Post # 1
So FI and I are in the middle of an arguement right now. I want to have table assignments for our wedding of 150 guest. He STRONGLY feels that would be taking away our guest’s right to chose and that it is being overly controlling.
We are inviting 146 ppl for a plated dinner in a room that seats only 150ppl. FI’s guest list is about 90 ppl by himself and he is a TRUE New Yorker. He feels that his side of the guest list will complain and hate having an assigned seat/table, and I feel that they will suck it up and deal with it. I think it will be less choas and allow things to go a bit smoother in the long run. I planned on doing table assignments based on like interest and relationships. I KNOW his cousins and my friends will hit it off so I wanted to seat them together. But if there is no seating plan, there is no telling if they will ever meet. I also know that because of 2 divorces, my mother won’t be sitting the same table as my Dad, but she’s okay with sitting with my Step Dad because he doesn’t know anyone else there and they are still cordial.
FI says there are too many unknowns in doing a seating plan and forcing where our guest sit. He says “what is Aunt A and Aunt B are fighting? They wouldn’t want to sit together, but I bet you put them at the same table didn’t you?” I just feel that with the limited space of our venue and the formality of our wedding…. table assignments are needed.
Fi hasn’t/doesn’t give much input for this wedding and now all of a sudden he wants to put up a big fuss?!?!? I’m super irritated right now. I know this is an age old debate….but please give me some input…advice… anything that I can use to help him see my point.
Would you just give in and do open seating? Won’t that be hectic?
Post # 3
I think it’s pretty standard to have assigned seating.
The problem with open seating is that often you may end up with awkward numbers of seats left at tables. (For instance, there are a lot of tables left open with 2 seats available, and now a family of four is having a difficult time finding somewhere to sit together, etc.)
Additionally, having everyone try to scramble to pick their own seats can cause a lot of chaos and may end up taking more time to get everyone situated in their seats than you had originally planned.
Post # 4
I have been to a lot of social events in my lifetime (I am over 50 years old)… and quite honesty there are PROS and CONS to each
The PROS to open seating is you inevitably meet new people
The CONS are sometimes you find yourself awkwardly looking for a table to sit at… and ending up with people you don’t know (fit in with… but then again it is ONLY Dinner and an hour or two out of your life)
Personally, I much prefer going to an event where there is reserved seating… because more often than not the Host has matched up folks who either already know each other, or have similar interests etc.
Plus, then as a Guest, I know what I am supposed to do… as rachelmichelle said it can suck to be in a situation where you are “searching” for a place to sit when seats aren’t assigned… more so if you are more than 1 or 2 people in your party
Also, I’ve been to unassigned seating events, where people have felt the need to “reserve” their chosen spots… and done everything from setting down their jackets, throws and purses… thru to tipping the chairs forward against the table (not that great an idea… as then the legs are sticking out into the aisleways) and consequently making whatever venue, look… uuuummmm quite tacky
So no, I am all in favour of assigned seating
May be more work for the host, but less hassle / confusion for the Guests.
Post # 5
So… I can see both sides of this because I orginally wanted to do open seating.
But when I met with our venue coordinator, she argued strongly in favor of TABLE (not specific seat) assignments…and she won me over.
She’s done over 100 weddings. She said any more than 50-75 guests, the transition from cocktail hour to dining is pretty much chaos without a seating plan… with people pulling chairs away from tables and cramming them in, couples who don’t know other guests standing there looking shellshocked or awkward, and groups of 2 or more ending up needing to sit at different tables or grab more chairs.
People will have PLENTY of time to mingle after dinner. And if there are any major dramz right before the wedding, you can make a quick adjustment. It IS an extra (and pretty stressful) task, but, I think its a really good idea and will end up reducing stress in the long run.
Post # 6
I personally prefer open seating. A lot less work for you and I don’t want to tell people where to sit. It’s their choice! I don’t think it’s hectic.
Post # 7
My vote is to assign tables and this is mainly bc you are having a plated dinner. I agree with all of the other PP’s on the fact that sometimes open seating can be awkward to find a place if you have more than 2 people in your group. Having assigned seating when you have a plated dinner can also be less of a hassle and hopefully make things run smoother when your wait staff knows how many plates of what needs to go to each table. Plus, you don’t have to assign the actual seats, just the tables..that will give your guests the option to sit next to whomever they choose.
Post # 8
Personally I much prefer assigned seating over getting randomly stuck at a table with people I have nothing in common with at the reject table. Unless it’s completely unheard of in your area I suggest at least assigned tables. It just makes things much less chaotic and takes out the uncomfortable guess work for guests. I always feel like unassigned seating is a popularity contest and takes me back to high school
Post # 9
I agree with assigning tables. When you have a guest list that is hundred plus it just saves the time and headahces. I also know people will cram into one table with all of their freinds and family and leave the people who don’t know anyone to sit at the table all alone.
Post # 11
I don’t see how open seating is going to work with only 4 extra spaces. Couples or groups could end up split up because they didn’t rush in first. Although arranged seating can result in not everyone getting their IDEAL table, it does result in everyone getting a pretty good table with people they know.
ETA – also agree with assigning tables, not seats. That way, even if the two aunts are fighting they can get across from each other and not feel awkward if they aren’t talking.
Post # 12
Also I don’t like the the idea of just assigning some tables. It seems like it could be confusing and creates an atmosphere of hierarchy among guests.
Post # 13
Just have to chime in to echo PPs… assigned seating is for sure the way to go with that many people. I think assigned tables is the best compromise–that way people can choose where within the table they want to sit, but they know there’s a spot reserved for them and that they’ll be seated with people they are comfortable with.
I don’t understand your FI’s argument that people will resent being “forced” to sit in a given location. First of all, most people are used to it, as I think it is the way seating at wedding receptions is typically done. Secondly, the whole point of you doing a seating assignment is so that you can place guests with people they know (or, failing that, people they will be able to converse with). As a wedding guest I infinitely prefer assigned tables to unassigned, for the reasons people have stated above–you don’t want to get stranded at a table with total strangers, you don’t want to have to break up parties of guests into the leftover one or two spots at other tables, etc.
ETA: the one wedding i attended with unassigned seating had a very large hall, with far more seats than guests, so it wasn’t a big deal if all the tables didn’t get completely filled. You are so close to your max capacity that you don’t have that luxury. And while I ended up at a table with people I knew, I definitely had a moment of “oh shit, who am I going to sit with?” when we entered the reception and realized tables weren’t assigned. I think you are 100% right on this one.
Post # 14
Similar to other PPs, when I enter into unassigned seating areas, I have that rush of first day high school anxiety. I usually quietly try to find a table to the outside, where no-one will notice if I’m stuck at the table that noone else wants to sit at. And have you ever had someone sit down with you, and you start up a conversation, and then suddenly they go “Hey! My cousins over there!” and then they pick up and leave? It’ a really shitty feeling. You end up feeling rejected which is silly, because they are under no obligation to sit with you really… you were just happy to have someone that sat down.
This sounds super neurotic, and I’m not usually like that, but open seating is one of those things that never fails to make me feel like the unpopular kid in high school. And I’m a full grown adult. He needs to realize that it will be far more uncomfortable for people like me, then it will be for people who think assigned seating is silly. They can be assigned and will just laugh, as opposed to some who will have to scramble for seats and end up feeling shy and unwanted.
Post # 15
Also once I ended up at an otherwise empty table for 8 with one friend of mine because we didn’t know anyone else there. Other tables had seats pulled up. It made it pretty awkward. Obviously you won’t have that situation with being so close to capacity, just another reason I don’t like open seating.
Post # 16
I like assigned seating better