(Closed) Free for All or Assigned Seating

posted 9 years ago in Reception
  • poll: Which do you prefer?

    Assigned Seating

    Free for All

    I'm happy either way

  • Post # 17
    Member
    56 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: October 2011

    Assigned tables. I went to a wedding with a free for all and it’s just sooooo awkward.

    Post # 18
    Member
    1326 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2011 - Tre Bella, Mesa, AZ

    View original reply
    @CherryWaves: I recently went to a 200-guest wedding with no assigned seating and about 50-100 extra seats. I wouldn’t call it a disaster, but people definitely spent upwards of an hour figuring out where to sit. The Wedding Party wasn’t introduced, though, and I think if they had been, it would have been much harder; people were still standing around and wondering what to do when the Wedding Party arrived after pictures. If you have a cocktail hour, don’t mind your guests feeling lost, and you’re going to have that many extra seats, you could go for it.

    However, I wasn’t a fan. This couple had no cocktails, so it was basically a confusion hour. I thought it was awkward, and I felt bad for people who weren’t family members (I was, and after about 20 minutes of mulling around and wondering what was going on, someone pointed out that the reserved tables were for us).

    I’ve heard it works better for a smaller wedding, but even at 75 guests, we did assigned tables. People found their tables right away, and it went really smoothly.

    Post # 19
    Member
    3343 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: August 2010

    OMG with that many people you HAVE to assign tables!

    Post # 20
    Member
    340 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: September 2010

    Please don’t do a free for all. It will be uncomfortable for your guests and with people worrying about where to sit, saving seats, etc, it will/could take away from your day. Let your guests know where to sit so they can focus on you.

    Post # 21
    Member
    26 posts
    Newbee
    • Wedding: May 2012

    My sister did unassigned seating at her wedding (200 ppl) and I don’t think it went too well. My mom and dad ended up sitting alone at the reserved table with her two young children. They had wanted to sit with the grandparents too but the table said reserved and nobody remembered to tell them that table was for them. My wedding will be MUCH smaller, destinatinon, but I am still doing assigned. FI’s parents are divorced and just don’t want anyone uncomfortable. Good Luck!

    Post # 22
    Member
    2408 posts
    Buzzing bee

    I used to be all about free-for all seating until I went to a wedding that had that and obviously more people showed up than what was expected and it was hard to find a table with people saving seats for others and whatnot and ended up sitting with people I didn’t know. Since then I’ve appreciated assigned tables. 

    But with your expected numbers, I’d highly recommend assigning tables. Let them figure out which seat they want but give them a table. It’ll be a lot easier for everyone. 

    Post # 23
    Member
    1941 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: June 2012

    I think if you don’t do assigned seating with THAT many people, the beginning of your reception will be a stampede in a zoo. Everyone rushing to tables with their SOs and BFFs in tow, elbows flailing about, etc. (Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point!)

    Post # 24
    Member
    893 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: May 2013

    @CherryWaves:  I wanted assigned seating or at least table numbers, but my Fiance wants a free for all.  We’re going to have 300 guests, but he said that it will save us time and money printing the place/seat cards.

    Post # 25
    Member
    1326 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2011 - Tre Bella, Mesa, AZ

    View original reply
    @Dub D: Your post about saving time/money actually made me think about this a bit more. We did a program that doubled as a seating chart (assigned tables). It was 4.25×11″ (half of an 8.5×11″ sheet), so it wasn’t very expensive, we killed two birds with one stone, and it didn’t take much time to produce. I’m guessing $50 and 2 hours on the high end, but it was probably closer to half that.

    If you take into account you are paying for your venue/setup, for a $10K wedding, that is $2K an hour for a 5 hour wedding. If it takes your guests 30 minutes to an hour to find their seats (this is what happened at the no-assigned-seats wedding I was at), you’ve just wasted $1-$2K.

    Post # 26
    Member
    2408 posts
    Buzzing bee

    View original reply
    @Dub D: You can always have a couple of large seating chart lists for people to look for without the need for individual cards. If you have it up at the venue, some guests will probably take a look during cocktail hour and know where to go when the reception area is open for seating. 

    Post # 28
    Member
    4619 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: September 2018

    I prefer assigned seating but assigned tables is a must.  Weddings where it’s unassigned is fine when you know a lot of the guests but when you don’t you end up sitting wherever there are gaps.

    Post # 29
    Member
    834 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2011

    @CherryWaves: I’ve been so torn with this. I wanted to do assigned seating to avoid awkwardness… but I’ll still have it, with or without assigned seating. I’ll just reserve four tables for bridal party, and our families. My dad/stepmom get a table, my mom/bf gets a table, FI’s parents get a table. They pick who sits with them, and tells them ahead of time. The remaining 8 tables are free for all. 

    Post # 30
    Member
    5109 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: November 2011

    Assigned seating. Everyone will get settled faster, and their will be a lot less confusion that way. That way the family that comes in a few minutes late wont have to try to find 4 seats together like at the movies, its all figured out for them!!

    Post # 31
    Member
    595 posts
    Busy bee

    Maybe do a mixture–so you can make sure that parents and stuff sit up near the dance floor, and other people can sit wherever? “Such and such tables are reserved for family of the couple and the wedding party, all other tables are free to sit at.” I went to a wedding once that did that, and it worked really well. I’ve always hated assigned seating.

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