Wedding Cakes & Food Forum

Seating Chart or not

we are having a buffet dinner and we don't know if we should have a seating arrangement or not?

Re: Seating Chart or not

  • edited December 2011
    The consensus on here is that you should assign guests to tables, but not seats. It saves people from reliving high school days and makes sure families and couples find seats together.

    I'm against the consensus. Part of the fun of weddings for me is meeting new people. Another part is talking to everyone there I know, which is usually more than the 7-9 other people at my table. If I'm assigned a table, I feel I'm stuck there. Where there's no assignments, people move around more. Families/couples who arrive relatively late to receptions when there's no seats together usually squeeze more places into a less-full table. That's fine by me.
  • soozy87soozy87 member
    Third Anniversary 10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    We had a buffet and assigned seating. It worked well, everyone had someone to sit with and maybe got to catch up with family/friends they hadn't seen in a while.
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  • edited December 2011
    We had assigned tables with our buffet.  I prefer assigned tables and I've never been to a wedding without it.  I was recently at a rehearsal dinner that was buffet, and nearly all the wedding guests were there, and it was annoying to have open seating because it was awkward for my cousins and I to all find a table together (and they were the people that I was seated with at the wedding, which was assigned tables). 

    Making the seating chart isn't that hard, and guests are always free to get up to dance and socialize--particularly if they're already getting up to get food from the buffet--so I wouldn't worry about it too much.  I think it really comes down to what's usually done in your social group and family.  If the norm is to assign tables and you don't, guests might be scrambling to find seats, but if the norm is open seating and you assign tables, guests might feel constricted. 
  • edited December 2011
    I prefer assigned tables. 
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  • edited December 2011
    I definitely prefer assigned tables. It makes it so much easier, mostly so you don't break up a family. If a family of 5 arrives, with 2 adults and 3 kids and you only have 2 seats at 1 table and 3 at another available that family now cannot sit together. The only way to alleviate that is set up a bunch of extra tables so you can have enough seating so groups don't get set up.

    Just assign tables and this will not happen.
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  • PeavyPeavy member
    1000 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    Be a good hostess and assign tables.
  • FaithCaitlinFaithCaitlin member
    5000 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    I'm not assigning tables or seats. 

    If you feel you must do anything, assign tables!

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  • wiser516wiser516 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I prefer assigned tables then just leaving it open.  That way all your guests have a place to sit and they don't have to split up because people are saving seats for others.  It can be a nightmare if its open seating.  Then a good thing with the assigned tables is that you can have family together and you can keep those that dont' get along apart. 
  • SuMmErKuTiESuMmErKuTiE member
    2500 Comments Fourth Anniversary 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    We had stations (similar to a buffet) and we had assigned tables (not seats). It cuts back on a lot of confusion, plus you don't have to prepare for extra tables and seating since when people sit where they want there may be random open chairs. This will save money on extra centerpieces, table linens, etc.. Another factor to consider is if there is any family or friend drama going on where you need to make sure certain people aren't seated together. I had a few requests leading up to the wedding to make sure so and so wasn't seated anywhere near so and so. Oy!
  • edited December 2011
    It all depends on what is easiest for your situation.
    For example, when my FI's brother got married, they had a seating arrangement and it worked perfectly.
    For my upcoming wedding it didn't work so perfectly. So, we ditched the horrible seating chart and we're just telling everyone that family will sit downstairs and friends are in the upstairs loft.
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  • BudnotesBudnotes member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011

    I would recommend it.  I went to a wedding that did not have a seating chart or any kind of seating arrangements and our family ended up having to be split up and sit at different tables because we couldn't find one together.  I think it's easier for the guests to have some kind of order.  If its a buffet - people will get up and mingle anyway. 

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  • dianek782dianek782 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I was just at a wedding which was buffet and no assigned seats.  We didn't know it was open seating and waited till the line at the buffet cleared and by the time we got to the tables, there was no clear area for all of us to sit and with people we knew.  It made it a little awkward for us, but it wasn't the end of the world.
  • edited December 2011
    If it's a buffet, I suggest assigned tables, but not seats. It gives people the opportunity for comfort, but nothing too strict.
  • tink1378tink1378 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    We're doing assigned tables. It's more organized and we want to make sure that our family and wedding party families are closer to the WP table's. I find it that it's easier for guests to know where they're going as opposed as to looking around trying to figure out where they should seat.  
  • wefel011wefel011 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I am also going to do assigned tables because I think that it is almost a free for all if you do not assign anyone to tables. Some people get lost and do not know where to go. If you have assigned tables families have the comfort of sitting together and it is less stress since you don't have to worry about anyone finding a seat.
  • aldekreyaldekrey member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I'm thinking of having family assigned to reserved tables in a certain area and leaving the rest open.
  • edited December 2011
    I planned on just reserving some tables for family and leaving the rest open. Should I assign tables? I definitely don't want a strict seating chart. I've been to several weddings in the past year and only 2 of the 6 had assigned tables. I really just decided not to assign tables because I figured it'd be easier. I don't really have a specific feeling one way or the other I guess. What do you think? We're expecting 175-200 guests. We won't have many extra tables at all. As the max number is 220 & that would put a couple tables on the dance floor probably.
  • BalaenaBalaena member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011

    Wow, I was wondering the same thing - seating arrangement vs a free for all. I am really liking the assigned table idea, so people can sit next to who they want, but that way couples and families wont get split up and people who really don't get along don't have to be near one another. I'll have to pass this idea along to the fiance.

  • kmmssgkmmssg mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_food-cakes_seating-chart-not?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:23Discussion:bf85f7ec-c152-4f1c-9a6b-4c1879fd4d50Post:38db1c41-49ed-4db0-b4e5-b4b5546e722a">Re: Seating Chart or not</a>:
    [QUOTE]I planned on just reserving some tables for family and leaving the rest open. Should I assign tables? I definitely don't want a strict seating chart. I've been to several weddings in the past year and only 2 of the 6 had assigned tables. I really just decided not to assign tables because I figured it'd be easier. I don't really have a specific feeling one way or the other I guess. What do you think? We're expecting 175-200 guests. We won't have many extra tables at all. As the max number is 220 & that would put a couple tables on the dance floor probably.
    Posted by britnik317[/QUOTE]

    A wedding that large with no assigned tables and very little extra seating is a recipe for disaster.  Seating charts really are no big deal - I have 3 married daughters and I can whip them out pretty quickly.  I ask the MOG/FOG to give me a list of who sits with who from their side, the kids figure out their friends, and we do our side of the family.  I also don't freak out if there are a couple of tables with only 6 people at them.  I refuse to sit someone with strangers just to complete the table.
  • edited December 2011
    Assign tables not seats. I've heard stories about tables cramming in 10-11 people while others only had 2-3. I've heard someone didn't think to save a the grandmother a seat and she got stuck at a table with a table of people she didn't know.

    People that are really outgoing might be fine with that situation of the awkward highschool lunchroom where-do-I-sit feeling, but most people would rather be relieved of that pressure and be assigned a table.

    Be a good hostess and assign the tables for your guests.
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  • Monia2710Monia2710 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Im having 500 people and no assigned seats. None of the weddings Ive been to have had assigned seating, and there has never been any confusion. You don't need to have it. For some people it works, for others it doesnt.
  • edited December 2011
    At one of my friend's weddings they had table numbers but no table assignments or assigned seats. I thought that was really odd...

    We are planning table assignments, but I can't imagine doing assigned seats. I agree that the biggest reason to have assigned tables is to avoid the "i don't know where to sit" and the "our table has 12 people and that one has 3" thing. Assigned tables keeps family together and allows you to decide if they get to meet some new people...I like the idea of sitting some of your family with some of his, especially if you're not doing any pre-wedding get togethers.
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  • neongreenboxneongreenbox member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I would say think about the majority of your guests and what they might like. It seems like assigned tables are more popular in certain areas of the country than others - so some people are accustomed to sitting wherever they like while others expect and enjoy the comfort of an assigned space. If you have mainly family that all know eachother than open seating should be no problem but if you have a large amount of people that don't know eachother it might be easier to assign tables. Good luck! We are having the same dilemma.
  • edited December 2011
    We did cocktails and heavy hor devours - so essentially buffet. We didn't feel comfortable assigning tables since our reception was in a "wing" with 4 different rooms, and we didn't want to assign anyone a seat away from the action in the ballroom. We just had the hall put a few "reserved for wedding party" signs on a few of the tables near the front of the dance floor so that we'd be guarenteed a seat near the action when we needed a breather. Everyone had a great time and several people commented on how much the loved not having a seating chart because it made everyone mingle more. It also saved us a HUGE headache.

    We did go to a wedding a few months later that did the same thing. Nobody seemed to mind and everyone mingled and had a great time.

    I'm not entirely sure what assigning someone a table but not a seat means. I've never been to a wedding with a seating chart that assigned me a particular seat - the reception card table normally always just has what table you're supposed to sit at on it and you place the card wherever on the table, so I'm not sure how this is any different than a normal seating chart. No offense to anyone, maybe I just haven't been to enough wedding.
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