Reception Ideas

Do I NEED table assignments?

In my church group of friends and of the family members who have gotten married over the last 5-8 years, no one ever does table assignments. You just walk in, grab a table, and then the people you know join you or you end up just splitting up amongst tables as everyone's friends arrive. I'd never been to a wedding with table assignments until my school friends started getting married in the last 2 years. They will only comprise about 10% of my guest list though; my family and church group will be the majority. Do you think I absolutely need table assignments? The one thing I am worried about is the folks who would only know 3-4 other people there (because they're what remains of my friends from a past church/school) having to sit awkwardly around and hope other people they know show up. It'd make more sense to assign them all to the same table; but then what if somebody doesn't show, and you're back to a couple sitting awkwardly by themselves at a table with no one else.

Re: Do I NEED table assignments?

  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    I really hate when tables are not assigned. Guests are then left scrambling to find a table with people they know. This most recently happened to me at a relative's wedding, and trying to get a table with my parents, and aunts and cousins was extremely hard. We ended up split over 2 tables. 

    Usually most tables are 8-10 people (sometimes larger), so one person not showing isn't going to affect the seating that much. 

    MairePoppyInLoveInQueenslevioosa
  • If everyone you've invited knows a large number of people, it's maybe not a bad idea. But if you don't assign tables, you also should have something like 20-30% extra seating, because people likely won't fill up tables.

    If you have a few friends you're worried about, I would just do assignments. Our wedding was kind of like that; both H & I have these smaller, random groups of friends that, because of how we've both moved, don't know each other. They got along when we sat them together, but the probably wouldn't have done it voluntarily. I didn't find it to be as awful as I've heard it could be. One thing I did was start color coding our guest list from the start (we had it in a Google spreadsheet) with people who could sit together. Then when we went to make the seating chart, we had a rough outline already done.

    At a table of 8-10, it won't be noticeable if one or two people don't show. If only one couple shows up, I would imagine most venue staff would try to squeeze them in elsewhere. 
    charlotte989875
  • In my church group of friends and of the family members who have gotten married over the last 5-8 years, no one ever does table assignments. You just walk in, grab a table, and then the people you know join you or you end up just splitting up amongst tables as everyone's friends arrive. I'd never been to a wedding with table assignments until my school friends started getting married in the last 2 years. They will only comprise about 10% of my guest list though; my family and church group will be the majority. Do you think I absolutely need table assignments? The one thing I am worried about is the folks who would only know 3-4 other people there (because they're what remains of my friends from a past church/school) having to sit awkwardly around and hope other people they know show up. It'd make more sense to assign them all to the same table; but then what if somebody doesn't show, and you're back to a couple sitting awkwardly by themselves at a table with no one else.
    How big is your guest list and how big is your venue?

    Table assignments are necessary (IMO) when you have a large guest list, here will be groups of people that don't know one another, or there isn't enough extra seating to make up for leaving open seats at tables bc there aren't enough seats/people don't know others at the table/people want to sit with specific guests. 
  • We did a little of both - we had three tables worth of people who would not otherwise know anyone else in the room (we had 400 to the reception) that we put together for assigned tables, but everyone else (primarily families from both sides and coworkers/employees) we let sit next to whomever they wanted.  Personally, I'm NAF of assigned tables/seating because usually we end up sitting next to people we see all the time instead of the people I rarely get to see/interact with.  I'm going to vote "Skip it!  It's one less thing to do!"...
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  • MesmrEwe said:
    We did a little of both - we had three tables worth of people who would not otherwise know anyone else in the room (we had 400 to the reception) that we put together for assigned tables, but everyone else (primarily families from both sides and coworkers/employees) we let sit next to whomever they wanted.  Personally, I'm NAF of assigned tables/seating because usually we end up sitting next to people we see all the time instead of the people I rarely get to see/interact with.  I'm going to vote "Skip it!  It's one less thing to do!"...
    We tried to mix up our friend groups a little bit, and put our families by the people they don't live near, so that they had a chance to sit with someone they knew but also didn't see often. My mom wanted all of her siblings at one table, and we mixed the cousins up.
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
    5000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    True story.  I attended a wedding without table assignments.  DH and I set our things down and then walked through the buffet line.  When we returned, our seats had been taken by another couple.  WTF?  Assign seats.
    charlotte989875InLoveInQueensMairePoppy
  • lovesclimbinglovesclimbing Alaska
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    member
    I don't really care. I have never attended a wedding with seat or table assignments. Some of these have been 100+ guest weddings, and I've never seen any issues. 

    MesmrEwe
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta
    Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    member
    I also grew up in a family/social group that never assigned tables. At first, I thought assigning would come off stuffy to my family and they'd hate it. Once I went to a few events with assigned seating, I learned how much easier it is as a guest, especially when you don't know many other guests. Unassigned seating can work, but it's best when everyone knows each other and everyone is used to it. 
    ahoyweddingInLoveInQueensMesmrEwe
  • Another vote for assigned tables. Don't have to assign specific seats, just tables.
  • If it's the norm in your circle to not assign seats/tables, then don't if you don't want to. Honestly it may cause more confusion with some people "following the rules" and others missing the escort cards and assuming they can sit wherever as they always do in your circle's events.

    Even if you're having a 150 guest wedding, 10% is only 15 people who may not understand this concept. If you're truly worried that they will not be able to figure out how to find a chair, you can tell them ahead of time about social norms in your group. 

    I have to say though, that for open seating, you should have about 15% extra seating in case people leave a space between them and/or do not fill tables. It does cost more and take up more space, but it's a compromise you need to make for guest comfort. 
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