Seating chart trouble.. is it necessary?

posted 12 months ago in Reception
Post # 2
13350 posts
Honey Beekeeper

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
804 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

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
2638 posts
Sugar bee

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
57 posts
Worker bee

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
5023 posts
Bee Keeper

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
135 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

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
1542 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

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
1588 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

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
4224 posts
Honey bee

View original reply
annabananabee :  <<<—— what she said 1,000%

Post # 11
7993 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

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
1787 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

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
1101 posts
Bumble bee

Assign tables. It’s the courteous thing to do to make your guests feel comfortable. 

Post # 14
2613 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

View original reply
sweetb77 :  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!

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