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Wedding Assigned Seating: Is it Necessary?

Figuring out how to plan seating for your wedding reception can be stressful. There are a lot of strong opinions about assigned seating versus open seating!

So should I have assigned seating at my wedding? There are some logistic reasons you may want to have assigned seating as if your space is small and you have just enough seating for the exact number of guests. On the other hand, you might fear your guests being uncomfortable and awkward and therefore leave the seating open.

There are many things to think about when it does when you are thinking about if you should have assigned seating or open seating at your wedding reception. Here are a few things that I hope will make this decision easier for you!

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Pros and Cons of Assigned Seating at a Wedding

The disadvantages of assigned seating.

For some guests, assigned seating can feel super awkward because the might get placed at a table where they don’t know anyone.

Another disadvantage is you will always have guests who bring a date, making adjustments to the seating difficult. They’ll be asking to move seats with other people and pulling up chairs from other tables. It could really disrupt the flow.

Some people might complain after the fact about what seat was chosen for them and who the had to sit with. Who needs that drama mixed in with the memories of your happy celebration?!

The advantages of assigned seating.

If you plan to have a plated meal, it makes it much easier on the servers to know who is sitting where so they can get the correct meal to each person.

Additionally, it creates less drama when guests are taking their seats. Everyone has a place and families don’t have to worry about being separated because there aren’t enough seats at any particular table.

Also, you can group your guests together in a table by people who know each other so that hopefully they will not be sitting at a table of strangers.

Pros and Cons of Open Seating at a Wedding Reception

The disadvantages of open seating.

With an open seating plan, there is a chance for more chaos because people will be searching for tables and trying to find a place where their whole group can sit. Especially for families, it can be frustrating when they can’t find a table that fits all of them.

Additionally, it’s not uncommon for someone to steal your seat at some point during the reception. With assigned seats, you don’t have to worry about that.

The advantages of open seating.

With an open seating plan, this will be one less stressful task that you’ll have to worry about while planning your wedding. All you need to do is make sure that you have enough seating for the number of guests and you’re done!

Also, an open seating arrangement allows people to come and go as they choose. Mingle with different tables and visit with many people during the course of the evening. They don’t have to feel tied down to a certain seat or table.

Why Do People Assign Seats at Weddings?

Most people assign seats simply for the organization of getting everyone in the reception and seated in a fashionable manner. It’s become common for people to place a table at the entrance of the reception all with escort cards that tell people their table number and or seat.

Also, people who have over 75 guests usually like to assign seats simply for the fact of helping keep everyone in their place. This is especially important if you have the exact number of seats as your guests. If you have more seats than guests, then assigned seats aren’t as necessary.

Another reason why people assign seats at weddings is because they are serving a plated meal. Guests are usually asked on their RSVP cards what meal they would like and are serve accordingly. Having assigned seats helps the servers get the correct dish to the correct person.

How Do You Seat Guests at a Wedding Reception?

Assigning guests to tables and seats can be an overwhelming task! It’s going to require a team effort from your fiance, bride tribe, family, etc. But, once you get the hang of it, things will get easier!

There are two different ways to seat your guests: seating chart or escort cards.

Seating Chart

Planning out a simple seating chart is by far the easiest way to do assigned seating at your wedding reception.

All you need is a really simple list like this one! Make sure to list your guest’s names alphabetically to make it quicker and easier for them to find their table. If you sort your guests by table number, they will spend a long time reading through all the tables to find their names.

Once they get to their table, you can either let them choose their seats or put nice name cards at each place for your guests to find their seats.

Escort Cards

Escort cards are one of the more common ways to let gets know where they are to be seated. However, it can be more expensive and time-consuming to put them together.

Just like for the seating chart, make sure to list your guest’s names alphabetically to make it quicker and easier for them to find their table.

Do You Need a Seating Chart at Your Wedding?

Honestly, it mainly depends on the size of your wedding. If you’re only having around 50 guests and you will have more then enough tables at your venue, guests can easily seat themselves with little disruption.

Also, If your venue is large enough and will have plenty of extra seating, then there is no reason to assign seats. There will be plenty of space for your guests to choose their own seats.

You’ll also want to consider the type of meal you’ll be serving. If your food will be buffet style or cocktail style, there is no need to assign seats. Whereas, if you are serving a plated meal, your servers will prefer that your guests are seated according to the chart so that they can deliver the plates.

Related Questions

How do you to seat divorced parents at a wedding reception? You should seat each parent at their own table with their own group of friends and family. Some divorced couples are civil enough to be at the same table whereas others should be separated.

Does the bridal party have to sit together at the wedding reception? Some receptions have a sweetheart table where only the bride and groom sit and the wedding party sits where they like. Other receptions have a head table where the entire wedding party sits together.

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Hi, I’m Kristin. While I haven’t found my Prince Charming yet, I’ve been dreaming of getting married for a long long time. I started this site as a place to record all the things I’ve found and researched in preparation for my own wedding someday. I can’t wait to share it all with you!

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