Customs and Traditions

A few questions.

We were wondering if the there was a dance with the father in law and the bide? 

also, what's everyones opinion on an open seating plan? It would save me a lot of a stress If we could do it that way but I don't know if it's proper to do for a wedding. 

"Four years ago, I was just a guy who had a crush on a girl, who had a boyfriend. And I had to do the hardest thing that I've ever had to do"
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Re: A few questions.

  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado
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    I've never heard of an official FIL and bride dance. Nothing stopping you from having one. However, I barely get through the first dance and mom/son, father/daughter. I would not be thrilled to add another spotlight dance.---------------------------------------------------------------------------- I'm a fan of assigned tables. If you go the open seating route you have to add an additional 10-15% extra seats. For some (like myself) that is an extra expense (tables, chairs, CP, etc. all cost per piece).






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • I have never heard of a FIL and bride dance. Generally, I'm a fan of fewer spotlight dances than more. I know when I'm a guest at a wedding, I like the B&G dance, I'm luke warm on the parent&B/G dances and I excuse myself to the bar with any other dances. It's just too much.

    I had open seating at my wedding. It was fine, everyone had a place to sit/put their stuff and pandemonium was not unleashed as many predicted. You need to consider two things though if you want it to be successful:

    1) Cost. It's more expensive to have open seating because you need to have more chairs/tables/linens/centerpieces/place settings. You must have at least 10-15% extra chairs because people: a) leave single seats between them and b) don't fill tables. 
    2) Guest comfort. If your crowd is used to open seating, no problem. If they're used to having assigned seating at weddings, this will be super confusing and uncomfortable for them. If this is the case, I would recommend assigned tables and then they can choose wherever they want to sit at that table.
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  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall
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    I dislike open seating and I dislike when there are too many spotlight dances. 
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's
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    If you want to dance with  your FIL then go for it.  Just don't make it into a special spotlight dance. Three spotlight dances (first, Dad/Bride, Mom/Son) is more then enough and anything after that is just excessive.

    I prefer assigned tables.  Open seating can cause some confusion with your guests, especially if they are not used to going to weddings with open seating.  Also you would need 10-15% more tables, chairs, linens, centerpieces, etc since people will not voluntarily fill up tables.

    Marzipan13
  • I agree with others, i am not a fan of open seating.   Some people might be wandering not sure where to sit, or get split up from family if there arent enough open spots to accomodate their whole family at one table.  
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
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    I've never seen a bride have a spotlight dance with her FIL. 

    Also not a fan of open seating. 

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    You can have a special dance with your FIL, but I agree with the PPs about not making it a spotlight dance.

    I also don't like open seating.  It means that guests "reserve" seats for their family and friends and if you're attending the wedding without knowing others there you have to look for an "unreserved" seat like a kid in a school cafeteria.  And if the reception is a buffet reception it's really annoying to have to carry a heavy tray of food while looking for an "unreserved" seat.
    msuprincess04
  • I'm having open seating because I didn't want the headache of seating Aunt A with Aunt B, when really Aunt A wants to sit with Aunt C. Our venue provides tables and chairs, so they weren't charging us extra for more seats though.
  • slothiegalslothiegal The Sloth Farm
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    Big no to open seating.  That would stress me out as both a guest (flashbacks to high school and not having a table to sit at) and as the bride (worrying about my loved ones finding a seat/being comfortable where they were).  Honestly, creating a seating chart wasn't as difficult as I had expected.

    I think it's fine to have a dance with FIL, but don't make it a spotlight dance.  We did the typical three (first, father/daughter, mother/son), with the last two cut down to just minute long snippets of the the song, and that was long enough for me.  FIL and I danced with everyone else later on in the evening.
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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    I'm having open seating because I didn't want the headache of seating Aunt A with Aunt B, when really Aunt A wants to sit with Aunt C. Our venue provides tables and chairs, so they weren't charging us extra for more seats though.
    Open seating does nothing to make this problem go away.  In fact, it might make it worse because of people "reserving" seats for other people.  If Aunt A wants to sit with Aunt C, come up with a seating arrangement that puts them together.
  • princessleia22princessleia22 Oceanfront Property in Arizona
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    You can have whatever spotlight dances you want to have. We debated have a second father-daughter dance so our sisters could dance with our dads.

     

    Open seating makes things easier for you, but makes it more difficult for your guests. And people will save seats or leave open seats at the table, creating the need for more seating.  And for last people coming in, there may be only 1 or 2 seats left open at each table, and families may get split up between tables. I think the best way to go it to just assign tables. That way people can easily find a seat, you know that everyone has a space with their family/SO, and they can still sit next to whoever they want at that table. I went to a wedding over weekend with assigned tables and it worked out well.  Then after dinner, most people got up and wandered around to visit with everyone else anyway. Most people will only be in their assigned seats for dinner.

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  • I also barely tolerate spotlight dances as a guest.  Dance with him during the dancing portion, but don't make it a spotlight.  Unless of course you're the only child orphan of parents who were also only child orphans and have no other close blood relative to do the father(or appropriate substitute)/daughter dance and you and your FIL are really close.  Then go for it.

    I also prefer assigned seating unless it's a super small reception where absolutely everyone knows each other and gets along.  It may be easier for you, but it's kind of stress-inducing for your guests, especially if any of them even have any mild social anxiety or may not know more than a couple other people at the wedding.  Sitting with strangers is always awkward, but with assigned seating at least there is some comfort in knowing the bride and groom probably put some thought into it and thought you would enjoy this particular group of strangers.

    On behalf of your single and/or social anxiety-ridden and/or not related to or friends with anyone else guests, please just take the time to assign seats.  Or if you don't, then have a full open bar that's available early so they drink themselves to a comfort level where they can approach strangers and ask if that seat's taken.
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  • danamwdanamw
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    edited August 2014

    I like assigned seating, because it is a lot easier to just find your table and sit, rather than scout around the room asking people can you sit with them. It makes me feel like a pathetic beggar. There are always popular tables where 18 people want to sit at a table for 10, and one table where 2 people are sitting alone and feeling disliked, and ostracized. Wondering if they smell, or something.  I am exaggerating, for effect.

    After the festivities and dinner, everyone  is free to roam about and socialize, no one stays in their seat all night, except maybe the elderly.

  • edited August 2014
    Jen4948 said:
    I'm having open seating because I didn't want the headache of seating Aunt A with Aunt B, when really Aunt A wants to sit with Aunt C. Our venue provides tables and chairs, so they weren't charging us extra for more seats though.
    Open seating does nothing to make this problem go away.  In fact, it might make it worse because of people "reserving" seats for other people.  If Aunt A wants to sit with Aunt C, come up with a seating arrangement that puts them together.
    Actually it does make the problem go away. Perhaps it's not the cheapest/easiest/best solution,  but I don't have to make seating chairs or decisions and that makes me happy. People can reserve seats for whomever they'd like because our venue has provided extra tables and chairs, and that will make my guests happy. It might not work for everyone, or the OP, but it is an option.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    Jen4948 said:
    I'm having open seating because I didn't want the headache of seating Aunt A with Aunt B, when really Aunt A wants to sit with Aunt C. Our venue provides tables and chairs, so they weren't charging us extra for more seats though.
    Open seating does nothing to make this problem go away.  In fact, it might make it worse because of people "reserving" seats for other people.  If Aunt A wants to sit with Aunt C, come up with a seating arrangement that puts them together.
    Actually it does make the problem go away. Perhaps it's not the cheapest/easiest/best solution,  but I don't have to make seating chairs or decisions and that makes me happy. People can reserve seats for whomever they'd like because our venue has provided extra tables and chairs, and that will make my guests happy. It might not work for everyone, or the OP, but it is an option.
    I disagree.  It might make your problem of Aunt A and Aunt C wanting to sit together, but it does nothing to solve the problems of guests having to walk around and find "unreserved" seats for themselves, especially if it's a buffet and they have to carry heavy trays of food while dressed up nicely on top of it.

    OP, just about everyone else in this thread has advised for assigned tables rather than open seating, so consider that your best option, not open seating.
  • I agree with PPs about not adding additional spotlight dances. You want your guests to have fun, and dancing is more fun than watching people dance.

    Open seating can work if you have 20% extra chairs, but as a guest, I do not like it. Creating a seating arrangement isn't difficult. If you have your guest list in excel or other spreadsheet program, add a column for how you know the guest (groom's frat brothers, mom's friend from work, my family on my mom's side) and sort by that column. From there, you shouldn't need much shuffling to get everyone at a table with people they know.
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  • Jen4948 said:
    I'm having open seating because I didn't want the headache of seating Aunt A with Aunt B, when really Aunt A wants to sit with Aunt C. Our venue provides tables and chairs, so they weren't charging us extra for more seats though.
    Open seating does nothing to make this problem go away.  In fact, it might make it worse because of people "reserving" seats for other people.  If Aunt A wants to sit with Aunt C, come up with a seating arrangement that puts them together.
    Actually it does make the problem go away. Perhaps it's not the cheapest/easiest/best solution,  but I don't have to make seating chairs or decisions and that makes me happy. People can reserve seats for whomever they'd like because our venue has provided extra tables and chairs, and that will make my guests happy. It might not work for everyone, or the OP, but it is an option.
    No, this is still a problem because Aunt B will sit down at a table and save a seat for Aunt A. Aunt A will walk into the reception with Aunt C and the two of them will sit together at a different table. Meanwhile Aunt B has turned away her nieces and nephews from sitting with her because she thought she was saving a seat for Aunt A and ends up sitting alone or with complete strangers just because the bride and groom couldn't just put all three Aunts at the same table with a couple other people they all know.
    Jen4948
  • I'm the odd duck here. It depends on your guest list. Open seating is the only thing I've ever seen at a wedding. Because it is the norm within my circle there is no confusion, seats aren't wasted, people seem to know what to do. I think we don't give people enough credit at times.  If your group is used to the assigned seating I would go that way but if not open seating works just fine too.
  • I despise open seating but it really depends on your crowd and how well they know/don't know each other.  In order to avoid sitting at a table with my ex, I wound up at a table where my fiance and I didn't know anyone.  Had a great conversation but still.  
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  • I absolutely hate open seating plans unless there is double the amount of seating needed. I've seen it happen that guests don't fit in like tetris and some people don't have seats, they were super offended. Your stress prior will make this go much, much more smoothly the day of. 

    Just dance with your FIL while everyone else dances, your then H (yayyy!) can grab your mom, maybe. 
  • I've never heard of a FIL/bride dance, but ditto pps that if you want to dance with him, go for it.  Just don't make it a spotlight dance.

    I am not a fan of open seating.  You can read my thoughts (and others') HERE.  I haven't experienced having extra seating as a few pps suggested, but it sounds like it could work.  Also, if it's a cocktail reception only (no meal being served), then I'm also okay with open seating as long as there is lots of it.






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