(Closed) Has Anyone Gone Without Reserved Seating?

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 16
Member
1555 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

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strawberrymarshmallow:  I find that when there aren’t table assignments, important people get left in the corners and the more eager, but maybe not important, people get close to the dancefloor. To me, it’s always a bit awkward to not have any idea where to sit, and if I’m sitting in a place that someone else would rather sit.

Post # 17
Member
3025 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2014 - Prague

I’m not having assigned seating. It’s  buffet and with this crowd I think it will be fine.

Post # 18
Member
1328 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

I really don’t like when there are not assigned tables.  I’ve been to a wedding like this and it was a small crowd even, but I ended up having to sit by myself at a table I didn’t know anyone because there were no free seats at the one table I had friends at.

Post # 19
Member
4037 posts
Honey bee

Unless you have a fairly small group, or one where everyone knows everyone else, I wouldn’t recommend it.

When hearing that my niece was having open seating at her wedding, a few years back, I said to her mother “My adult kids told me they’d prefer not to sit with their younger cousins.” She said they were welcome to sit anyplace they wanted. Well guess who they ended up sharing a table with and had to listen to them talk about Harry Potter all night? Not fun!

Post # 20
Member
1213 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

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strawberrymarshmallow:  I’m having a very laid back wedding, but we are still doing assigned tables. Our familes haven’t met each other and we have a lot of friends who haven’t met either. I don’t want to make people try to sit with people they don’t know. I also don’t want to rent a ton of extra tables and chairs to accomodate all of the empty seats I’d end up with if I didn’t have a seating plan.

I too initially thought no seating plan might be easier, but on second thought I really don’t think it is. I’ve never planned a wedding before and at the beginning I had a lot of crazy ideas about things that were just so impracitcal (ask the snarky chickens, lol). But seriously, just be open to changing your mind because sometimes our first ideas are not the best.

Post # 21
Member
2479 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

It all depends on the size of your reception and whether people know each other. At the lunch party that followed my wedding we were all family. So it never occurred to DH and I to assign them seats. 

At larger weddings with a guest list that includes different groups who don’t all know each other well I think it is helpful to assign tables rather than individual seats. Otherwise you really do risk the unseemly scramble to bag seats or the situation where people find themselves sat in glorious isolation like Nobby and Norma No-Mates because they’ve just missed sitting at a table with friends and nobody else chooses to sit with people they don’t know. As a guest, it just makes life easier. 

Also, I’d respectfully suggest that it is worth considering the layout of the room carefully in order to avoid creating the impression that some tables are inferior to others. Nobody wants to sit next to the restroom or backing onto the kitchen door. Anyone who sits at a “Siberian Table” may well assume (almost certainly wrongly) that their presence is less desirable than that of other guests.

Post # 22
Member
982 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

 

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strawberrymarshmallow:  I’ve been to two weddings without assigned seating.  The first was actually a fairly formal event so there was tons of confusion among the guests when we got to the reception.  No one was willing to sit down because we thought we were missing something.  Just put out a weird vibe.  The second one though was pretty casual and in a field so it made sense for that one and there was no awkwardness at all.  I think you need to decide based on what feel you want your event to have.

Post # 23
Member
3823 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

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strawberrymarshmallow:  we assigned tables but not seats. it worked out well. i think that when you leave it as a “free for all” as you put it, then you may end up with people sitting at tables where they don’t know anyone if the “popular” table runs out of seats. it can be awkward. i think people enjoy relaxing and not having to race to the tables. that’s a little stressful and immature in my opinion. plan out some sort of arrangement.

Post # 24
Member
1604 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I think not assigning tables is ignoring the comfort of guests.  Some guests will “hold” seats, and others will feel like they are the unpopular kids back in High School, looking for a seat.  People without kids will get stuck at tables with kids.   You can spend a lot on food and drinks, and then people not have a good time.

Post # 25
Member
871 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2016

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strawberrymarshmallow:  Not having a seating chart is the upside of that arrangement! 🙂

I have heard stories both good and bad about “free for alls”. Sometimes they work and others they are a huge mess. Things didn’t quite work out , so someone is sitting by themselves, ppl are falling all over each other OR just pulling chairs to where they want to sit, regardless of room. Again this is just what I heard from people who have been to no seating plan weddings.

 

How many guests? I think the smaller the wedding, the easier it is to skip a seating chart

Post # 26
Member
117 posts
Blushing bee

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strawberrymarshmallow:  It really depends on the size of your guest list and how well they all know each other. It sounds like you have a larger guest count and that even you don’t know them that well. I would plan out a draft of the seating chart and then ask your parents and his parents to help you out with the people you don’t know. It could get uncomfortable with that many people who don’t know each other trying to save table/chair space, etc. I wouldn’t do the seating chart for some and not others as you’ve proposed, though.

Post # 27
Member
1678 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

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strawberrymarshmallow:  we aren’t having any assigned seating. one less thing to worry about it. the way i figure – they’re all adults – they can figure it out! 😉 (just me…i’m very laid back about the whole thing!)

Post # 28
Member
5658 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

Sorry but no it’s NOT easier for everyone, it’s only easy for you. No one likes wrestling for a table among a sea of people they don’t really know at your wedding. Assigned tables are better for everyone. And NO one likes ending up at the reject table, where there are only like 5 people out of 8 chairs and no one talks because everyone is uncomfortable.

It’s not hard to put a little bit of thought into putting your guests at tables together where they might have something in common with the other guests sitting there.

Post # 29
Member
585 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

 

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strawberrymarshmallow:  Here’s my 2c .. We attended a wedding last fall with un-assigned seating and let me tell you.. I have never been so uncomfortable in my entire life.  We didn’t know anyone there except for the groom.. so imagine walking into a room and knowing no one, then you have to pick a table.. so we picked one closest to the door, and literally no one sat with us.  Incredibly uncomfortable is putting it mildly.  About midway through dinner a mother and daughter strolled in late and sat at our table (one of the few with seats open) and they had zero interest in being friendly or making conversation.  It was just weird, and I hated it! I strongly caution you against doing this if you have any people who may not know others.

  • This reply was modified 6 years, 3 months ago by  MissMay3003.
Post # 30
Member
182 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: February 2015

I went to a wedding without assigned tables and by the time the bridal party got there, they had no place to sit but these weird small hightops. It was a mess.

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