To assign seats or not assign seats?

posted 9 years ago in Beehive
Post # 3
Member
52 posts
Worker bee

My step-sister did not assign seats and I’d have to say it was sort of awkward especially since people reached the reception at different times and others had to sit with people they’d never met instead of their family – which might be okay for a lot of people, but I’m not so good at striking up conversation with strangers. Are you haveing a large wedding where most people won’t know each other or a smaller, more intimate wedding?

Post # 5
Member
497 posts
Helper bee

please, please, please assign tables.  I have been to a wedding where the tables were not assigned and it was extraordinarily awkward.  Especially for family members who were late to the reception because of pictures.  You don’t want great aunt Edna to have to sit in the kitchen because she didn’t save her seat next to Uncle Fred soon enough.

Post # 6
Member
58 posts
Worker bee

I strongly am in favor of assigning seats, even at an informal wedding, for the reasons stated by others.

My wedding is informal but we are still assigning seats.  It will save people the hassle of trying to figure out who sits where.  Your guests will probably appreciate that you have done the work for them! 

 

Post # 7
Member
2293 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

Just to voice the dissenting opinion – my sister did not assign seating at her reception, and it worked out fine.  She really wanted people not to park themselves in a specific seat, but to mingle and change places throughout the evening.  With the exception of a few older folks, this is exactly what happened – except while actually eating, people wandered from table to table.  The result was that you got to socialize with significantly more folks than normal.  Of course, she had a pretty small event (~120 people) about half family and half friends, and most people knew at least half the people in attendance.  It didn’t appear to me that anybody had significant trouble figuring out where to sit, and I didn’t hear any complaints

We are also not assigning seating.  Our event is just a little larger.  There is nobody attending who won’t know at least several other people, and most of our friends and family are pretty outgoing, so I don’t see it as a problem if a couple ends up at a table where they only know each other.  By the end of dinner that will have changed!

Post # 8
Member
53 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2006

I didn’t assign seats (small wedding, about 150) and it worked out wonderfully.  We reserved a few tables for family, and my grandma made sure that her family knew to sit at her table. 

It let people sit where they wanted, with who they wanted, and no one was left out in the cold.  Plus, it didn’t feel right to tell people where to sit, in my opinion. 

Post # 9
Member
94 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

I would recommend at least assigning tables or reserving some tables for family.  My step-brother and his wife did not have assigned seats or tables at their wedding.  I personally did not care for the "sit yourself whereever" approach, mostly because the family was separated and stuck at the "bad" tables but also because some couples weren’t able to sit together, including my dad sitting at a different table than my step-mom. 

It seemed like a bit of a slap in the face that the people that worked really hard for the wedding, made sure that everything was removed from the church, and were in their pictures got stuck sitting next to the kitchen because rude people took the best tables.  But I also think it might depend on how your space is set up.  If there are no bad tables, then maybe it is less of a concern.

Post # 10
Member
29 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: May 2008

We are having a larger wedding of about 300 people.  We are not assigning seats but we are assigning tables (same thing?)  People end up rearranging themselves anyway during the night and my guests will only really be sitting for dinner. 

Post # 11
Member
2033 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

My cousin did not assign seating at his wedding, and the only person who had a problem with it was my formal, stuffy grandmother. She stood at the doorway and demanded to be escorted to her table. When they told her to seat herself anywhere, she threw a fit. I’d suggest that if you do open seating, maybe have one table of assigned seating for family.

Post # 12
Member
2293 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

Well, okay, let me clarify – I do think that you have to stick "Reserved" signs on the head tables.  Figure out how much family you need to provide seating for (parents, grandparents, etc?) and reserved 2 or 3 "head tables."  Then let everyone who will be at one of those tables know where they are.  Everyone else should be able to figure things out.  We will reserve two tables for FI and I, our two attendants and their SOs, our parents, and a few close friends from out of town to round out the tables.  We are actually having his kids sit with their friends.  I fail to understand how somebody can be so late that they don’t get a decent seat – we have a full hour for cocktails, and my experience at other weddings is that people use that time to pick out their table-mates and manage to plant their suit jackets, handbags, etc at the table of their choice.  Since our wedding is actually across the hall from the reception, anybody who doesn’t make it there by time to sit for dinner didn’t try very hard!!

Post # 13
Member
388 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

It is definitely more work for the bride/groom to assign tables, but I agree that it’s worth the effort.  I’ve been to many a wedding as a single girl without a guest, and was so happy when the B&G seated me with a fun table.  It would have sucked to walk into a big room and figure out where a single empty seat would be.

I did both assigned tables, then assigned seats because I needed to make sure certain people did not sit together, and I was making changes up to the day of the wedding due to last minute changes.

But like someone else suggested above, at a minimum you can assign everyone to a table, then let them figure out which seat to take.  It’s easier to figure out where to sit at  a table of 8-10 people as opposed to figuring out where to sit in a room of 100 or more.

Post # 14
Member
47 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: August 2008

please please please assign at least tables….then they can figure out.

Post # 15
Member
32 posts
Newbee

Please assign tables! We went to a ~120 person wedding of one of my college friends last summer where I only knew the bride and vaguely knew one or two other people and my fiance didn’t know anyone. By the time we had made our way through the receiving line most of the tables were scattered with tipped in reserved chairs and chairs covered with suit coats.  We had to circle the banquet hall at least twice before we found two empty seats at the same table.  It felt a bit like one of those movie moments with the new kid at school walking into a crowded cafeteria where he/she doesn’t know anyone.  It all worked out in the end and we found a table of really friendly folks to sit with but we could have just as easily found ourselves at the next table over talking with Aunt Edna about her dentures or accidentally interrupting a family group that wants to sit together.

If you do go the open seating route please think of the folks who don’t know many people and try to introduce them to someone else with similar interests.  I’ve done this for a few weddings where the bride has asked me to adopt an out of town friend and introduce him/her to other friends and it has worked out well.

Post # 16
Member
94 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

I think it really does all depend on the circumstances but I think that most of the time people appreciate having some kind of guide as to where you would like them to sit.  But also like Suzanno said, most of the time, important people like close family should be able to show up in time to find a good seat.  Just remember to take all of your important concerns into account when deciding what to do.

For example, my step-brother and his wife didn’t have a cocktail hour.  So in the time that family pictures were being taken, other guests who were not in the pictures drove over to the reception hall and staked out all the good seats which was a circumstance that the bride could have anticipated.  So that’s why family got stuck by the kitchen (and the bar, so it worked out OK for me).

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