Post # 1
Just a few weeks out here, and putting together a seating chart is a major head ache. I have a lot of couples with younger kids, some with teens, and some friends that I’m not sure where to place without making them feel awkward. I dont want the tablea with kids to feel like a kids table, and I’m afraid some of the kids might not be comfortable or old enough to sit at a true “kids table” (also, serving buffet style so probably better for everyone that kids stay with parents).
My main reason for doing a seating chart is to keep immediate family together (my moms friend is WAY over bearing and wants to sit with my mom, while my mom wants to sit with family. Her friend knows plenty of people that she can sit with through dinner).
Would it be okay to do a reserved table for my immediate family and one for my fiance’s immediate family?
We went to a wedding last year and none of the tables were marked. Everyone took their seats and immediate family and bridal party came up after pictures and said 3 tables were reserved for them (though nothing was marked as reserved). 3 full tables had to relocate and squish into leftover tables. It was no good and not something I want to duplicate.
Post # 2
Everyone has these issues. Do yourself and your guests a favor and assign tables at a minimum. People can mix and there’s nothing wrong with introducing people to guests they didn’t know before. There is nothing worse than a free for all, and it’s even worse when some people are treated preferentially.
Post # 3
I just went to a wedding of a friend and they didn’t have a seating chart at all: couches, tables, other kinds of seating… No one minded, it seemed. Actually, everyone I knew there (a good number) stood around outside and talked. Now, the majority of the guests, to be fair, are in our 30s and 40s and hipsters, so… maybe this demographic doesn’t mind a more fluid kind of party. My point is that it’s not the worst thing in the world to not have a seating chart; it can work.
Post # 4
I used to plan weddings at a hotel. Many brides only reserved a few tables for family – the rest of the seating was open.
Post # 5
The best way is the assign tables. I’ve seen a wedding that did not have assinged tables and people were pulling chairs to sit with each other and some tables were over crowded and some tables had like 4 people.
Post # 6
Remember how you felt on the first day of junior high/middle school where you were now intermingled with a bunch of kids from different schools and maybe you didn’t have lunch at the same time as all your friends from elementary school and you walked into the cafeteria wondering who you were going to sit with and desperately scanned the room looking for people you know?
Do you really want to make people feel that at your wedding?
Also, remember that if you have open seating, you need to have at least 10% MORE seating available because people tend to like to leave a space between them and the next person if given the option and people don’t want to be separated from their dates/family. So if you have tables of 8 and two couples and a family of three sit down at a table and along comes another couple upon the one lonely seat they’re going to look for another table and a singleton walking around may not necessarily assume that’s an open seat or want to infringe upon an already almost full table. More seating = more place settings and centerpieces = more $$$.
Just suck it up and assign people to tables. No one really thinks it’s fun, but if you want things to run smoothly it is in your best interest. Just do the best you can – you aren’t chaining them to their seats for all eternity so the consequences are minimal.
Post # 7
If you don’t name who exactly the reserved tables are for, I think you will be very surprised at who considers themselves your “immediate family”. I think moms friend will still sit there as anyone that obtuse to think they should sit with the MOB will still think it applies to them if left general. If you care where anyone sits, make a chart if it doesn’t bother you where anyone ends up, don’t make one.
Post # 8
It absolutely sucks to do, but I would 100% recommend at the very least having assigned tables.
No one wants the stress of “quick find a table” at a wedding.
A few months ago I heard this HORROR story on this site, where this poor Bee, who was the +1 of a groomsman, was left on a table by herself because everyone else knew eachother and pulled chairs off tables to add to others. The whole wedding she sat on a table alone. I wanted to cry for her.
I outsourced all my family to my Mum to arrange, and FI’s to his Mum, so then I just had to arrange my friends. Outsourcing is key when it comes to the finer details! Then it’s on them if guests aren’t happy, lol
Post # 9
Assign tables. Reach out to the guests who are bringing kids if their kids would be happier at a kids’s table or with their parents. I would default towards seating any kids under 13 with their parents.
Post # 10
<<<—— what she said 1,000%
Post # 11
Open seating is the worst. Yes, it can be a slight headache, but its so much easier for your guests.
Dont do a kids table, keep them with their parents. You can put parents that know each other together with their kids, or you can group all the parents together.
Post # 12
I’ve been to a couple of open seating weddings and it was honestly no big deal. And one where seating was assigned and I got stuck with random people and it sucked. And I went to one where seating was assigned and it worked beautifully.
Really depends on your crowd I think.
Post # 13
Assign tables. It’s the courteous thing to do to make your guests feel comfortable.
Post # 14
Seating charts are a must IMO. Family units want to sit together for the most part.
Get an excel or google sheet going with table numbers and place larger units first. Then fill in smaller groups/couples and so on. It’s like a puzzle but it works out eventually.
Its not fair to make people choose and separate unnecessarily. Keep at it!
Post # 15
Thanks for the words of wisdom, bees. I will power through and get it done!