Etiquette

Long tables with assigned seating - do we need numbers and escort cards?

We are having a wedding of about 90 people. We have 4 longtables with 20 people plus the head table. I have been to weddings with longer tables where they just have a place card, but no table numbers or assigned seats so people just walked around and found their card (it was not an issue at all). I would like to do this at my wedding, but everyone keeps telling me to have table numbers and escort cards (or a seating chart sign) for the caterers/ to avoid confusion. I just honestly have never seen this be an issue so I am wondering what everyone else thinks! My opinion is that it would look silly to break up the tables into smaller sections with table numbers and having one table number for the long table doesn't really help (since people would have to walk around and find their spot anyways - I definitely want place cards with assigned seats since I don't want people to get split up since they are rectangular tables).

Help!

Re: Long tables with assigned seating - do we need numbers and escort cards?

  • Have you seen this happen though? Because I have found people just tend to mingle in and do it during cocktail hour and the groups of people sitting together just tell each other and everyone is happy! I just can't picture it being confusing so maybe hearing other people's examples would help me out! And I disagree, the whole point of our table design is to have a long continous garland with different height candles to make it look more cohesive, so having a few table numbers (especially since they are only 10 people long) just seems like it would really break it up!
  • Label each table with a number and have a seating chart at the entrance, just letting guests know what table they're at.  Long tables are great I've been to receptions with them, I love the look!  But 90 people milling around isn't a good idea.  
    charlotte989875PrettyGirlLostInLoveInQueensHeffalump
  • You need to give people assigned table numbers. Having people wandering around looking for there name on a small place card would be a nightmare. Is there a reason you need to assign specific seats? Assigning people to tables makes sure people who would want to sit together can/aren't left scrambling to pull up a chair. I don't see a reason you need to assign specific seats, and I've actually never been to a wedding where someone did this. Make the table numbers match your decor it won't "break up" the look.
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
    5000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    You need to give people assigned table numbers. Having people wandering around looking for there name on a small place card would be a nightmare. Is there a reason you need to assign specific seats? Assigning people to tables makes sure people who would want to sit together can/aren't left scrambling to pull up a chair. I don't see a reason you need to assign specific seats, and I've actually never been to a wedding where someone did this. Make the table numbers match your decor it won't "break up" the look.
    I actually attended a wedding once with this set up.  My husband and I started out at opposite ends and sides of a long table, with the plan to discreetly "shout" once we found our seats.  It wasn't the worst thing I have had to do, but it certainly could have been made to be easier.

    OP, there is no reason you cannot place a number in the center of every six or eight chairs.  Please consider your guests first.  As far as assigned seats are considered, if guests find a need to do some simple rearranging, it is easy to do.  It sounds odd, but there are couples that insist on sitting side by side versus across, while other couples much prefer being seated across from each other. 
    MairePoppy
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado
    Moderator Tenth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    mod
    I don't understand why you want people to walked looking at 80 some seats to find out which is their's?    Seems almost mean.   If you had less than 50 I think it could work.   

    At the very least you should have a seating chart with  tables1-4 (one for each long table) so people only have to look at 20 seats to find their own. Every table is would be even better.









    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. 
    MairePoppyInLoveInQueens
  • You need to give people assigned table numbers. Having people wandering around looking for there name on a small place card would be a nightmare. Is there a reason you need to assign specific seats? Assigning people to tables makes sure people who would want to sit together can/aren't left scrambling to pull up a chair. I don't see a reason you need to assign specific seats, and I've actually never been to a wedding where someone did this. Make the table numbers match your decor it won't "break up" the look.
    That's so funny! I would say 60% of the weddings I've been to have assigned seats! I wonder if it's just a weird thing my family does haha. I think for long tables I would feel better assigning seats just for the couple of people who don't know anyone else - I  want them to sit by people I think have similar interests etc. but if they don't end up sitting next to them then they could be left out since most of the people we invited are coming with a big group of their family or friends. I don't think it's absolutely necessary but just nice in this situation - and if people want to switch it doesn't bother me!
  • MobKaz said:
    You need to give people assigned table numbers. Having people wandering around looking for there name on a small place card would be a nightmare. Is there a reason you need to assign specific seats? Assigning people to tables makes sure people who would want to sit together can/aren't left scrambling to pull up a chair. I don't see a reason you need to assign specific seats, and I've actually never been to a wedding where someone did this. Make the table numbers match your decor it won't "break up" the look.
    I actually attended a wedding once with this set up.  My husband and I started out at opposite ends and sides of a long table, with the plan to discreetly "shout" once we found our seats.  It wasn't the worst thing I have had to do, but it certainly could have been made to be easier.

    OP, there is no reason you cannot place a number in the center of every six or eight chairs.  Please consider your guests first.  As far as assigned seats are considered, if guests find a need to do some simple rearranging, it is easy to do.  It sounds odd, but there are couples that insist on sitting side by side versus across, while other couples much prefer being seated across from each other. 
    Thank-you! I really appreciate your opinion. The weddings I had been to like I said I didn't think people were confused or it was a big mess or disaster as most people seem to think it will be, but I never considered that other people may have found it annoying - it never bothered me or anyone I was with but maybe we are just always in good moods at weddings! 
  • I like the idea @STARMOON44 mentioned of numbering the place settings. You could easily make a seating chart or escort cards with each persons name and number. Much easier than hunting for your seat. However I understand the want of people to sit next to (or not) their partner. Honestly, in that case I would just ask if I could just switch. Nothing the bride or groom has to worry about.
  • dodd5160 said:
    You need to give people assigned table numbers. Having people wandering around looking for there name on a small place card would be a nightmare. Is there a reason you need to assign specific seats? Assigning people to tables makes sure people who would want to sit together can/aren't left scrambling to pull up a chair. I don't see a reason you need to assign specific seats, and I've actually never been to a wedding where someone did this. Make the table numbers match your decor it won't "break up" the look.
    That's so funny! I would say 60% of the weddings I've been to have assigned seats! I wonder if it's just a weird thing my family does haha. I think for long tables I would feel better assigning seats just for the couple of people who don't know anyone else - I  want them to sit by people I think have similar interests etc. but if they don't end up sitting next to them then they could be left out since most of the people we invited are coming with a big group of their family or friends. I don't think it's absolutely necessary but just nice in this situation - and if people want to switch it doesn't bother me!

    Either assign everyone a seat or no one a seat. With long tables, you may be better to assign seats so that people won't leave seats between them. I went to one wedding that this was the case. Once people sit down, they don't want to move. Small tables are easy to just do table assignments and not seating assignments.
    PrettyGirlLostMandyMostSTARMOON44
  • I've been to one wedding like this. The couple had two super, super long banquet tables (150-200 person wedding). They "divided" each banquet table with table numbers...so one super long table had about 10 "sections/table #s". And then they just assigned tables, not seats. However, they didn't really indicate where "table 1" ended and "table 2" began. So a couple of guests assigned to table 1 thought they were sitting on the edge of table 1, but they were actually at table 2. This pushed the table 2 people into table 3 and so on. As things filled up, some people were crowded out of seats and an entire row of like 30 people had to get up and move "one to the left" so that someone assigned to table 5 (who had been crowded out) could sit down. In addition to that, the way people filled up seats, some couples were separated at their tables with one person on one side of the table and the other person on the other side and 4 seats down. It was a big fat mess. 

    If you do long banquet tables, I would highly recommend indicating where one "table" ends and the next begins AND assigning places so couples don't get separated. 
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  • ernursej said:
    dodd5160 said:
    You need to give people assigned table numbers. Having people wandering around looking for there name on a small place card would be a nightmare. Is there a reason you need to assign specific seats? Assigning people to tables makes sure people who would want to sit together can/aren't left scrambling to pull up a chair. I don't see a reason you need to assign specific seats, and I've actually never been to a wedding where someone did this. Make the table numbers match your decor it won't "break up" the look.
    That's so funny! I would say 60% of the weddings I've been to have assigned seats! I wonder if it's just a weird thing my family does haha. I think for long tables I would feel better assigning seats just for the couple of people who don't know anyone else - I  want them to sit by people I think have similar interests etc. but if they don't end up sitting next to them then they could be left out since most of the people we invited are coming with a big group of their family or friends. I don't think it's absolutely necessary but just nice in this situation - and if people want to switch it doesn't bother me!

    Either assign everyone a seat or no one a seat. With long tables, you may be better to assign seats so that people won't leave seats between them. I went to one wedding that this was the case. Once people sit down, they don't want to move. Small tables are easy to just do table assignments and not seating assignments.
    Oh I think you misunderstood me - I would assign seats for everyone. I only meant the reason I wanted to assign seats was because we had a few people who didn't know anyone else. and like you mentioned to it can be awkward if there are a few seats left unoccupied and people have to split up!
    ernursejSTARMOON44
  • I've been to one wedding like this. The couple had two super, super long banquet tables (150-200 person wedding). They "divided" each banquet table with table numbers...so one super long table had about 10 "sections/table #s". And then they just assigned tables, not seats. However, they didn't really indicate where "table 1" ended and "table 2" began. So a couple of guests assigned to table 1 thought they were sitting on the edge of table 1, but they were actually at table 2. This pushed the table 2 people into table 3 and so on. As things filled up, some people were crowded out of seats and an entire row of like 30 people had to get up and move "one to the left" so that someone assigned to table 5 (who had been crowded out) could sit down. In addition to that, the way people filled up seats, some couples were separated at their tables with one person on one side of the table and the other person on the other side and 4 seats down. It was a big fat mess. 

    If you do long banquet tables, I would highly recommend indicating where one "table" ends and the next begins AND assigning places so couples don't get separated. 
    Thanks so much! I really appreciate the feedback. That does sound pretty bad! I think for sure we would do assigned seats and now I guess I am more open to the idea of table numbers with a seating chart than I was before just since some people may find it inconvenient to walk around.
  • How is your meal going to go? If the catering staff is going to bring meals to each person, you're going to want some kind of numbering system, if only for them. It would also be helpful if you're having a buffet and calling tables up by their numbers.

    I do understand assigning seats in this situation; sometimes with long tables it's a little harder to know where to sit if you're the first ones there, etc. That way you could make sure couples or families don't get separated. I also agree with PPs that you might want some sort of seating chart with the number of the table everyone is at so that it would be easier for them to find their seat.
  • dodd5160 said:
    I've been to one wedding like this. The couple had two super, super long banquet tables (150-200 person wedding). They "divided" each banquet table with table numbers...so one super long table had about 10 "sections/table #s". And then they just assigned tables, not seats. However, they didn't really indicate where "table 1" ended and "table 2" began. So a couple of guests assigned to table 1 thought they were sitting on the edge of table 1, but they were actually at table 2. This pushed the table 2 people into table 3 and so on. As things filled up, some people were crowded out of seats and an entire row of like 30 people had to get up and move "one to the left" so that someone assigned to table 5 (who had been crowded out) could sit down. In addition to that, the way people filled up seats, some couples were separated at their tables with one person on one side of the table and the other person on the other side and 4 seats down. It was a big fat mess. 

    If you do long banquet tables, I would highly recommend indicating where one "table" ends and the next begins AND assigning places so couples don't get separated. 
    Thanks so much! I really appreciate the feedback. That does sound pretty bad! I think for sure we would do assigned seats and now I guess I am more open to the idea of table numbers with a seating chart than I was before just since some people may find it inconvenient to walk around.
    Even if the couple had done alternating colors of table cloths to show where one "table" ended and the other began, it would have at least prevented people from unknowingly sitting at the wrong table and crowding people out. So that's an idea if you're still considering just table assignments.
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  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    member
    I just went to a wedding earlier this summer that used farm tables.

    All you need to do is assign numbers to the tables, then have a seating chart as guests come in that tells them which table they are sitting at.  You do not need to assign individual seats; people will figure it out and no couples will be separated.

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


    InLoveInQueens
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    I think you need to at least assign tables and come up with either a seating chart, escort cards, or both to let your guests know which table to sit at so they don't have to walk around trying to find seats that are not "reserved." When tables are not assigned and people have to walk around looking for seats, it can be a hot mess.
  • kerbohlkerbohl
    500 Love Its Fifth Anniversary 1000 Comments First Answer
    member
    I did long tables at my wedding.  We didn't number, but instead had a theme name for each section of table, and the center piece decor revolved around the table name (as well as the reason that the theme was important to us as a couple).  Then we had a seating arrangement made up so that everyone could see which table they were at.  No assigned seats, just assigned tables.  As far as I know, people found it pretty easy and we had no issues.  
    imageimage
    MairePoppyshort+sassyPrettyGirlLostdrid
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    I went to a wedding once a lot like @kerbohl 's.  The tables were named after places the couple had traveled to.  There were 3 or so long tables and they were kind of broken up into sections.  Super easy.



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