African American Weddings
Options

Open Seating

How do you ladies feel about open seating?

All of the weddings I've gone to of family members have had open seating at the reception. There was always plenty of room and no one was left in an uncomfortable situation. I've been debating whether I want open seating or not. Right now I'm leaning toward having it.

What do you all feel the pros/cons are?

TIA!
Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Re: Open Seating

  • Options
    StephB1185StephB1185 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Hey!  FI and I have talked about this -- I truthfully don't see the point to assigning seating. Not that I think someone who does it is being silly, I just personally don't want to do it.  If you've planned well enough, there shouldn't be any problem with guests finding a seat - if you're worried about having enough seating, you should re-evaluate your venue/guest list.  I think it's more of a headache than necessary.  The only seating placement I plan to do is reserve one table for each of our immediate family members - a bride's and groom's family table for parents/grandparents and the like. If we don't have a head table, we would probably reserve 1/2 tables for WP and guests.  From there, the guests are able to find a table on their own with people they would like it sit with.  If they end up at a 'random' table, then I hope everyone in our 'group' would be able to get along with ANYONE. 
    The one time I went to a wedding with a seating chart and I wasn't in the WP - I ended up moving anyways to a table I wanted to be at (I felt like I had been put on an overflow table) with people I really knew.  The other wedding I attended with a seating chart, I was in the WP, so it didn't really matter!
    I guess the only way I would justify going through the work is if I KNEW I could not place certain people by other people and taking a chance on them ending up together meant harm.

    But, do what YOU want to do.  FI and I decided it was a little too formal/proper for our style I guess.  But I am curious of the benefits... maybe I'm thinking about it all wrong.
    "Diversity is the key to life, without it we would be a mindless drone of a single colored spectrum."
  • Options
    edited December 2011
    Steph, I think it's too formal/proper for us too. I want a sweetheart table and I want my WP to sit with their dates and friends. I think I will reserve tables for our parents and grandparents, but that's about it. I read on another board that if you have open seating you should have extra tables, and I'm totally ok with that.
    Lilypie Second Birthday tickers
  • Options
    winter443winter443 member
    Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I am going to do assigned tables.  I think it will be easier so guests won't have to wonder around deciding what table they're going to sit at or someone being stuck at a table with someone they don't like, or some of my younger friends ending up at a table with my great aunts and uncles.  Some of those situations could be awkward.

    I was just on another forum last night where the ladies were telling the number one things they didn't like as guests at weddings and one of them was not having assigned seating, along with gaps between ceremony and reception, and cash bar without prior notice.
    I love my baby, yep yep, he loves this chick! imageimageimageMy Planning Bio
  • Options
    edited December 2011
    I personally am an advocate for at least assigning tables, but only because I left one of my close friends weddings right after cocktail hour (no...I didn't drink her alcohol and leave, wasn't drinking then...lol) because despite the RSVPs that we sent in ON TIME, there were way too many people there (lots of uninvited guests at the ceremony followed the crowd to the reception) and there were not enough seats. It was horribly uncomfortable because people were holding seats with purses, taking seats at the reserved tables, moving chairs...literally a nightmare. Extra seating would have eliminated this, I admit, but her planner obviously didn't find that necessary.
    AAW June Siggy Challenge
    My Daddy and Me Image and video hosting by TinyPic Daisypath Anniversary tickers
  • Options
    edited December 2011
    @winter, I read that post, too. That's what made me second-guess my open seating decision initially.

    @eagles, that sounds a mess! I would be so upset if that happened at my reception. But the venue we're leaning toward has seating for 200 and we decided to invite only 100. I think that would help a lot.
    Lilypie Second Birthday tickers
  • Options
    edited December 2011
    I agree with the previous poster and I'm doing assigned tables.  My BFF's wedding was a nightmare, she had a bunch of last minute guests but had assigned tables for us that did RSVP.  We still has to accomadate the late comers by squeezing in extra chairs and letting them take the place of those that didn't show up after all, but it was more organized and not quite the headache it could have been.
    Lisa and Jared 10.3.10
    Planning Bio(clicky) Updated 10/1/10
    Wedding Countdown Ticker Our Favorite Wedding Picture
  • Options
    edited December 2011
    I am glad this topic was brought up because I am struggling with this as well. I actually DON'T want everyone to have a seat. I want a more cocktail party, mix and mingle vibe. I will reserve tables for immediate family and WP and have some extra tables along with lounge furniture. But I am worried that people won't get it and be wondering why there is not enough seating. Any idea how to make this flow ladies?

    Sorry for jacking your post Missrekaeagle!
  • Options
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_african-american-weddings_open-seating?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural Wedding BoardsForum:400Discussion:c113230f-00a5-4597-83a1-43b70956d953Post:f5cab08a-301b-4725-b82b-433dba3c20d9">Re: Open Seating</a>:
    [QUOTE]I am glad this topic was brought up because I am struggling with this as well. I actually DON'T want everyone to have a seat. I want a more cocktail party, mix and mingle vibe. I will reserve tables for immediate family and WP and have some extra tables along with lounge furniture. But I am worried that people won't get it and be wondering why there is not enough seating. Any idea how to make this flow ladies? Sorry for jacking your post Missrekaeagle!
    Posted by MrsDorris2be[/QUOTE]

    I completely understand your concern. Before I started planning, I didn't even know people did this type of reception so I would have been confused walking into one. I would just suggest careful wording on the invite to convey cocktail reception to follow. Reiterate it on your website and just in case, have enough seating for most guests, but clue your WP and immediate family in on your vision so they can help create the atmosphere you want and encourage other guests to mix and mingle.
    AAW June Siggy Challenge
    My Daddy and Me Image and video hosting by TinyPic Daisypath Anniversary tickers
  • Options
    edited December 2011
    That's ok MrsDorris2be. I'm a post-jacker too lol.
    Lilypie Second Birthday tickers
  • Options
    edited December 2011
    We are going to have assigned tables. ALL OF THE WEDDINGS that I have been to in my life time has had "Open Seating" and most of the times has been a pure mess! That is another reason that I am so glad that we are not having it in Alabama or in North Carolina. But mainly, I want to introduce our familes to something different.
    My Wedding Planning Bio (Updated January 24, 2011)
    Created by Wedding Favors
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic AAW May Siggy Challenge: Picture of Me and My mom! image 170 Made the cut Happy smiley!
    image 102 Making the Trip to Atlanta Smiley!
    image 64 Can't make the trip to Atlanta Smiley!
    image 6 Can't decide or won't let us know Smiley!
    R.S.V.P Deadline April 30th!!! SMH!
  • Options
    edited December 2011
    @Yas, I think it's great you want to introduce your fam to something different. I thought about assigned seating for that reason too, but I don't know if I'm up for the challenge.

    I think I just don't want to stress over everything, especially with the new bun. I just don't know if assigning seats or open seating is more stressful, though.

    Keep the tips coming and hopefully I can figure this thing out.
    Lilypie Second Birthday tickers
  • Options
    desi2002desi2002 member
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I have seen it too, but I think it's up to what the couple wants to do... if they want to deal with a seating chart headache.
    BabyFruit Ticker Image and video hosting by TinyPic me and my daddy
  • Options
    bbyckesbbyckes member
    First Comment Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    We are assigning tables, but not seats.  I've always been to weddings and those with assigned seating are almost always awkward.  A lot of people end up switching seats anyway.  I say go for the open seating concept.
  • Options
    edited December 2011
    We are doing assigned tables. This is one thing FI decided on DURING his brother's wedding in Germany last year. LOL!

    The room was too segregated. That's the best way I can put it. I know there was no racial intent behind it, and people just gravitated toward people they knew and hadn't seen in years. I guess I also understand that some people spoke only German, other only French, and some only English, so it was easier to hang with people who spoke their language, but it wasn't pleasant to look at. I was VERY uncomfortable.

    I know Fi and I have the same skin color and all, so segregation will not be that visible but most the same issued will arise (family hasn't seen each other, language barriers, etc) and that segregation will arise again if we don't assign tables... and we are not having that, even if i have to give dictionary to everyone. LOL!
  • Options
    adgenyaadgenya member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011

    We're assigning tables. The two weddings that we went to where at least tables weren't assigned were a mess. I mean, they were horrible. 

    I think if you have a smaller guest list and have plenty of extra seating, not assigning tables could work. 

  • Options
    edited December 2011

    We're assigning seats and tables. The dinner is plated so the waiters will need to know what guest get what meal, plus fi's family is known for bringing extra guest and  univited relatives showing up,  so to keep me sane from shanking and make my other guest miserable we definetly have to do this. Plus it helps me with planning tables because we might have some elderly, physically challenged individuals and they should not have to find a seat, one should be assigned for them.



    Get your Pregnancy Tickers

    Baby Gender Predictor


  • Options
    stdsxk13stdsxk13 member
    First Anniversary First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I knew from the beginning I wanted to have assigned seating. I have been to weddings with and without assigned seating. In my opinion, the ones with assigned seating have been a tad more organized. You are not sitting at a table with some random people you don't know. It can be a little awkward.(Plus I am a bit of a control freak) LOL. The Knot also now has a seating chart tool. It is great!!!! It is easy to use, and you can save multiple seating charts. Hope that helps in your decision.
  • Options
    edited December 2011
    I totally understand everyone's reasoning behind assigned seating, but I guess I would only be anti-open seating if I had seen a mess myself. I could imagine it happening, but from the weddings I've gone to I've never experienced a bad situation with open seating. And I don't know if I feel comfortable telling an adult where he or she needs to sit.

    Of course I would make sure elderly people had reserved seating, but the only elderly people that will be there are my grandfather and FI's grandmother. I would love for my granny to be there, but I'm not sure hospice will let her out or if she would even be strong enough to attend.

    My fam had a buffet-style dinner at a reception hall for my sister a few years ago with a little over 100 guests with open seating and it worked out perfectly. I guess open seating with my guest list wouldn't be a problem, but I could see how it wouldn't work for everyone.

    Thanks for all of the insight ladies!
    Lilypie Second Birthday tickers
  • Options
    StephB1185StephB1185 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Phew... lots to think about!  This definitely makes me a little more nervous about NOT assigning seats/tables.  I guess I don't understand how people could just come to your reception if they did not RSVP to it - so, that whole concept boggles my mind -- and annoys me a little.  Of course I wanted you there if I sent you an invite, but now I have to feed you even though you couldn't RSVP?!? And I can already hear FI talking about white and black people and how I don't assume people would do that and him looking at me saying 'black people'.  -- nothing negative at all! He says the same thing when we discuss spanking, etc. It's really just funny.
    I guess the whole segregation could play out - and that would be a little awkward.  I wouldn't want to force people into speaking, but I would rather people meet and mingle too...
    O boy... now I think I might want to sit down with FI and talk more seriously about it once we have a venue/more set guest list.
    "Diversity is the key to life, without it we would be a mindless drone of a single colored spectrum."
  • Options
    edited December 2011
    I totally understand the segregation issue because the last wedding I went to was interracial. My cousin is black and his new wife is Mexican-American. There was open seating and we all sat separately, but we did interact for certain things like dancing, garter toss, and bouquet toss. For some reason I don't mind if my guests sit separately because I know my fam and FI's fam are really talkative, outgoing people who will mingle during the cocktail hour anyway. I guess I'll have to let you all know if my open seating plan turn into a nightmare.
    Lilypie Second Birthday tickers
  • Options
    edited December 2011

    I am a little late....but...I plan on having open seating at my wedding. All the weddings I have been to has been open seating and everything worked out fine.
  • Options
    HavenplantHavenplant member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I am doing  assigned tables, but guests can choose their own seat.  i decided to go this way because we are having a plated dinner and it will make things easier.  I did however ask my FMIL to place her guests how she wanted them to sit at her tables.  I still got it wrong but I at least had a clue on what to do.  Most of the weddings I've been to for friends have been open seating.  I hated trying to find somewhere to sit and ended up too close to the kids tables a few times (I didn't have kids at the time). So I am making sure that the parents are close to their children and older guests can enjoy themselves without much worry.
  • Options
    prncszprncsz member
    Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited December 2011
    FI and I have decided on open seating but reserved seats for wedding party and immediate family. The last two wedding I went to where this way and there weren't any problems. So that's what we plan to do.
    Daisypath Anniversary tickers PersonalMilestone Photobucket
  • Options
    cincy2011cincy2011 member
    Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_african-american-weddings_open-seating?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural Wedding BoardsForum:400Discussion:c113230f-00a5-4597-83a1-43b70956d953Post:533f15b5-3f97-4a6b-a7cd-29e3ffb3da65">Re: Open Seating</a>:
    [QUOTE] I was just on another forum last night where the ladies were telling the number one things they didn't like as guests at weddings and one of them was not having assigned seating, along with gaps between ceremony and reception, and cash bar without prior notice.
    Posted by winter443[/QUOTE]

    Thanks for this info Winter, this helped me make a decision about assigned seating and the communication about the cash bar!  So is the proper place to mention a cash bar in the invitation itself or on the wedding web site?  We're asking people to RSVP on the web site, so most all of our guests should be on it at some point.
    Daisypath Wedding tickers
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards