Post # 1
OK so this sounds odd to me so I’m here for advice.
The meeting space I am renting for the reception sits 100 people, with no room for dancing stage or anything. Our guest list is at about 95. Granted about 20 of those 95 may not show, we’re not so sure but even 75, that’s 3/4 of the space taken with just tables for eating. So I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure it out.
Our possible caterer and I just had a long (like hour long) talk about the reception. She’s a friend and will be charging a very reasonable price. She’s also catering and restaurant manager here at my work.
So she says that it would be a good idea to have a couple round tables that seat 9. 3-5 high top tables that sit 4 and chairs lining the sides for those getting tired. And to have a stand up reception. She says also to use the appetizer plates and our menu we were thinking finger sandwiches, cheeses, wings and frogmore stew (which you can eat on an app plate) with many other things. You know like a full appetizer type bar. Instead of a full menu, just doing tons and tons of smaller foods. Which would lessen the need for tables and free up room for dancing and “mingling” as she says.
I don’t know about this. I’m a little hesitant that others will find it odd, will be put out with the lack of tables, I just don’t know. So I’m here wondering what ya’ll think would be acceptable, better, nicer you know
Post # 3
For the mingling portion, your plan sounds fine but what do guest do during the toast, toss, cake cutting, etc? I would feel werid if i was one of the guests who ended up without a chair. lol
Post # 4
If you’re doing heavy appetizers… it’s like you’re trying to do a meal, you know? But… without the meal part. Personally, I’d want to sit. I guess you wouldn’t have a seating chart then? It’d be first come first serve?
What about long tables?
So there would be no dancing? Or there would be dancing but only if there were standing tables?
Where will people put their jackets/purses? Are you having favors? If so, where would those be kept? I’d really hate having to wear a shawl/jacket or carry my clutch around the whole night without being able to have them somewhere. Will there be a coat check type place?
Post # 5
Picture it- many of your guests are sitting on the chairs against the wall. They have a drink in one hand and a plate of wings in another. So they set the drink on the ground for it to get knocked over and they put the plate in their lap on their nice dresses and suits so that they can use their hands to eat the wings. They then have sauce covered hands and… you see where this is going.
First off, don’t serve wings. Messy finger food is always served on a stick that you can bite off of for this reason.
I’m very unlikely to dance anyway if it’s an appetizer reception. Get enough chairs for all of your guests and enough tables so that everyone can set down their purse/drink/food.
ETA: I Voted “Have exactly enough chairs” but, thinking about it more, if you aren’t assigning seating, then you have to have more than enough chairs because people 5 people will sit at a 6 seater table and no person will sit with them alone.
Post # 6
I’d rather a seat at a table and a small dance floor if I felt in the mood to dance (assuming 75ppl rather than 95 so still some room for a dance floor). Will your guests be RSVPing so you can work out exactly how many people are attending? The dance floor is really only important for the first dance + father daughter dance.
Have you also thought about cake and gift table spaces?
I say have enough seats for everyone that RSVP’s Yes to attend.
Post # 7
Our venue also suggested this option and it was quickly denied. I certainly don’t like to stand up and eat I would like a table to sit at and since your guests should all be eating at the same time it would kind of stink if only half of them had somewhere to sit and had to rotate out. And it would also be good to give each person a place to put their jacket/purse instead of having to carry it around with them. I go with have enough tables for everyone who rsvps
Post # 8
Honestly, I would find a different venue, that is big enough to accommodate all your guests, and has space for dancing.
As a guest, I would not want to stand and eat, or to have to hunt for a chair, or have to sit lined up against the outer walls. I would feel uncomfortable, and think it was pretty bad of whoever was organising it to not have found a venue that is actually big enough for the number of guests they were inviting.
Post # 9
+1. I think you’ve given the OP an excellent description of what she could expect if she chooses to do what the caterer is suggesting.
Post # 10
We went to a wedding earlier this year where there was seating only for the older generation (as in, tables with big “RESERVED” signs on them), and then a few tables set up in the cocktail area. We were expected to eat dinner (buffet dinner items, not just apps) standing up. They’d gotten married in a hurry and on a tight budget, so we excused it, but we definitely remembered it when planning our own wedding. Have a space for everyone to sit!
Plus, there are all those Four Wedding episodes where the brides bitch about having nowhere to sit!
Post # 11
You’re going to get almost nothing but negative responses (which, take that to heart!) but I notice you’re in South Carolina, which is one of a couple places (the other being Louisiana) where I understand this type of set-up is common. Or at least, I know they do this in Charleston, not sure about the rest of the state. I got married in New Orleans and a lot of the venues explained that they do “cocktail receptions” with not enough seating for all the guests. The idea is that the party starts as soon as the reception starts. There is no “dinner” portion and “dancing” portion – the food stations stay open the whole time, the band is going the whole time, so you can eat whenever and dance whenever. There is some seating, but not enough for everyone, because not everyone will want to sit at the same time. I liked the idea because I find the sit-down dinner part of weddings boring and overly long, and I always spring out of my seat as soon as possible and never get back in it. But obviously not everyone is the same.
So what happened at my wedding is we had the main room where the food stations, bar, band and dance floor were. In that room there were only scattered high top tables. Then there was a huge balcony attached to the room with lots of tables and chairs on it – enough for all the guests or close to it, and that’s where most people sat down to eat, although some people did just kind of mill around the main room or perch at a high top table. I (voluntarily) never sat down to eat, and I don’t think my husband did either. As far as what people did with their coats and purses, we had the venue set up a portable coat rack outside the room, and I think some women just set their purses on a high top table or against a wall. We had a very lively reception which started with a parade and included live music and free flowing alcohol, so I don’t know that anyone was too concerned about such things. I wouldn’t change a thing about my reception; I never wanted a normal sit-down affair. But at the same time, I think it is important that the tone of the reception match the set up and that you provide plenty of places for people to sit even if it’s not the conventional assigned seating.
Post # 12
- Wedding: November 2012 - Oak Tree Manor
I’ve been to a wedding with a heavy-apps- reception and very few tables, and honestly, after mingling with other guests, eating apps, and drinking cocktails for several hours, I was so tired of being on my feet, I would’ve loved to have a space to sit down. I think it would’ve been a little odd to have assigned tables, since there wasn’t a plated dinner, but just having a chair to rest in would’ve been nice. I think it detracted from the fun a little bit, and people didn’t dance as much.