Post # 1
I know that people on here generally hate open seating (in fact, if you’d have asked me two weeks ago, I would have told you that we were 100% doing a seating chart and listed all the benefits of doing so), however…the fact that RSVPs have turned into a nightmare has led us to give in to what both our families wanted from the beginning: open seating at the reception.
We’ve got so many people that failed to RSVP and either A) aren’t answering phones when we follow up or B) are wishy-washy on their plans (i.e. “We are 90% sure we’ll be there, but still trying to get off work/double-checking our finances/etc”) that getting an exact headcount and guest list is driving us insane. I know that technically we could just say, “if we don’t have your answer by this day, we’ll assume you’re a no”…but the fact that our whole wedding is so relaxed and family-centered, we simply don’t want to do so. Add this to the fact that a seating chart is uncommon for both FI’s family and mine and we’ve switched gears and are now giving in and doing open seating.
This has led to some questions that we hadn’t previously considered. Namely:
- How many extra tables should we plan for? Worst (or best, depending on how you see it)-case scenario, we’ll have 120 people, most likely the number will be about 105…would 16 tables be enough? That would be seating for 128, which is 8 more than the absolute max we could have and 23 extra seats if all the people who are still unsure can’t make it;
- I’ve already got table numbers…would it be weird/confusing to put table numbers on the tables if there is no seating chart. We’re doing a buffet, so we could still announce food by table, so I’m thinking this will be okay, right?
- Should we reserve tables for parents/grandparents or should we say that open seating means open seating for everyone, no exceptions.
- Is there anything else I need to know?
Post # 2
We got our final count after hunting down the last RSVPs and added an extra table, just in case. I can’t remember how many, but each table fit 10 – so we went with that. I think we went with 220 seats, and only about 212 RSVPd as coming. Do you know how many seats are around each table?
We reserved tables for family – which included parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and anyone else who you, or your, parents would want to have a reserved seat. Our photographer sat with my parents. We also had some friends of family member sit with people they would know better, so they got assigned seating. Everyone else, it was open. Our venur provided us signs, and we told them how many we needed.
I would still use the numbers, could be easy to announce which table can get up for food.
Post # 3
Can you add in an extra table? I just feel like you will end up with one empty seat here, another there… and some people feeling split up because they mingled late and now there isn’t a table where all four of them fit together. I mean, I feel like 20 extra seats is a good amount, so if the number of attendees drops you can cut out a table or two. I’d ask someone to be a table usher of sorts, and make sure that the dance floor table gets taken last so it can get cleared up right away if it isn’t needed. If you have a really exuberant and friendly friend who can try to match people up to tables, that would be fun. Announcing food by table is an excellent way of getting everyone up in an orderly fashion. You could play a ‘get to know your table’ game to get the order sorted out, like your MC can ask for someone to bring up three left shoes, and the first one to do so can have their table go next; or have the table stand up and say a nursery rhyme together, or whatever fun, silly things you like. If you do this, I’d make sure that any grandparent tables go first out of respect unless your grandparents are good on being undignified.
Post # 4
I think you should keep your table numbers so each table can be called up in either sequential (sp) order or backwards order. So people have some idea when they will be called. Definitely have extra space as some tables wont fill up and so people can mingle.
I like the idea of having someone guide guests to empty seats where they would be most comfortable. You don’t want one table to have 2 people at it and another overseated, but if your guests are happy that is most important.
I would reserve seating for family and bridal party.
Post # 5
amanda.417: If this is so common in both of your families, seems like you should already be familiar with it. Or be able to ask them.
Post # 6
The biggest problem with open seating is that people often get stuck at random tables with people and their couple/family gets split up. Yes, a wedding is to socialize, but not everyone is socialable and this can make people uncomfortable. IF you do open seating I would have at least 2-3 extra tables. You don’t want guests to be wandering around looking for somewhere to fit (whether family or couple). I would also suggest getting say tables that sit 10, but only put 8 chairs at them so that people can add chairs in if they need them.