(Closed) Is a seating chart really worth it

posted 10 years ago in Reception
Post # 17
1314 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

I feel like a broken record in these threads, but I’ll say it again – what are your guests used to? It tends to be regional. I’d never HEARD of wedding seating charts until I got engaged and started reading wedding blogs! I’ve been to dozens and dozens of open seating weddings, YES some even with 300 guests, and it always works out perfectly fine, so the idea of assigning seats is totally weird to me. But it’s the norm in other places. If you reserve seats for family and include a few extra tables so people don’t have to split up, it works out fine. It doesn’t have to be the chaotic mess so many people warn against. BUT, if weddings in your area are typically assigned tables/seating…you should probably do that, because open seating would probably confuse/apparently piss off some people.

Post # 19
1136 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

I know I’m going against the grain, but assigned seating has seemed useless at all the weddings I’ve attended. Guests moved around anyway, and they don’t necessarily want to sit beside so and so just because they know them. The brides I’ve known that tried to do a full seating chart were very stressed out trying to decide on a reasonable arrangement, and they were let down when some people still seemed unhappy with the final choice. You’ll never be able to please everyone, so I think it’s much easier to take the burden off your back and allow people to choose their own set. This way, if they end up somewhere they don’t want to be, it wasn’t directly your fault. The thing that worked best at the events I’ve been to has been to reserve a few tables for close family, the bridal party (and spouses/dates! I hate when people separate spouses because one is in the bridal party and the other isn’t), etc. 

Post # 20
7960 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2012

i think it’s worth the effort.  as a guest, i like to know where i am sitting and i don’t have to look around for a table.  as a bride, i needed arranged seating for meal selection for the venue staff and it didn’t take long at all to arrange.

Post # 21
755 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

@rbuchanan09:  The question is why would you force your guests to sit at tables with people they don’t want to talk to – you are the one making the seating arrangements, right?  The bride & groom should know their guests well enough to be able to assign them to tables with people that they will get along with during dinner.  There is a far greater chance that without assigned tables your guests will end up at a table with people they don’t know at all, whereas if you actually assign them that shouldn’t happen.

Post # 22
1224 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2009 - Mountain Meadow/Mansion

I think it is definitely worth it! I have been to weddings without table assignments and felt like the new kid on the first day of school trying to decide where to sit in the cafeteria.

We spent a lot of time thinking about who would best get along with who and assigning them to the same tables. After our wedding, we had many comments from guests about how they had met fun, new people, and we even had 1 couple who ended up dating awhike after the wedding (they met at the wedding).

We also had an ice breaker at tables (mad libs printed on the same stationery as our invites with personalized pencils sat on one of the seats) that tied in with our courtship story (it was about how me met, but we also loved doing mad-libs when we were first dating as the airport nearest where I lived was 2 hours away from my house and 3 from a beach we often frequented).

I vote yes for assigned tables, but not assigned seats. Your guests will appreciate it!


Post # 23
5229 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort

I was at a wedding last weekend without a seating chart. It was a disaster. Contrary to what you think, it means you are less likely to sit with people you like unless you and your group RUSH into the room and snag seats immediately. You would need to have about 20% extra seating to make sure couples and families do not get split up.

Post # 24
2670 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 1999


View original reply

Assigning tables worked out great. People just grabbed their name card and found their tables. Everyone was seated with people they knew and could pick who to sit next to. We had no complaints at all and part of my family is not use to any type of assigned seating. Lkie I said I kept all families (mom, dad, kids) together and then kept the tables of the same side of the family right by each other so they were all close even if they weren’t at the same table. And to be honest it wasn’t really that much work.

The exact same family just had a wedding reception with open seating and it was chaos. People where moving chairs all over the place. Tables that were set up for 8 had 12 at some and 4 at another. It was really a mess.

Post # 25
8375 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

Yes. You really should assign each of your guests to a specific table (not necessarily a specific seat) at your reception. It really is the hosts’ responsiblity to seat guests with other guests with whom the hosts’ think the guests would be most comfortable or otherwise have something in common with the other guests at that table.

If you do not do this, your guests are going to be without guidance as to where to sit. If you have “open seating,” your more assertive guests will begin to “save” seats at the “best” tables for their friends (who very could well end up with OTHER friends on the other side of the room), and some guests may end up feeling as if they are playing musical chairs; when the figurative music has stopped, there may be no clear place for them to sit.  You also really do not want to end up with people who, for whatever reason (due to divorce, family squabbles, prior dating relationships, their propensity for being loud and socially irreverent) at the same table with others with whom you would not ever proactively want to seat them. (You don’t want Uncle George, who tends to say things he shouldn’t after he’s had a few glasses of wine sitting next to one of your professional colleagues, for example.)

It is WELL worth the time and energy to develop a proper seating plan for your reception.

Post # 26
4560 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I assigned tables, not seats. I would be kinda pissed if you told me who I had to sit next to. But I like not having to rush in to reception with some sort of battle plan, scrambling for a table that will fit all your friends. Totally annoying!

Post # 27
329 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I have decided last minute to do escort cards and table numbers. I think it’s a good idea. I was one of the “stupid peple” at a wedding as a previous poster stated and sat at a table where the bride’s family was supposed to sit. It was a huge wedding and there were no reserved signs or assigned seating at all. I sat there with 9 others and we just didn’t know. The bride came over to us and you could tell she was pretty mad.

Also, my wedding is only going to be 20 guests, but i want to make sure that my Fiance and I sit with our immediate fam. We will not have room at the table for one cousin and his wife. I want to be sure he doesn’t sit at the table with fam so that is the main reason I am doing table numbers.

Post # 28
281 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

@ieatunicorns:  yeah that’s been the deal at every wedding i’ve been to that had a seating chart. And there are seating chart tools that make it super easy! It would be harder to assign individual seats, but i’ve never actually seen someone go there.

Post # 29
700 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

A wedding with no table assignments is the worst revisit to high school ever.  I went to a wedding without one on Saturday.  Every seat I tried to sit in I was told “no, this is reserved” by guests holding seats for friends.  In the end, we ended up standing outside holding our plates for the evening. 

Post # 30
3054 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2012


Yeah we did not do one….we had tables that fit 10 and everyone pretty much knows each other so it would be pointless. I think only 3 or 4 did not know anyone at all, but they knew each other and sat together. Families sat amongst themselves and would introduce themselves to people from other families they have not met. I made sure to greet people from the husbands side that I havn’t met yet, I even danced with a few of them! ha!

We had a backyard wedding, no seating chart with a few tables on reserve for parents and family. We had 160 and it worked out fine. Nobody complained about it and people appreciated the relaxed atmosphere. Everybody knew each other and sat where they wanted to. Friends from college would say I talked to your neighbor, dad, or whoever during dinner and he or she was so nice! Plus nobody really sat at their tables very long, they were up and socializing and dancing! (My husband and I rarely sit at our tables at other weddings either, just to eat and then we are up and about, when we do sit down to take a breather its at a different table so we can chat it up with friends sitting there) Had quite a few people come up and whisper that honestly, most weddings they had been to were boring, but mine was actually fun.

It made me smile, especially seeing people that never talked to each other before laughing, doing shots together and generally just getting to know each other and then the next day they are adding each other on facebook! lol I am for sure a people pleasure, so I tried my best to make sure everyone was having fun and not sitting by themselves, which nobody was thankfully.

You know your party best, mine is just that way. Like I have said, even with assigned seating you will generally not see me sitting at the table I was assigned after dinner. I will be in someone else’s seat as long as I know they don’t plan on sitting there anytime soon, because I like to talk to other people too. My husband and I are also split up most of the night. I am usually on the dance floor or talking to my girl friends ( or girls I just met) and meet up with him for a slow dance or later on. He hardly touches his own seat as well.

Post # 31
2639 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry

“being forced to sit somewhere with people they probably wont talk to.”- this is exactly why I’m *doing* assigned tables.

I’m inviting two friends from high school- they’ll be at the same table.

Two former co-workers- putting them at the same table with their SIs.

There are a number of other guests that will only know one other person or couple at the wedding- they’ll enjoy the wedding a lot more having someone they know to talk to!


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