Post # 1
I’m not keen on telling people where they can and can’t sit… but I also fear that there may be total chaos without seating assignments.
What do you all think? How large can a reception be and still get away without seating assignments? Are there other guidelines (like you need to have 10% more chairs than guests if you don’t assign seating)?
Has anyone had a good or bad experience not assigning seating?
Our reception is buffet style, we don’t really have a traditional wedding party, and FI and I will be at a sweetheart table.
What say you?
Post # 3
I think it’s at least necessary to assign tables, but not actual seats (which is what I did). Because sometimes if tables aren’t assigned, maybe a group of 5 people want to sit together but can’t find a table for enough of them, so someone gets separated. As a guest I get so confused and hate not being assigned a table.
Post # 4
Please assign tables (not seats). It will save you and everyone else a headache.
Post # 5
I think table assignments are as far as you need to go. This is mostly to make sure everyone has a seat with someone they know, and isn’t stuck eating alone for the meal when they can’t find enough space to accomodate a big group.
Post # 6
Necessary…no, not in my opinion. But I would like assigned tables just so I wouldn’t have to worry about picking table and which friends are going to sit where. I’ve been to plenty without assigned seating and I always had fun and it’s not a huge deal to find seats… but it’s just nice if there is assigned tables so people don’t have to worry about finding seats for their group.
Post # 7
I think seating arrangements are really good because they ensure groups don’t get broken up (and this WILL be an issue if you leave open seating) and it helps guide guests to tables instead of them wandering and wondering what the plan is.
It does depend on your area and social groups. But I prefer assigned tables.
Post # 8
It really is important to assign each guest to a specific table. Once you begin to consider who to seat with whom, the puzzle pieces really do fall into place rather easily.
By doing this, you are not only saving your guests the task of trying to select tables and “save” seats (there’s nothing particulary attractive, sanitary, or safe when people attempt to lean chairs inward against the top of the table to indicate that they are “taken”) but also the stress of being a family of four trying to find seats when there are only one or two seats available at any remaining table.
Post # 9
I would assign them to a table at least , that way people aren’t walking around with a plate of food trying to find a place to sit and end.
Post # 10
I am aparently in the minority here, but I have been to several buffet receptions that didn’t have any sort of assigned seating (actually, I’ve never been to a buffet reception that DID have assigned seating), and I actually prefer it that way. That way people can choose where they sit and whom they sit with. All of these weddings had plenty of seating for everyone and no one was walking around with food without a place to sit. Most people will find a plce to sit before going up to the buffet, anyways.
I think if you were doing a plated meal you should assign seats, but for buffets I don’t think it’s necessary at all. I plan on having a buffet dinner and am not having any assigned seating at all. That way people can sit throughout the night wherever they please, eat whenever they want, and walk around and mingle whenever they want, etc.
Post # 11
I don’t think so. I would have a couple tables reserved for the families, but other than that, let people sit where and with who they want. I’ve been to weddings where we’ve been assigned tables and there was always someone at the table that someone else wished wasn’t there– there are a lot of groups to place and the couple won’t always know the dynamics of everyone sitting at the table.
On the flip side of this, a week after my wedding a family friend contacted my mother telling them what a wonderful time he and his wife had an how much they enjoyed meeting some of couples at their table. They never would have met these couples if we had done assigned tables because they were from different groups.
So no, it’s not necessary, and if you don’t do it, there will not be chaos because people will claim their seats before the buffet is served. It’s not going to be like the cafeteria in high school.
Post # 12
If you don’t mind tables of 15 and tables of 2, you don’t need a seating chart. But That would drive me crazy!
Post # 13
We had a wedding with 120 guests, buffet style and no seating chart. People can figure it out!!! Of course, I dont know if it matters, but the ceremony and reception were at the same venue with a cocktail hour between. People mingled around and then were able to decide whom to sit with.
Post # 14
We set tables aside for our immediate family and grandparents. I also had a table set up for kids with coloring books, paper, etc. Otherwise, we did not do seating assignments for our buffet reception. I would so much rather have people sit with who they want to. No one complained and it wasn’t chaos at all. There was a lot of mingling between tables all night.
Post # 15
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
@Sunnybrook: I think you are good under 50 people. At 75 it gets a bit more chaotic and assigning tables should alleviate some of the issues.
<50 – you can most likely get away with not having assigned seats
75+ – probably a good idea to at least assign tables
I personally hate assigned seating because I always get the crappy table. I guess my friends and family realize I am super nice and able to talk to anyone so they always put me at the table with the awkward people they don’t know what to do with. They know I will just deal with the crappy table because I don’t make a big deal out of it but I ABSOLUTLY LOATHE BEING SEATED AT THE CRAPPY TABLE!!!!
Finding my seat at a reception has become my least favorite part of a wedding and I try to escape my table as quickly as possible by stealing a seat at another table as soon as people start dancing/leaving. That said, I regularly get kicked out of tables even after dinner is over because people don’t want to give up their “good” seats.
I would rather it be a free for all so that I can sit with whomever I want and if it turns out to be a crappy table then it’s my own fault and not the bride being a hoo-hah and putting me at a crappy table. Bottom line: Save yourself the grief and assign immediate family and bridal party tables then leave the rest up to the guests.
Post # 16
I just wrote about this on another post. We did not have a seating chart. We had a buffet style reception and people figured it out. My family took one side of the room and DH’s took the other side. I knew what would happen, each side wound up pulling the tables and chairs together so they could sit together. We also had my niece seatting on DH’s lap for most of the time we were at the sweetheart table. Everyone got food, had a great time, and spent alot of time just talking to each other and moving around.
I didn’t need the stress of trying to figure it all out and they are adults, it all worked out.
ETA: We had 98 people at our wedding.