This short and simple exercise is designed to help cross-sector partnerships think through who they should be engaging, and in what ways, in order to achieve their shared result.

When building and maintaining cross-sector partnerships, it can be difficult to understand who should be at the table and how they should be involved. Building a structure that makes sense for you and your partners can be done, but it does take time, thought and planning. We’ve found a useful metaphor to think about this work that many people can relate to: a wedding.

To learn more about the “wedding” metaphor, read our blog: Four Questions to Consider When Building a Cross-Sector Partnership.

Partnerships are usually born as the result of a few key people and/or organizations coming together around a broad goal. And, like most weddings, most cross-sector partnerships have greater potential for success when they are well-organized. Once a partnership is able to more clearly articulate the shared result it aims to achieve, that partnership will need to reconsider its composition. Members of the partnership must ask: “Who needs to be at what table? And who is missing?” based on the shared result.

The Wedding Chart exercise includes a simple chart and series of guiding questions to support the iterative process of determining WHO should be at WHAT table in order to get measurable results, faster. We’ve observed that partnerships find it valuable to document and solidify the relationships among partners, in the same way that the bride and groom create place settings for their guests.

The Wedding Chart exercise is designed to be completed in a group or workshop setting, but it could be used as an individual thought exercise as well.


  • Download the document at the top right corner of this page.
  • Print a copy of page 5 for each participant.
  • If possible, plan to display the instruction slides using a projector during the exercise. If that is not possible, print copies of the guiding questions for each pairing or small group that will participate.


30 minutes recommended.


There are many different types and models of cross-sector partnerships. Based on our work supporting over 70 different collective impact initiatives, Living Cities believes that collective impact presents one of the most promising models for achieving dramatically better results, faster. This tool was developed to specifically support collective impact initiatives but could be useful for other types of cross-sector partnerships as well.

Join the conversation about cross-sector partnerships on Twitter with @Living_Cities and the hashtag #xsector.

Published: November 10, 2015
Contributors: Brittany Ramos DeBarros