Post # 1
So I’ve been researching the ‘to have a seating chart or not to have a seating chart’ issue. I know that views are mixed on this, but I wanted to ask you bees’ opinions more specific to my situation.
I live in Canada and it is common for weddings to have what we call a midnight lunch. Basically this is sandwiches, cheese, pickles, etc at a later time in the evening (not necessarily midnight) when everyone gets a bit hungry after a long evening of drinking and socializing. We have decided, for various reasons, not to have a supper for our guests. There will be a break between ceremony and dance during which they can eat and we will be having a small private family supper followed by the dance and midnight lunch.
I definitely see the merit of a seating chart when there is a supper, but is there any point in having a seating chart in my case? The dance will start out with everyone seated during which time we will have one or two short speeches and our first dance as a married couple, but that is pretty much it. After that, everyone is free to do what they want in terms of dancing and mingling. I don’t want a seating chart to make people think that they are obligated to stay put and not get up and mingle with other tables, but I also don’t want people to feel uncomfortable trying to find a table either if there is no seating chart.
Post # 2
I have never heard of this and I live in Canada too! If your guests are solely sitting for a couple of speeches and no dinner or food, I would just make sure there are enough chairs for people to sit and let them sit where they please. Are you serving cake?
Post # 3
I am guessing that this is a budget issue but I would caution agaiinst your plan. If you can’t afford to serve your guests dinner, change it to brunch, have a very casual soup and sandwich supper, do something, but to have a gap so you don’t have to pay for dinner, will not go over well.
ps I live in Canada too
Post # 4
No, I don’t think you’d need a seating chart in that situation. However, I would make sure that everyone knows there will be no meal. Unless the reception started at like 9 or something, I would assume I’m being fed.
Post # 5
Chani: I don’t think you will need a seating chart. You’ve probably already covered this with your guests, but make sure they know that there will be no supper provided to them. It may seem obvious to you, but it will not be to them. Make it clear that they should not expect to be fed a proper supper at supper time.
Post # 6
I don’t like them at all because i feel like people won’t mix and mingle and stay put at their seats because they were assigned! How awkward!
I am NOT having one in an effort to get people out of their seats. If a couple leaves the table to dance and someone wants to come and chat with their friends sitting at that table, why shouldn’t they be able to sit there and chat for a bit?
Post # 7
LyndaButterfly: Yes, we are serving cake! Maybe midnight lunch isn’t as common as I thought if you have never heard of it! I live in Saskatchewan – maybe it’s a Saskatchewan thing?
Well now I feel I need to explain why we aren’t having a supper. Every wedding we have ever been to where there is a supper the number one complaint people make is about the food. If we were to serve supper, yes there is a budget issue because it would cost $2,000-3,000 at least just for that. We don’t want to put in that much money for something that people are just going to complain about. It sounds rude, but that is the complete honest truth. And quite frankly, if it doesn’t go over well in the sense that guests are upset, etc, I really don’t care. This is our wedding and this is the way we want to do it. To anybody who complains, I say try paying for a wedding and seeing if your opinion changes! FI said he’s been to several weddings where there was no supper and he preferred it. I am a wedding ‘newbie’ in that I have only been to two weddings in my life (one was when I was a child), so I am going with his opinion and preference on the matter.
I just talked to FI on whether or not he thinks it’s clear that we are not having a supper. We have been careful not to use the word ‘reception’ and have put on the invitations and our website ‘dance and cocktails with midnight lunch to follow’. I realize some people misinterpret things, but that is as clear as we can be without saying, oh by the way you don’t get supper. I’m sure word of mouth will take care of it too. If not, there is not much more we can do.
I appreciate the opinons on the seating chart (which is what this thread was intended for … not asking opinions on our decision not to have supper, which, by the way, is too late to change since our wedding is now less than a month away). I am thinking we are leaning towards not having the chart!
Post # 8
Chani: interesting concept! I mean that in a non-snarky way, by the way. I’ve never been to a wedding with an event like that. I’m in Vancouver 🙂
I’m really curious about what time your wedding ceremony will be. Do you change for the evening too?
My opinion doesn’t change though and I wouldn’t bother with seating plans if you are having dancing and drinks. I probably wouldn’t even have enough seats for everyone or have formal tables settings as some people may prefer to stand and it encourages people to mingle. Table settings and seats to me would give me the idea of a meal.
Post # 9
No seating chart.
I know you’re not asking about the dinner thing but I’ve been to over 15 weddings and always appreciate having dinner even if it’s not very good (has only happened once that I can remember). I think the way you phrase it will get the point across. It would suck to go to a 6 pm wedding and be expected to fend for myself.
Post # 10
Honestly you will piss off your guests if you have that gap where you skip out for dinner with a select few. Why wouldn’t you have an evening ceremony around 7 or 8 then have an appetizer reception? This way people would know they weren’t being fed supper. You would not need a seating chart for this but definitely seats for everyone.
Post # 11
I also vote no seating chart and hopefully you can find someway to provide dinner or move the wedding to a time where people won’t be expecting it? I don’t know how far along you are in your planning but perhaps the guest list can be trimmed if it is a budget issue?
Like PPs, I would 100% prefer a not so great dinner (and honestly wouldn’t even care!) as opposed to no dinner at all. I feel like it may not go over very well when guests realize there is no dinner…
Post # 12
I appreciate everyone’s opinions and I know everyone is just trying to help, but please, enough about the no supper thing! My wedding is less than 4 weeks away, all of the invites have long been sent and almost all of the RSVPs are in. Everything is planned and set in stone. I am NOT having a supper. Maybe it’s a mistake, maybe it isn’t, but it is what it is now, and all this is doing is making me feel bad about my wedding. 🙁
LyndaButterfly: Yeah in Sask most caterers have a midnight lunch option! Some people do BOTH supper and midnight lunch (crazy expensive!). Our ceremony is at 3, it will be done between 3:30 and 4, and our dance is at 7:30. So there will be at least a 3.5 to 4 hour gap. Plenty of time for people to get food. 😉 Maybe we will bring out the lunch around 10. I had originally thought 11, but maybe we will bring it out earlier. We are also going to have some snacks laid out right from the beginning of the dance, so between snacks and cake, and then the lunch at 10, I’m sure people will be fine.
Post # 13
- Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA
I think if you say “dance / drinks / midnight lunch starting at 9 pm”, you’re fine regarding the supper thing. Some people might get lazy and not come back out though.
I would definitely not do a seating chart – those are appropriate for a dinner where people will be sitting for an hour or two straight. In your case, they’ll just be mingling and occasionally sitting with friends as they choose.
Post # 14
I hope you made it crystal clear to your guests that you will not be feeding them a typical dinner. I know that, where I live, there are gaps between the wedding and reception (ie. 3 pm wedding, 7 pm reception) but a dinner is served at the reception. I have a feeling a lot of guests are going to think they’re getting dinner.
While your gap is plenty of time for people to get their own food, if they don’t know you’re not serving a formal dinner, they will have a light snack and hold off until your ‘party’ (since you’re not calling it a reception). You really need to get word around that people need to find their own dinner before your ‘party’ starts.
Post # 15
Chani: The trouble with posting something on the internet is that people feel free to express their opinion and you don’t get to limit the subject of the conversation.
Sometimes there are Bees who really just don’t know they are being rude, so other Bees try to make them aware . At least then they are making an educated decision.
Consider this scenario:
My DH and I would like to invite you over next Saturday. Please come around 3 pm. We will visit for a while, then you can leave, get your own dinner (DH and I will be going out for dinner with those deemed more worthy) then you can come back around 7:30 pm and we will drink and dance for a couple of hours.
How do you think you would react to that kind of invitation?