(Closed) Arranged Seating or Open Seating?

posted 8 years ago in Reception
  • poll:
    Pro Arranged Seating (table arrangement) : (71 votes)
    72 %
    Pro Open Seating : (28 votes)
    28 %
  • Post # 3
    818 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: December 2009

    For our wedding we assigned tables, but not particular seats. For us the rationale was that it made sure people at a table with somebody they already knew and nobody ended up sitting alone, not knowing anybody. 

    Post # 4
    2465 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: August 2010

    I’m pro-table assignments (not seat assignments). Most weddings I’ve been to have been like that, but I went to one last year with open seating, and there was this incredibly awkward, stressful, and pretty awful 5 minutes of trying to find a table. It was a family wedding but we (my parents, husband, and I) only knew a few people because it was a destination wedding in the bride’s home country (Peru). the table with a few people we knew filled up really fast and then all the tables were filled and we almost got split up at tables with only Spanish-speakers, which we don’t speak. now like a year later, that’s one of the main things I remember about the wedding. of course, that’s kind of an extreme situation but it def has made me pro-assigned seating!

    Post # 5
    1105 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2009

    I have never been to a wedding where there was assigned seating, so we didn’t have assigned seating and we didn’t have any situations with it.  People sat where they wanted and with who they wanted to sit with. 

    Post # 6
    3314 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: October 2010

    We did the same as @maisymay:.  I wanted to make sure that (as much as possible) everyone at a given table had something in common with the rest of the people at that table.  We also wanted to make sure that groups of people (or rather families) were not separated when they went to sit down – which is a possibility when you have open seating.

    Post # 7
    461 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: August 2011

    I’ve only been to one wedding with full open seating no table assignments – It was my cousins…and it turned into a big cluster-f*ck.  Ending with the bride throwing a tantrum and yelling at guests to move because her bridal party needed to sit in that seat. it was UGLY. Sealed

    We’re definitely doing table assignment, not sure after that. Depends on how much time and $ I want to spend on it. hahaha

    Post # 8
    459 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: April 2010

    Definitely am pro-assigned seats (or tables). It can be stressful to find a seat at an open wedding. Sometimes even if people “naturally” form social groups during the cocktail hour, they may not form table-sized groups which means that there will always be some people awkwardly looking for seats who are forced to sit with people they do not know. If you do the arranging, you can control for that awkwardness.

    And don’t get me started on weddings with open seating where some guests are single and don’t really know anyone else…

    Post # 9
    566 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: November 2011

    I’m in favor of assigned seating and assigned tables partly because I’m a control freak. LOL! I attended a wedding once that didn’t have assigned seats at assigned tables (which usually works) and I saw a couple get split up at our table. Couple A showed up with us and picked their seats but then went away. I think she left her shawl or something on the seat. Couple B showed up and sat where the guy would’ve sat and another person came and sat on the other side of the seat with the shawl. When Couple A came back she had her seat but he ended up sitting on the other side of the table.

    Post # 10
    625 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: January 2012

    I am Pro – assigned table – not seat though. We did this for my sisters bridal shower, but then didn’t do it for her baby shower, and we had random people sitting with my sister because they just sat there to be close to my sister. My mom, grandmother and other important people who should be sitting with her were sitting in the back or to the side. It was really confusing. next time – definately a wedding- doing assigned tables. 

    Good Luck!

    Post # 11
    5496 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: April 2010

    I’ve never been to a wedding in which there wasn’t assigned tables. I’m totally in favor of assigned tables because the last people to enter the reception may be “stuck” at a table they don’t like, split up, etc. What if there are only a few seats left at seperate tables? It just seems super confusing and possibly stressful for guests. We arranged the tables so that everybody knew at least one other guest or couple and this way we could have the closest family and friends seated near the dance floor, with co-workers, neighbors, etc. seated towards the back.

    Post # 12
    714 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: July 2010

    Assigned seating is best for a few reasons:

    • You are right that it can become confusing to guests if they don’t know where to sit.  Imagine you go to a wedding where you don’t really know that many people.  You have to find a seat and you will be sharing a table with strangers.  It can be uncomfortable to do this.  Also, what if you are a party of 4 and you are one of the last ones to come in and you can only find a seat here and a seat over there….you don’t even get to sit all together, or, like previous poster mentioned, you end up with 15 people trying to sit at a table meant for 10.
    • You want to be sure that the important people are sitting near you in in a place where they can see you well.  I would have been devastated if my parents, or my 96 year old grandpa, were stuck at the back of the crowed and missed our first dance. 
    • When you create your seating chart you will be sure that you are not seating people who don’t like each other together.  You know which relatives like each other and which don’t, you know who in your group of friends gets along and who should be at opposite sides of the room.  Hopefully, for the sake of your wedding, everyone will be cordial and getting along!

    That all being said, creating the seating chart can be one of the most stressful parts of planning.  To make it easier on myself I enlisted the help of my Mother-In-Law.  We had a pretty large wedding (just under 300) and most of them were my husbands family.  We figured it out in two steps. First, we decided who should be sitting with who.  I used the knot’s guest list manager (there are probably better ones out there) that allowed me to move around my guests.  After the tables were created I printed them and cut them out.  I was then able to set up my actual lay out and move the tables around as needed.   Good luck!

    Post # 13
    3254 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: October 2011

    I’ll play “devil’s advocate.” 😉 We are doing open seating for our 100-person wedding. I have actually been to plenty of weddings where open seating works, but there are also some instances in which it wouldn’t work. For instance, at my sister’s wedding, guests ordered their entrees when they returned their RSVP (chicken, shrimp or steak), so it would have been CHAOS if there hadn’t been assigned seating. However, our wedding is going to be informal with buffet-style food, so we are going with open seating. I think it really depends on your situation! 🙂

    Post # 14
    7695 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: August 2010

    In general I think assigned tables works the best. I dont think assigned seats are necessary. Even if a couple might get split up – its not that difficult to say “Oh wed like to sit next to each other” and actually the traditional way to sit at a dinner table is man, woman not next to your spouse so that everyone engages in conversation. I have only been to one open-seated wedding and it was kind of a rush to get to the tables to sit with the people you wanted to! Assigned tables is just so much easier. We also thought long and hard about who would sit at each table and made sure everyone would not only get along but really like each other. We sat people with common interests or those they had met before. I have a great seating chart organizer through Martha Stewart Weddings if youre interested!

    Post # 15
    10287 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: October 2011

    I’ve been to weddings with both and I feel that assigned seats are definitely the way to go. The wedding that I attended with open seating was, for lack of a better term… crappy (just the seating, not the actual wedding). There was no structure. The drunk friends of the groom snagged one of tables right upfront and the brides grandparents (who she lived with prior to getting married) ended up having to sit at a table way in the back and couldn’t see/hear a damn thing. 

    No question, we’re definitely doing assigned seats.

    Post # 16
    3977 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: May 2011

    My Fiance mentioned this last night as well. I just assumed assigned seating, but he thinks that’s too stuffy.

    I guess open seating can work if you have more seats than guests–by a handful. That way a couple chairs end up being empty but nobody has to be split up. Of course it would only work because we aren’t doing a full service dinner.

    My only worry is that this will cause people to be “cliquey”. All of people from my uncles family sitting at one table and never talking to anyone else. I guess that’s up to them though, and there are things we could do to encourage people to mingle more.

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