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Reception Ideas

Unassigned Seating

Our reception is indoor/outdoor at a historic manor in the downtown area of where we live. Since its a house, there is no one large room to seat everyone. We were tossing around ideas and thought of doing Unassigned seating with tables scattered indoors/outdoors. Does this seem like a realistic idea?
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Re: Unassigned Seating

  • Unassigned seating can cause problems because when people group together to find seating, each table often ends up with one or two chairs unoccupied.  If you can account for that and have extra tables and chairs, then it can work, but honestly it tends to be much more complicated, with a lot more milling around. 
  • Are you having a meal?  I don't like it when all the guests cannot sit in the same room as the bride and groom.  I would find a new venue or see if you can set up a tent outside that can seat everyone.  Are you having dancing, toasts, or cake cutting?  What are the people who are in the other rooms supposed to do for those events?

  • We had a wedding without assigned seating and a very similar set up to what OP described.  We had one large room where the dance floor was and that room was surrounded by a huge wrap-around porch and there were multiple entryways between the interior and exterior.  We had tables scattered throughout the inside and outside.  We did not do a plated meal.  We had stations both inside and outside so that everyone could mix, mingle, and eat at their leisure.  The dance floor was open the whole time.  We had about 2 times as many chairs as guests so people could sit wherever they wanted and the stations were also open the whole time.  It worked really well for the type of event that we had--which was a lot like a bigger version of the cocktail hour at a Northeast wedding.   I wouldn't do unassigned seating if you are having a reception where a large portion of the night is designated as the "this is when we eat" time. 
  • Unfortunately, weve already put a down payment on the venue so we cant switch unless we want to lose 1,000. NOLA, your venue sounds a lot like mine and how you described your reception is how I envision mine to be. Did you do buffet meal or heavy hors d'oeuvres?
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  • I have social anxiety, and unless I've already had a drink or two, I get this panic of "WHO WILL I SIT WITH?!" that used to happen in high school, so unassigned seating is not for folks like me. 

    I also agree with PPs about the other rooms situation. We decided against any venues that we couldn't seat everyone in the same room because it would get weird with "wedding moments" guests might want to be apart of. 

    I think your venue might work better with a heavy amount of passed apps/hors. Guests would feel more comfortable moving around that way.
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