(Closed) Seating charts? What is the point?

posted 7 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
Member
828 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@futuremrsny: The reason that I like seating charts or escort cards that at the least indicate which table you sit at if not the specific seat can be illustrated in the following three scenarios

scenario 1, You have typical 8 person table and a family of three sits down, then two other couples sit down, now there is only one seat left at the table and you have planned for an exact number of seats. This probably leaves a couple searching for somewhere to sit together.

 

scenario 2: You’re a friend of the bride or groom, but you don’t know anyone at the wedding, so you’re unsure of where to sit. This is a missed opportunitiy on the part of the hosts to seat you with people with whom you may have something in common.

 

scenario 3: You’re the first cousin of the bride and you end up sitting at a table in the corner because the work colleagues of the groom have taken up the closer tables.

Post # 4
Member
572 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

We are not having a seating chart, but we are having a small wedding of about 50 people, all close friends and family. We want everyone to be comfortable, have fun, get up, move around, talk with people, sit, mingle, sit some more..whatever.  We are, however, reserving the 2 or 3 tables closest to the sweetheart table for our immediate families.

Post # 5
Member
1686 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Oh, there was that post about bad weddings and the people coming and taking chairs from a table leaving about three people at the table, and then coming back and trying to take their trail mix too when the overcrowded table ran out.

Post # 6
Member
3572 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Ive been to weddings where I did not know anyone, there was no seating chart, and my Fiance could not find two seats together.  I get irrationally angry when people don’t do seating charts now.  I feel like its always a mad dash to find a seat, when as a guest at a party I don’t want to have to worry about that.

Post # 7
Member
1091 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2018 - Oakland Manor

my parents and several of our important family friends were left sitting in the back at my sister’s reception. Our grandparents and a few family members were able to snag a more front table, but my mom felt bad for all the people that were sitting in the back – so she and my dad sat with them. 

Cuts down on the awkwardness and while it may take you an hour or two to do, I think it’s way worth it. I assigned tables, but not seats. 

Post # 8
Member
1686 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

On the other hand, it’s probably better to have no seating plan than a bad one. At one reception, I was at the “People the hostess doesn’t know” table. All the way across the room from Mr. E. and everyone I knew.

I heard later that the solution for handling the leftover place cards with unfamiliar names wasn’t to look at RSVPs and try to fit them near the people they came with or make an educated guess as to which circle they would fit with, but just say, “I don’t know who that is,” and stick us off in a corner as far as possible from the important people. It was not particularly good party planning, but it worked out fine in the end, since we were along the wall by the shelf with the extra wine bottles and could help ourselves. The extra social lubrication helped us all to get along very well. (Except for the snotty girl I nearly got in a fight with over solar flares. Clearly she had too much to drink.)

Post # 9
Member
1843 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I’m from the midwest as well and didn’t plan on having a seating chart until about a month ago (my wedding is this Saturday).

We have 205 people attending our wedding – We have a family of 6, several families of 4, lots of couples and two handfuls of singles.  We are sitting 8 per table and our venue will only let us have as many tables as we’ll fill.  With our head table, we have all the other tables full and one table with only 7 people.  There is NO WAY all those people could find appropriate spots if we didn’t do a seating chart.  I wans’t about to risk separating families and couples or having people sit together that would never get along.

Where I’m from, you sit at your spot for dinner and then when the dancing starts, everyone moves around and mingles (some people leave).  THEN people can find whatever spot they want (closer to the dance floor, closer to the booze, whatever).

Post # 10
Member
834 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

@futuremrsny: They are important for me, as my family has multiple divorcees, and it would be absolute political suicide to put my mother and Stepmother at the same table.

Post # 11
Member
3266 posts
Sugar bee

Also a role of the hostess is to seat people with people whom they will get on well with. 

In some more traditional etiquette, spouses are not sat together, though at the same table, so they can enjoy conversations with others, and not just stick together.

It also keeps you from ending up with a table full of granny, your boss, and your obnoxious but loveable college roomate.

Post # 12
Hostess
16213 posts
Honey Beekeeper

My seating chart was absolutely, positively necessary to ensure guest harmony & happiness at my reception. They were carefully, thoughtfully assigned, and we did hear guests’ appreciation for their seating arrangements.

Edit: I also assigned tables, not seats.

Post # 13
Member
10288 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011

Having been to weddings with and without seating charts, I can honestly say that I MUCH (like x1000) prefer those with seating charts to those without. It’s definitely more work on the couples part (I’m working on mine now and it’s a major PITA) but in my experience, everything flows much smother at the reception when you tell your guests where to park it. I’ve seen “open seating” turn into a chaotic version of musical chairs and I want none of that at our wedding.

My friend had a backyard BBQ wedding with open seating. For the type of wedding she had, it made sense to not have a seating chart but there were still PLENTY of issues. For example, the tables directly infront of the head table where you would think the bride and grooms immediate family would sit ended up being taken over by the girlfriends of the groomsmen because they just had to be super duper close to their men all night. My friends grandparents (who basically raised her) ended up being shoved in the back where they couldn’t hear or see a damn thing because the group of clingers took over their table. The grandparents were too nice to say anything to these girls so they just dealt with it. After the fact my friend said how disappointed she was that her family got booted to accommodate the groomsmen’s flavors of the week.  

I’ve also seen how annoying it is when a couple gets to a reception a little late only to find that there are no assigned seats and the only open spots are singles. It’s bad enough when the bridal party can’t sit with their SO’s but to force your guests to sit separately is super sucky. Sure, you can move around some chairs and what not but that will do much more harm than good considering with a chair comes a place setting and, if you’re having a plated meal, confusion in the kitchen.

Needless to say, we’re having a seating chart AND assigned seats. I didn’t really care about the assigned seats since I’m sure our guests could figure that out on their own but Fiance wanted them so I obliged. The guy hasn’t really requested much so if this meant enough to him to form an opinion, I’ll roll with it. 🙂

Post # 14
Member
4485 posts
Honey bee

If you don’t have placecards (not a fan of seating charts at all), it will be a chaotic disaster. Families and couples *will* get split up and people will feel like they are back in the high school cafeteria looking for a seat. This applies no matter how big or small your guest list is.

Post # 15
Member
95 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

We had about 80 people and did not do seating charts. It worked out better than expected. The three families sat where they wanted and those who wanted to stay away from some did. For us, seating charts weren’t necessary considering a part of the husbands family has issues with each other, they held it pretty well for the wedding and were glad that they could sit wherever they wanted

The topic ‘Seating charts? What is the point?’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors