(Closed) Assigned vs. Open Seating; is it a regional thing?

posted 9 years ago in Logistics
  • poll: What type of seating will/did you have at your reception? See post below! :)
    Assigned seats : (7 votes)
    14 %
    Assigned tables : (32 votes)
    65 %
    Assigned tables for couple/wedding party/parents, but open for rest of guests : (7 votes)
    14 %
    Free for all : (3 votes)
    6 %
  • Post # 3
    Member
    19 posts
    Newbee
    • Wedding: May 2009

    I definitely think it’s a regional thing. I’m from South Carolina and very, very few weddings have any kind of assigned anything. We’re having open seating but we’re making sure there is a seat for everyone. I’ve been to weddings where there were only tables and or chairs for about half the crowd and it made it difficult to eat or take a break from dancing. I think most Southern weddings don’t have sit down dinners which makes all the difference in the world when you talk about a seating plan.

     I’ve probably been to 30 weddings and only two have had assigned tables. Go with the norm in your area. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong on this one. If you have assigned tables for your close family and wedding party that guarantees a place for the ones closest to you to relax and enjoy your wedding.

    Post # 4
    Member
    400 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: May 2009

    We’re doing assigned tables so people that don’t know anyone other than a few people don’t get stuck together.

    I recently went to a wedding where I had to sit with guests from the grooms side ( i knew the bride) that were from another state! It wasn’t much fun.

    Post # 5
    Member
    103 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: July 2009

    I’m also from the South and I’ve never been to a wedding with assigned seats beyond the bridal party and immediate family. Where I’m from everyone just grabs a seat and makes friends! I agree I think it’s a regional thing.

    Post # 6
    Member
    619 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: August 2010

    Well I live in Spain and have been to 5 wedding here, all of which had assigned tables. One wedding that I attended in SF had assigned seats, and one that I went to in upstate NY had assigned tables. I like the idea of assigned tables bc you know who are friends or closer an can put them together, yet they sit with whom they’d like to talk to. Also, this way nobody gets "left out" and has to sit at a table where they don’t know anybody bc it’s the only available seat.

    Post # 7
    Member
    108 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: July 2009

    @krgk84 – Hi Date Twin!

    I’m from MA and the all the weddings I’ve been too have assigned tables but not specifically assigned seats. We are going to do the same thing for our wedding as well.

    Post # 8
    Member
    400 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: May 2009

    I’m adding to my response- I think it really depends on how many of your guests know one another. If they all know each other, I wouldn’t worry about assigned tables.
    Assigned tables seem to work well when you want to seat people together for a reason (college friends, work friends, etc).
    Just do what you feel will work best for your wedding.

    Post # 9
    Member
    742 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: July 2010

    I think assigned tables is good because then everyone has a seat and doesn’t cause chaos.  Then you also have the people you want closer to your head table there instead of people that you would rather be elsewhere. 

    Post # 10
    Member
    2434 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: September 2008

    My venue had it in the contract that I must assign tables to the guests.

    I think this was to prevent people from asking them to add chairs/place settings to table so they could sit with friends.  

    I find without assigned seating there are some tables that are really crowded (because a bunch of people want to sit together and move chairs/placesetting from other tables) and others that are empty because they’ve been scavenged.

    Also- nothing stinks worse than being stuck at a random table because it was the only place with 2 chairs for you and your date/FI/husband to sit together.

    Post # 11
    Member
    756 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: June 2011

    I live in MA and have been to three weddings in the past three years, two had assigned seating and one had open seating.  The assigned seating did not work out well for us either time. 

    The first time, my then-bf and I were seated at a table way in the back and none of the other people at our table showed up to the reception! We ended up moving chairs to sit with some of the (very few) people I knew.

    The other time was a wedding at which I didn’t know anyone, and my Fiance knew only one other couple.  We were seated at a table with several total strangers who didn’t speak much English.  It was really awkward.

    The wedding I went to with open seating was my FI’s uncle’s wedding. It was only the second or third time I had met his whole (very big) extended family, so I was happy to be able to sit with the people I knew best (my Fiance, his parents, and his bro and SIL).

    Not sure yet what we’ll choose to do when the time comes.

    Post # 12
    Member
    68 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: December 1969

    I’m not a fan of unassigned seating.  I guess we haven’t had good experiences with this.  One wedding I attended with my husband, my brother and my parents, and when we got to the reception, so many of the seats were taken that we couldn’t sit at one table together.  That was frustrating, especially since none of us knew anyone else at the wedding. 

    A lot of times there will be a lot of people that know each other and would love to sit together, but because it’s a free-for-all, all the friends are at different tables and it’s hard to socialize.

    I have never been to a wedding where unassigned seating has worked out well for us, as guests.

    I don’t think that assigning tables is that much extra work, and that way, you can put people with people you know they are friends with.  If the couple really puts some thought into who sits where, I really see no downfall to assigned seating. 

     

    Post # 13
    Member
    1205 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: May 2009

    I think it’s not only regional but also has to do with the level of formality at the event. In the south, the weddings I’ve been to have not had assigned seating while those on the east coast have.

    Post # 14
    Member
    2641 posts
    Sugar bee

    I didn’t know, until I looked on Weddingebee that there were regions that didn’t have assigned seats.  I thought it was just something a couple chose on occasion.  I wonder if it also can be broken down as a family perference too. 

    For what it’s worth, I do prefer assigned tables.  If everyone going is really comfortable with open seating, fine.  If you have a few guests going who don’t like that maybe you can set up a table for them???  Some folks complain about being assigned seating with someone they didn’t know. But I think it’s as bad (or worse IMO) with open seating.  At least with assigned seating you can sit with your date or a couple of people you know.  I’ve heard some horror stories from people on WB who said they’ve gone to open seating weddings and had to split up with even their dates to find a seat.  They didn’t even get to sit with their own dates, spouses etc.

    Post # 15
    Member
    54 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: August 2008

    I’ve seen it suggested that if you are having a buffet with open seating that you have additional open places above and beyond the total of people expected to avoid exactly what some folks have already mentioned – forcing couples to split up to eat just because they didn’t get to a chair quick enough. Depending on how many people you’re having, you could end up with entire extra tables, which could cost extra money, depending on how you’re doing things. I would just count on at least 1 spot being left empty at every table if you were planning on doing open seating.

    We did assigned tables and every wedding I’ve ever been to did the same thing – it lets the bride and groom put like with like (personally, we tended to fill half of each table with "bride’s side" and the other half with "groom’s side" so that family and friends who hadn’t interacted much could meet). It also lets you keep certain people away from others, if that is a concern (or away from things like, say, the DJ or the bar). For our planning, it allowed us to make sure that the older folks were inside where they could enjoy the air conditioning and the younger, heartier folk outside in case it ended up being a 90 degree day.

    Post # 16
    Member
    1428 posts
    Bumble bee

    All the weddings I’ve been to here in MA have been assigned seating, but when I lived in Texas they were mostly assigned for the bridal party & then open seating for everyone else so it does seem to be regional.

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