(Closed) Is a seating chart really necessary??

posted 7 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
1843 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Out of 50+ weddings I’ve attended, I have only been to 2 that had seating charts … in my area, it’s just typically not done.  We’re not doing one either.  We will have tables reserved for family – otherwise, guests may sit wherever they want.  We will have a few extra seats to make sure no couples get split up.

Post # 4
7587 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2010

Are you doing plated meals? Ask your venue. Mine required it.

@milesbella: Really? Out of all the weddings I’ve been too only 1 didn’t have a seating chart and it was a total mess. There were people without places to sit. Others dragging chairs from one table to another, leaving some tables with one or two couples sitting at it.  It was a logistical nightmare for the catering staff.

Post # 5
2600 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

In my experience, if you’re doing a sit down dinner (plated or buffet) you NEED to do some sort of assigned seating, whether it be just to a table with escort cards or a specific seat using a seating chart and placecards.

Open seating has some drawbacks:

  • You’ll need more tables and chairs because people won’t fill a table up generally.  They could break into smaller gruops.  Which is especially true if you have family drama like you mention.
  • More tables means more linen & centerpieces = more money
  • People are expecting you to assign them at least a table, and may not understand open seating.
  • You’ll need a coordinator or someone telling people it’s open seating
  • Say your venue sets all the tables for 10, but a group of people have decided they want to sit together and need an 11th chair – it will take time to move things around on a fully set banquet table to have that happen.

All that said – if you have a younger, savvy crowd or are doing just a big cocktail reception, open seating could work for you.

I know it’s tempting to want to skip seating people to save yourself some stress, but you’ll end up with more at the wedding, trust me.

Good luck!

Post # 6
2600 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

@milesbella:  Wow!  But see-  it works because that’s what’s customary for your families.

@mwitter80:  Yeah, I’m a wedding coordinator – hence the negativity inmy post… it IS a nightmare for us and the guests. 

off topic – don’t you hate when you type a reply and in the meantime a other things get posted that make yours redundant?  ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 7
2320 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

@mwitter80: Mine requires it as well, and place cards just to make sure that the person seated gets the right meal.

It is stressful, so if you don’t think you need it than don’t do it. And if you have some family drama than I would let people choose their seats, either that or you will have people moving around and that could be just as much of a nightmare.

I changed my answer after reading everyone’s responses. I think you need a seating chart!

Post # 8
2442 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

I’ve only been to one wedding in my entire life where there was a seating chart.  It’s not done around here either!   I think the key is to have a few more seats than actual guests (maybe 1 or 2 extra tables).  I’ve never seen people move chairs around before dinner.

Post # 9
13096 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2010

Honestly, as a guest I hate not having a seating chart/escort cards.  It is a mess trying to find somewhere with enough room to sit and hopefully have at least one person you know at your table.

And if you have family who dislike each other – that is even more reason to have a seating chart, IMO.  Otherwise they’ll end up moving tables/chairs all over the place to get away from each other (or will end up stuck at the same table because there is no more space in other places – that would be fun!).

Post # 10
5118 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I’m from @milesbella:‘s area, and all the weddings I’ve been to are open seating…but that’s exactly why I’m not doing it :-/

I’ve noticed that at nearly every wedding, people rush to get a ‘claim’ on a spot, so if you’re having a cocktail time/mingling time, it’s usually just spent sitting at the table so that everyone they want can get a spot together. 

Also, for catering, if you’re having people select a menu choice, it’s almost required to at least assign people to a table (this is what I’m doing…their escort card color/stamp/punch out will indicate what they’re eating, they can find the chair they like at their assigned table). With buffets, this isn’t such an issue, but it can still be messy.

Depending on the size of your wedding, doing open seating can cost you extra $$ by having to have an extra table or two (or more) for the ‘spill over’ when there are two families of 6 and the tables only seat 10. I think the time spent figuring out the family/friend conflicts to avoid while assigning people to just tables will be worth avoiding the other issues on the day of. 

Post # 11
2192 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

I’ve only been to 1 wedding where there was a seating chart.

 I am not doing one and we are having a buffet and at least 75ppl. I think they can handle where to sit ๐Ÿ™‚ But, that’s just my opinion!

Post # 12
5572 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

We are doing one. Every wedding that I’ve been to has had one except for one. Fiance and I went to that wedding together and it was the wedding of one of his old college friends. I didn’t know anyone and Fiance knew very few people. The people who were friends were pulling chairs from empty tables and cramming too many people to a table and there were some tables like the one that Fiance and I sat at where it was only us and another couple.
I wanted my guests to be comfortable and not have any of those awkward feelings so we painstakingly included each person. It is a lot of work and it can be stressful but I think that it will make such a huge difference on the day of to be totally worth it.

Post # 13
106 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

My strong suggestion is that unless both you and the Fiance come from families where no seating is the norm, then please, please, please do a seating chart! It doesn’t have to be assigned seats – you can just assign a table. The guests can figure out who they want to sit next to on their own (and even couples who arrive late and can’t sit next to each other generally won’t complain if they’re at least at the same table). This will make the whole wedding so much smoother on the day!

My other piece of advice: don’t talk about it with picky family members before the day (just say ‘you’ll see’ or ‘with your husband/wife/GF/etc.’ when asked). In general, families behave well at weddings no matter who they sit with, but can be annoying (‘please make sure I’m not at so-and-so’s table’) about it ahead of time…

Post # 14
401 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I recently went to a wedding without any sort of table or seating assignments (the first one like this that I had ever been to), and (like the one mwitter80 went to) it was a mess. I understand people’s opinion about adults being able to figure out where to seat themselves and all of that, but I think it’s just a pain from a guest perspective. That being said, if it’s normal in your area or it’s just what you want to do, go for it.

@milesbella: One suggestion I would have is to make sure the tables that are reserved for family are clearly marked and that it’s clear which family members are expected to sit at those tables (immediate family members only, etc.). Otherwise, drama may ensue. This is just based on the aforementioned wedding I attended. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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