Groups who know each other- This is the most common way to assign your guests. It makes sense to put people who know each other together. It makes the guests feel comfortable and lets them have fun. It's espcially great to put people who know each other, but may not see each other too often, together. This way they can catch up. This is my personal favorite. I like being able to hang out with friends and family members at other people weddings.
By age- Put the 20 somethings together, put the 30 somethings together, put the teens together, put the kids together, put the "adults" together.... At many cousin's wedding, I was put at the "kids table" and it was fun to have other kids my age to hang out with.
By couple status- If your a couple you sit with a table of couples, if your single, you sit at the singles table. I'm not so sure how I feel about this option. At a friend's wedding, I went with my fiance and we knew a lot of people at the wedding, who all happend to be single. We were put with random other couples, while most of our other single friends sat together. I would have loved to sit with our friends, but I'm sure the bride had her reasoning.
By Family- Putting an entire family together at a table, i.e. Mom, Dad, Brother and his date, sister and her date, sister and her date. I've been to a couple family weddings where this was the case. I think sometimes it makes sense, but to be honest, I'd rather sit with my cousins who I don't see as often as immediate family. But, it did get me away from my table and on the dance floor, so I can see the advantage of this to get guests mingling, while still feeling comfortable with their table.By similarities- Putting people together who have things in common. I think this is a great way to decide on where to put that friend who doesn't know anyone else. Think of his lifestyle and put him at a table where he has people he'll enjoy hanging out with for the night. I went to a wedding with Mr. Newport for one of his childhood friends, where we pretty much knew no one. The couple put us at a table with their other friends who Mr. Newport ended up having a lot in common with (grew up on the Jersey shore, big hockey players, a couple engaged people, etc. etc.). It ended up being one of the best weddings we had ever been to, we had a blast with the group at our table and they were so easy to connect with.
Completely random- random, like pulling names out of a hat to pick table assignments. I have never seen or heard of this being done, but Newport Cousin M said she wants to do this at her future wedding to force people to mingle and have fun. She and her mom think it's the best idea ever. When they say random, this includes you most likely not sitting with your date, unless you happen to get pulled from the hat for the same table....not likely at a 200 person wedding. I'm not sure how this will go over, but it will be interesting to see.
I think we will go with a mix of a few of the above, minus the compeltely random option. I'll let Newport Cousin M introduce that one to the family. It could either be really fun or a big flop.
Are you having table assignments? If so, how are you deciding who sits where?