Post # 1
Do you have to have assigned seating for dinner? Since we’re doing a buffet-style dinner (although its a full meal, not hors d’oeurves) and an outdoor reception, my initial thought was no. However, after looking at tons of blogs and real weddings online, I haven’t seen many couples who don’t do some sort of arranged seating. I’ve personally never been to a wedding where there was assigned seating. Am I asking for trouble by allowing a free-for-all?
Post # 3
- Wedding: March 2020 - Still Looking!
We didn’t do any assigning (and we also had a buffet). In general, as a guest I’m always in favor of choosing my own seat.
My one caution is that it can be very helpful to make the head table and its occupants clear. Was recently at a free-for-all wedding where all the guests were afraid to be seated because the couple was still having photos and we didn’t want to accidentally steal their seats!!
Post # 4
My Fiance and I attended a wedding he was in last year and we were so confused by the "free for all" format! There was no assigned seating, but several reserved tables in the room. We weren’t sure if they were reserved for bridal party, family, or what! It was a buffett so I assume they just figured people would sit where they wanted, but it just ended up being pretty messy.
We decided we’ll have assigned tables (we’re having a buffett too) Partly because I found a creative way to display place cards, and partly because I don’t want anyone to feel like I did last year!
Post # 5
Depending on how many people you will have at the event, I suggest that having assigned TABLES may be a good idea. You don’t need to do assigned SEATS, as I think that may only be necessary if you have different meal choices that caterers need to know about, etc.
Post # 6
I think the most important thing to consider when trying to decide if you want a seating chart is how many people are you expecting. Next, do you have the time (and sanity) to make a seating chart? Then decide if you want assigned tables or assigned seats. Obviously, assigning tables is much more managable. The biggest reason to have assigned seats/tables is avoid an uncomfortable situation: the new kid in the cafeteria syndrome. The con: it takes takes up valuable planning time to do, but in my humble opinion, it was way worth it. I knew where each guest was and I knew they would be happy sitting next to the person I placed them next to.
Post # 7
There have been several discussions on this topic in the past couple months so if you want more views, just type assigned seats in the search box.
Post # 8
We did assigned tables and left the specific seats up to the guests. Main reason was taht a wedding I attended where it was a free-for-all, we ended up losing our seats because someone thought we weren’t sitting there! I also don’t like the panic of trying to find seats together for everyone you want to sit with.
Post # 9
I also like the idea of assigned tables.
If you choose not to, I agree with making the head table very clear. Also, you may want to reserve a table or 2 for your families. You don’t want mom and dad at different tables in the back cause they were taking pictures too long!
Post # 10
For me, assigned seating was more trouble than it was worth. We were serving a buffet, had a plethora of seats, and I was not interested in telling people where to sit. The head table was separate, so it was easy for people to know not to sit there.
Post # 11
I agree with only assigning people to tables.
You can still do individual seating cards if you like to tell people which table, or you can make a list and display it in a nice frame or poster.
Post # 12
We didn’t assign anything, since we wanted people to mingle. (We had a buffet also). It worked well; no one was confused or disgruntled.
Since the guests were in reception seating for the ceremony, we put reserved signs on the backs of chairs for us and our parents so that they’d have a good view – although in retrospect I would have put the name of the person instead of just "reserved."
Post # 13
The last wedding I went to had over 350 guests. They did assigned tables, so they tried to sit people that knew each other together.
The only issues was they place my FH and me with people we’d never met. We knew a few people at the wedding, but they were seated way across the room from us. It was really fun though, because we met new people.
My FH and I are planning to assign people to tables, simply because we don’t want someone sitting in some random area with people they don’t know.
Post # 14
I like having assigned tables, I find it gets people to meet new people. I also am really in love with the idea of sitting my uber country redneck uncle with some of our super stoner hippie friends and possibly our groomsman who is a rap producer. But also be aware that alot of times people switch seats with eachother.
Post # 15
For the most part I suggest assigning tables. Not all guests are extroverts, and don’t want to fight for a seat, or sit with starngers. There are some horror stories of free for alls on this site.
However, you said you’ve never gonr to a wedding where they’ve had assigned seating. (I assume that means tables too.) While I have had the exact opposite experience, I’d say if your guests feel this way, I’d say don’t bother assigning anything. If only half your guests, (ie. just your family, not friends or fiance’s family) are used to this, then I would certainly recommend assigning tables.
Post # 16
Like you, I have never been to a wedding with assigned seats or tables. I am from Montana, and I guess it’s just not as common here (or at least within my family and circle of friends).
I think it’s 100% okay not to assign seats, especially given that you’re doing the buffet dinner. However, I echo other comments about reserving the head table (my sister didn’t do so at her own wedding, and the wedding party had to find random places with strangers after they finished with pictures–it was a mess!). And there is nothing that says you can assign certain people to tables and have the rest be a seat-your-self situation. I think the key in any situation is communication–make sure your ushers and other people who are likely to field questions (family members, bridal party, etc.) know exactly what the deal is. If you choose to reserve a table for some people (e.g., your family) and not others, make sure you let them know so that they don’t think it’s reserved for someone else!
With all that said, I think we’ll probably assign tables at our wedding, which has some similarities to yours–on our property (not a ranch, but lots of land), dinner buffet, and I am guessing most of the locals have been to very few assigned-seating weddings, if any. I just think it represents our personalities more (type-A and controlling) and also is one of those quintessential wedding planning activities. I would feel like I was missing out on something if we didn’t plan the seating assignments!