(Closed) If you did not do assigned seating or tables, did you have any problems?

posted 5 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
38 posts

@mtbikelover:  I’m still not married but I worked at a banquet hall and I hated it when this happened because the brides would freak out on us like it was our fault. Well, it wasn’t always them but it’d someone. Anyways, it’s a bad idea if it’s a big wedding because what ends up happening is that people will sit with those they know and it becomes a first come, first serve – so this means you will have about 2 to 5 seats left over in a table. But as cocktail hour finishes you get just random seats, so if anyone arrives late and it’s a family, there isn’t much you can do and they have to seperate. Or they’d go to a table where the people were stubborn and there would be two seats but others in between. You could squeeze them in a table but it can be a bit of hassle. 

What I did see someone do was just have free tables for kids and teens to go sit but they still gave the family a table. So this way over protective parents could still sit with their children rather than forcing them to let them sit with other kids. They put the family tables close together. So maybe you can put the children tables in the center so parents can easily spot their kids or make sure they stay there. 

Post # 4
3574 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I went to a wedding without assigned seating.  My husband and I had to sit at separate tables, with people we did not know.  It was a horrible situation to be in.  

Post # 5
264 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

I didn’t have a seating chart and we had over 150 people. We didn’t have any problems.

Post # 6
3779 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Commenting to follow. 


We’re having a rather large wedding (aiming for 160 “Yes” RSVPS, might end up with more). Cocktail hour and reception are in the same place, same table setup. I don’t really want to make a seating chart for 160-200 people, but I’m afraid I might have to.


I went to a bigger wedding without a seating chart. I grew up on the same street as the bride and we were close friends. FH and I got to the reception and sat at a table near the head table with no signs on it only to be told by the bride’s aunt (who knew me!!) that “These tables are for family only.” I told her, “I grew up with the bride, and we practically lived at each others houses kindergarten through high school, I think I’m pretty much considered family. But I’ll go sit elsewhere.” We wound up at a table with 3 random other people. We ended up getting along with them and chatting all night.


Three years later I’m still pissed about the aunt’s “RESERVED FOR FAMILY ONLY” comment.

Post # 8
1503 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I went to a wedding recently without assigned seating.  Honestly, as a guest, it was a little confusing and hard to sit with those who I knew at the wedding.

Post # 10
1755 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

I’m very much for assigned tables and seating.  Let me share some experiences so you know why I feel that way:

1. I attended a wedding where the groom’s handicapped elderly grandmother ended up no where that she could see him, with total strangers, and it was hard for her to maneuver her wheelchair in.

2. I’ve attended a wedding where seats weren’t assigned and had to sit separately from Darling Husband because we got to the table after other people were seated and no one wanted to move.

3. I had red wine dumped on my dress when we had to move for a couple that was late to our table at another wedding.

4. I’ve seen a wedding where pushy coworkers of the mother of the groom pushed family and friends out of the way and they were seated at tables where close family and friends should have been.

Post # 12
6015 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: March 2012

Nope no problems.  We had a sweet heart table, which had three extra chairs at, that worked out because our FGs crashed our table.  It as awesome.  


I knew that people at my wedding, on both sides, hadn’t seen each other in a long time.  I also knew that chair would be pulled from tables so people could all sit together and talk.  I had a bout 4 tables with chairs pulled up to eat from oth er tables, and people put their  plates in their laps.  


Save yourself the trouble 😀 

Post # 13
3720 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

I went to a wedding with no assigned seating. People sat where they felt like– the best man’s huffy and wasted girlfriend sat closest to the head table with her friends (so the bride could hear them talk about how much better they will do it when it is their turn– the best man heard too and the poor girl is still waiting). This left the bride’s grandma and parents with a seat near the back of the hall. Fiance and I ended up finding seats together with people we never met and there was less talking and catching up than I would have hoped for.

We are doing assigned tables and it isn’t that much work. I find that it ensures that people will sit with people who they want and the VIPs can be close to me.

Post # 14
1328 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

I went to a wedding of about 50 people, long tables and buffet that did this.  And nice as it sounds it was a mess.  I was there with 2 friends and we didn’t know anyone else their besides the bride.  We were towards the end of the buffet line and when we went to sit basically every table would have one chair open in the middle.  We couldn’t even move chairs becuase there were no end spots open, just those random middle chairs. 

I’m sure in some cases it works out well, but I’m a bit put off by the idea because of that experience.

Post # 15
11273 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2012

@mtbikelover:  honestly, just do the assigned seating.  it is so much better for your guests.

i had assigned seating because i didn’t want my guests wandering around lost like in the cafeteria on their first day of high school.

Post # 16
50 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

We had a “marche” style wedding with 170 people, and only seating for about 140. We had some small cocktail tables with 2-3 chairs and also some high cocktails tables with no chairs, plus the usual 8-10 person rounds. The food was served at food stations and the idea was for people to get some food, sit and eat, go visit another food station, get some more, maybe sit somewhere else, etc. I was really worried about not having assigned seating, plus not even actually having enough seating!

Almost all of our guests “got it” and loved being able to sit wherever they wanted, and not be stuck with people for a long time. A few of my husband’s family rushed the room to reserve seats together and stayed seated “saving seats” all night. That was really only one table, and they looked pretty ridiculous to everyone else. They are the country folk who expected a traditional sit-down meal. 

We had numerous RSVP changes in the 2 weeks before the wedding, and I can’t imagine having to rework a seating chart as many times as would have been necessary with everything else going on then. We marked one table as Reserved and told our friends and family with mobility issues (canes, wheelchairs, etc) to feel free to sit there. 

I have been to mostly assigned seating weddings, and have often heard people complaining about where or who they’ve been assigned. As a long-single girl, I was always at an awkward table of other singles or the +1s of the bridal party, and hated it.

I think this falls under the situation of “You can’t please everyone.” No matter what you do, assigned seating or not, people will complain. Do it the way that makes the most sense for you!

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