One of the biggest wedding headaches is understanding—and meeting—the expectations of guests. That’s where Sherry Thomas of Palm Beach Etiquette (561/200-8003, steps in. She helps clients establish “confidence without arrogance” with “public (and private) persona optimization.”

The etiquette debate begins with the guest list, as couples wrestle with demands of family and budget. One method is having “A” and “B” lists. A-listers are immediately family and close friends, while B-listers include co-workers, extended family, etc. When an A-lister cannot attend, a B-lister is invited.

A sticky situation may arise when a B-lister receives an invitation and questions why he never received a save the date.

“A good response is that, due to changes, you were able to expand your guest list,” she says. “People dig themselves into trouble by trying to over-explain. Apologize if there are hurt feelings and go on.”

Then the list must be translated into a seating chart, which is “one of the prickliest and most stressful components,” Thomas says. “You will not please everyone. Feelings will be hurt, egos will be bruised, but life will go on.”

She suggests starting with family and close friends, placing them in prime tables closest to the couple. “Feuding family members and friends should be gingerly separated, without it being blatantly obvious,” she says.

In the end, she advises that the bride and groom focus on enjoying their big day.

“There is no one mandating that you must adhere to tradition,” Thomas says. “It is your day.”