Open Seating…is it really that awful?

posted 9 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
Member
2008 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

I haven’t been to that many weddings, but I’ve never been to one with assigned seating.  I don’t think open seating is bad at all.  We haven’t discussed it at length, but I think we’ll also just be reserving a couple tables for the bridal party and family.  

Post # 4
Member
203 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

There have been a lot of posts about this, specifically most recently a discussion on whether or not this is a regional thing…

http://www.weddingbee.com/search/?cx=002282152532121065906%3Ar3acndkexqa&cof=FORID%3A10&q=assigned+open+seating&sa.x=0&sa.y=0#1379

Hope these help. From what I’ve seen here it is largely a regional thing. I’m on the East Coast and I’ve never been to a wedding without assigned seats and I personally would be upset without them. That said you know your guests and their comfort level best. GL

Post # 5
Member
653 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

i’m from indiana too and the last wedding i went to was open seating and it was sort of chaotic…they didn’t have enough room for all of the family at the family table to the brides family sat there and the grooms family was spread around. also, i think it just helps those people that might not know too many people avoid the awkward i don’t have a clue where to sit/sitting in the corner by themselves

Post # 6
Member
390 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

You should check out the link from the previous poster.  I’ve been to a few weddings (all in the midwest), and none of them had arranged seating.  Most of the guests knew enough of the other guests that it wasn’t an issue.  I have a feeling this will be the case with ours as well.  I think more of our guests would be uncomfortable with arranged seating than without.

Post # 7
Member
350 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2009

People are kind of split on this one.  I’ve read some commenters saying assigned seating is annoying because they’d rather choose who to sit with; others say that they prefer that the bride and groom organize things in order to make the reception run more smoothly and help guests avoid that awkward "where should I sit?" search for an empty seat near friendly faces.

To be honest, I prefer assigned seating, but if you’re anticipating that some people won’t RSVP and you may not have an exact head count, I’d say skip the headache of a seating chart, especially if you don’t live in an area where they’re common. If you do decide to have a seating chart, you’ll probably have to call the people who didn’t RSVP to find out whether they’re coming, which may be more work than you want to do in the days leading up to the wedding.

Post # 8
Member
110 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

Our wedding is going to be in the Philly area and we don’t intend to do assigned seating. Almost everyone (with the exception of my Mother) thinks that open seating is more fun and relaxed for everyone as there is no pressure to sit next to people you don’t what to sit with. If you do a careful guest list count ahead of time, it shouldn’t be a problem. I trust that the guests will be more comfortable finding their own seating.

Post # 9
Member
948 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2018 - Coyaba Resort, Montego Bay

Personally, I like open seating. 

Post # 10
Member
1078 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2009

@krgk84: I, too, am from Indiana…and have been to weddings with both assigned and unassigned seating. I think here in the midwest, it’s more acceptable (and sometimes expected) that guests choose where to sit.

Even though I keep wanting to assign table #s, I thought I’d ask around. Good thing I took a poll! My family and friends are telling me to stray away. Especially since our reception is only having a cocktail buffet (hot hoer d’oerves, dips, salads, veggies and fruit, etc).

 

Post # 11
Member
5273 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2009

At first I wasn’t going to do assigned seating, but after reading posts and talking with my Fiance, I think it is a really good idea. We are only assigning tables, not chairs (which will relieve stress) IMO the benefit of doing this is so that people are able to sit with their friends, in my mind I was thinking about say 4 of my firends go to sit at an 8 person table and say 4 other mutual friends are off doing something else, those first 4 will either A) stand around and tell my other guests that "these seats are saved" or B) other guests who don’t know anyone else will sit down if the seats are left unattended. I would like to make my guests, who don’t know many other people at the wedding, as comfortable as possible by seating them next to people their same age.

Escort cards can be made very easily just using cardstock, plus they can help tie in your invitations & programs 🙂

Post # 12
Member
180 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

It seems to be very regional, and while most weddings I have attended in CA have had assigned seats, I did go to a wedding that did not. It was fine because we ended up sitting with people we knew, but they intentionally didn’t have enough seats for everyone (more of a heavy h’orderves buffet rather than a full dinner) and that was a bit inconvenient. My Fiance mingled while I ate and I mingled while he ate. I’d say if it is normal is your area to not have assigned seats then don’t. Do what you know your guests will be most comfortable with.

Post # 13
Member
443 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

We’re having a family and close friends only wedding so I didn’t see the need to have assigned seating, especially for our buffet reception. Out of 70 people probably 55 are family and they’re very outgoing and friendly. I don’t think anyone will feel like they have to "sit in a corner" because they dont know anyone. I figure they’ll probably play musical chairs catching up and getting to know my FI’s family better. I don’t see a problem with it.

Post # 14
Member
2408 posts
Buzzing bee

i think it depends on the group. most of the weddings i’ve been to have been open seating and only had a problem with one where it turned out more people showed up than rsvp so they ran out of seats. other than that, i haven’t encountered any issues with grabbing a table with friends.

i’m live in ca and actually only attended two weddings with assigned seating but one of them had over 300 people attending and really, you HAVE to assign seats in that case.

Post # 15
Member
497 posts
Helper bee

Basically it is a personal decision and you are free to do whatever you want.  I don’t particularly care for open seating because the one (out of many) that I have been to that was open seating was rather chaotic.

HOWEVER, and this is a BIG HOWEVER, it is imperative that if you have open seating, you have at least one extra table per 50 guests to accommodate for people not sitting right next to each other.  This isn’t an option, it is necessary and any event planner worth their salt will tell you the same thing.

That said, it may be a pain to assign seats, but in the end, its less expensive.

Post # 16
Member
604 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

I think it just depends on your group…. I’m from rural Alabama and had honestly never been to a wedding with assigned seating until I moved to Atlanta.  Of course I’d also never been to a wedding where you were asked to RSVP.  Needless to say, we are in a similar situation of trying to decide what to do.  All his friends/family will expect assigned seating and my family may be confused by it. 

That said, we are leaning towards assigned simply because we have so many different "groups" of people, many of whom wouldn’t feel comfortable if they were to end up sitting with people they didn’t already know. I think we’ll end up putting something in the program’s schedule of events page saying after cocktail hour (also a new concept for my family members) to stop by the table and pick up your escort card and make your way to your table for dinner.  The wording still needs to be cleaned up a bit….

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