distance from Bride: 40 feet

Considered the junior varsity of family, this table is invited entirely out of guilt. Though the bride and groom had to cut some of their close friends, their parents insisted that each and every gossipy aunt and distant, drunk uncles get an invite. A collection of black sheep and their horde of offspring, the table appears as a cancerous tumor on the family tree. They do not mingle, but they do drink all the gin as they talk in tight circles around the edge of the wedding space.

New Friends Table
Distance from Bride: 20 feet

More attractive and successful than the old friends, the new friends sit within reaching distance of the bride and groom. If you are sitting at this table, you are aware of this distinction, but try not to draw attention to it. The ceremony might include a few inside jokes that originate from this space, and the bridal party will likely include a large number of these individuals. Throughout the speeches, these individuals will be name-checked by the parents. Every song they request is played in, like, seven minutes, but their taste is so on point that no one complains. Their worst fear for the wedding is to get stuck beside an old friend in line for a drink, where they’re forced to hear about how the couple acted in some remote high school. 

Unknown Children Table
Distance from Bride: 15 feet

Who are these children? Where are their parents? No one knows. They’re dressed like breathing American Girl dolls and they’re slamming on a fat stack of chicken nuggets which you’re sure weren’t on the invitations. Somehow they’ve gotten to the cake early and have gorged themselves on the icing, leaving moist little cubes of carrot cake at the table. When the dancing starts, a few will rush up and begin aggressively swing dancing. They are really good, but that somehow just makes it more awkward. Soon one starts screaming, and then once the sugar high crashes, they all start screaming.

Family (A) Table
Distance from Bride: 10 feet

If you are at this table you are likely old or paying for this. The entire ceremony is fully ruined due to a constant anxiety about whether ungrateful strangers are having a good time or not. People will get their thirteenth Jack and Coke and a third serving of meatballs, and then try not to acknowledge you. The other option is you’re a sibling that didn’t quite make it into the bridal party and you’re now drinking enough to make your “oh it’s fine” sound believable.

Groom or Bride Table
Distance from Bride: Negligible

Mystery zone. You are the center of the party and yet everyone is more obsessed about their own positioning than how this event signifies a moment in your life. Perhaps some will congratulate you by repeating the same thing over and over, others might clink their glasses to make you kiss, but most will certainly be trying their damnedest to get their money’s worth out of your hors d'oeuvres. You desperately try (and fail) to have a wonderful time and simply push out the memories of hard work and costs that put you in this chair, but still you scan the room knowing the cost of every flower, every server, and every little knick-knack beside the gifts. If you are at this table you are probably more personable, attractive, and responsible than me. Or really stupid.

– Ian "Salmon Season" Golding (@iggolding)

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