Post # 1
I’ve been thinking it might be easier for everyone to have a free for all except for our immediate families. Fiancee and I have lots of extended relatives and I don’t know very many of them.
The only downside I see is that I won’t have a nice seating chart out.
Post # 2
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
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
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
- 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
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
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
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
- 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
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
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
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
The last wedding I went to was a seating free for all – literally. People like, ran to reserve tables. It sucked.
Post # 14
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
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.