Has Anyone Gone Without Reserved Seating?

posted 3 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 2
6969 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I personally hate not having assigned tables at least. You’ll probably end up with 12 people at one table, 4 at another, some people split up, etc.

Post # 3
7039 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Perhaps just allocate people to tables rather than seats. Also if you don’t know the extended families well, ask your parents to help seat people together who know each other.

The downside of no seating chart is that the last people get the worst seats, and/or seats with people they don’t know. Your Great Aunt Maud probably doesn’t want to sit with FI’s college buddies.

Post # 4
4147 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I always feel awkward when I have to seat myself – help those out who might be shy and at least put everyone at tables.  We didn’t reserve specific seats, but we put everyone at a specific table and they could pick their seat at their table.

Post # 5
172 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014 - Enoch Turner School House

My brother took this route at his wedding. There were tables reserved for bridal parity, and for immediate family, the rest was seat yourselves, and it worked out fantastic. It may depend on the group of people, but it does work!

Post # 6
349 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

As PPs have suggested, we had allocated tables for everyone and let them pick their seat at that table. Everyone was happy and I didn’t have to spend hours picking where everyone was seated while trying not to offend anyone.

Post # 7
1248 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

At least allocate tables to everyone. It might be easier for you to not have to do a detailed seating chart but it definitely isn’t easier for the guests who are trying to find a table and seats.

Post # 8
72 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

I agree with bethannfisher in that it depends on the group! We will not be having a seating arrangement at our reception- it’s actually pretty unusual to have one in my area, so no one will be surprised by the free for all. I understand that some people prefer to have an assigned table, but on the flipside, I’ve talked to a lot of people who prefer to just choose their seats, or have even been offended by being assigned to a far corner table. Personally, it’s nice to not have to deal with the stress! We’ll be reserving tables for the wedding party, immediate family, and grandparents at the front though. But again, you might just have to read your group and take note of what the “norm” might be for your area.

Post # 9
8850 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA

You can do this, but you have to have like ~20% extra seats, or people will get stuck at tables they don’t want to be at. We had a casual wedding but with 165 guests, I didn’t want to pay for a bunch more seats so people could self select. It’s only for dinner – people can mingle plenty after that. 

Post # 10
8677 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

We had no assigned seating. We all eventually ended up circling the wagons, everyone just kicked back, relaxed, sharing stories & laughing. We became one giant, moderately happy family sharing good food, funny memories and well wishes.

Post # 11
666 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I have been a guest at a wedding with no assigned seating and it was incredibly awkward.  I wouldn’t recommend.  We did assigned tables at our wedding and I think that went very well.


Post # 12
6450 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

Please at least assign tables. I hate it when there is no seating chart. I have ended up at an eight person wedding alone with DH because there were no spots left with our friends and no one wanted to just sit with people they don’t know. 

Post # 13
576 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

The last wedding I went to was a seating free for all – literally. People like, ran to reserve tables. It sucked.

Post # 14
24457 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

We didn’t have assigned seating but it was a small guest.  I guess people didn’t freak out over it because I didn’t see any fighting or people sitting at a table alone.

Post # 15
1670 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I hated the last wedding I was at where this was the case – but we only knew a few people at it. People were running around and hanging coats on the back of chairs to try to reserve seats, meanwhile we ended up having to sit apart from the people we knew – we totally felt like the uncool kids in the cafeteria.  If it was say… just a family reunion or something, or everyone knew everyone, it would be totally fine. Try for just assigning tables. 

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