Wedding Etiquette Forum

Overflow Tables

Related to my previous question...is it completely tacky to have tables set up outside of our golf club venue if too many people rsvp?  If you think it is, do you have any advice for dealing with an over-capacity dinner?  Much appreciated.

Re: Overflow Tables

  • Yes, it is completely rude to have overflow tables outside of the venue. I can't imagine anyone wanting to sit outside of the wedding.
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  • AdeleDazeemAdeleDazeem member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper First Comment
    edited February 2012
    The phrase "overflow table" reminds me lunch time in elementary school.  Each grade got one table.  If there were too many kids in that grade for the table, the extras went to the "overflow table."

    Did you invite more than your venue could hold?  That was problem number one.
  • FI and I went to his aunt's for Easter a few years ago and I guess she didn't have enough seating inside and sat us outside by ourselvse!! I am not even kidding. No one stuck up for us and we were so upset. We still haven't gotten over it completely and I don't know if we ever will. If you don't want to seriously aggrivate your friends and family, I suggest you do not sit them outside.
  • As a guest, I would be offended if I ended up at the "overflow" tables outside... it'd be clear to me I was an afterthought and you didn't really care if I was there or not, since you didn't even bother to seat me indoors.

    That said, I guess there's nothing you can do about it now, since it sounds like you've already invited more people than your venue can hold.  Would the venue be willing to put some tables on the dance floor?  You'll have less room for dancing, but you won't have to brand any of your family and friends as second-class guests.
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  • You don't invite more than your venue can hold.  Presto changeo, no problemo.



  • I agree that it's offensive to the people that would get stuck out there.  We invited 285 and our venue holds 200.  I knew this was coming, but issues with my FMIL and me not having the guts to stand up to her led to more people than we wanted being invited.  Of course she said, "they probably won't come anyway."  And we already plan on putting tables on the dance floor.  At this point I'm just hoping that 85 people rsvp with a "no."
  • Whoa, that's a huge discrepancy.  I'd start looking for a back-up venue.  You should never invite more than the location can hold - people do actually get 100% attendance sometimes!



  • I went to a wedding once that had tables outside the venue on a covered porch area. And it was open seating, so there was a mad rush to get to a table indoors, especially since it was cold enough to see your breath. 

    We just left. Got takeout on the way home and skipped the entire reception. It was not worth sitting in the cold, not having a clue what was going on inside with the toasts and dances and stuff. 

    It was definitely something that has stayed with me as a huge DONT when it comes to planning.

  • That's almost a third of your guest list that you're desperately hoping will decline.  Honestly, it's unlikely that you'll have that high of a decline rate unless it's a Friday afternoon or something like that.  Get started on Plan B ASAP.



  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_overflow-tables?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:7054e0dc-f0d1-4f78-85b8-4d8da968a832Post:c1444e9c-d5a1-4b7d-8eec-1890bfbd3898">Re: Overflow Tables</a>:
    [QUOTE]I agree that it's offensive to the people that would get stuck out there.  We invited 285 and our venue holds 200.  I knew this was coming, but issues with my FMIL and me not having the guts to stand up to her led to more people than we wanted being invited.  Of course she said, "they probably won't come anyway."  And we already plan on putting tables on the dance floor.  At this point I'm just hoping that 85 people rsvp with a "no."
    Posted by nicole1672[/QUOTE]

    <div>Dude.  You need to look for a new venue like yesterday.  This is so far outside of the realm of acceptable it's scary.  Not to mention that you're probably going to end up violating the fire code.  Seriously, this isn't just rude and offensive, it's downright unsafe.</div><div>
    </div><div>I would pay money to watch the conversation you have with the coordinator at the venue when you tell them "Whoops!  We have 85 extra people!  Hope you have some place to put them!"</div>
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  • Your wedding isn't until June, so invites haven't gone out yet.  Before you send out any invites you have two options:

    1.  Find a new venue, or
    2.  You and FI need to grow backbones and give FMIL a maximum number she can invite. 

    DO NOT invite more than your venue can hold.

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_overflow-tables?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:7054e0dc-f0d1-4f78-85b8-4d8da968a832Post:1b96b664-0327-4ddf-80f8-5e41ec65cc10">Re: Overflow Tables</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Overflow Tables : Dude.  You need to look for a new venue like yesterday.  This is so far outside of the realm of acceptable it's scary.  Not to mention that you're probably going to end up violating the fire code.  Seriously, this isn't just rude and offensive, it's downright unsafe. <strong>I would pay money to watch the conversation you have with the coordinator at the venue when you tell them "Whoops!  We have 85 extra people!  Hope you have some place to put them!"</strong>
    Posted by StephBeanWed61502[/QUOTE]
    They will straight up shut down your event.  You will lose 100% of all fees you're contracted for and have no reception at all.  How embarassing.
  • Well I guess what's done is done but you should have NOT invited more than your venue could hold. Can you change venues? Honestly I would much rather lose out on a deposit than have to have overflow tables.

    I went to a reception where the main ballroom in the country club wasn't big enough so they had 1/4 of the guests in a room across the hall. I was seated in the main room probably b/c I was family, but I would have been pissed if I was across the hall. They had a TV monitor set up so they could watch the dances, toasts, and all the activities that were going on in the other room. That would annoy me. Find a venue that is big enough for ALL your guests, so no one feels second-rate.


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  • You tell your FI to ball up and tell his mother how many people she can invite, or you find another venue.  Period, end of sentence.  Preferably option 1.  If you let her run over you like this now, it will only get worse here on out for the rest of your life.  Imagine her deciding how many people are in the delivery room with you when you have your first child. 

    Oh, and  seated in overflow = end of our friendship. 
  • Since invitations probably haven't gone you, you need to seriously trim down your guest list to what your venue can hold.  Otherwise, you need to find a new venue.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_overflow-tables?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:7054e0dc-f0d1-4f78-85b8-4d8da968a832Post:29d01cfa-ec22-4d2d-b06d-6d827942d8ef">Re: Overflow Tables</a>:
    [QUOTE]A venue with a capacity of 200 won't even have tables, chairs and place settings for 285. If invites haven't gone out, go through the list with a machete and cut it down by 1/3. Then, tell FMIL to suck an egg. If they have, find a new venue and send out updated info pronto.<strong> I would also Hit up FMIL for extra expenses resulting from her over inviting.</strong>
    Posted by KindaSparkly[/QUOTE]

    All of the above, especially the bold.  This is a mess she's created by being stubborn and manipulative; she can pay your way out of it.  Well, she and FI really, for not smacking this down.

    I cannot even begin to say how grateful I am for our parents when I see situations like this.  My dad's "must" list was six people aside from him, stepmom and siblings; FMIL has made zero requests because we're paying 100% and she knows cash is tight.  85?  *facepalm* I'd elope.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_overflow-tables?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:7054e0dc-f0d1-4f78-85b8-4d8da968a832Post:e1b0ee12-2681-42f4-a0bc-c13f48e9bc51">Re: Overflow Tables</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Overflow Tables : All of the above, especially the bold.  This is a mess she's created by being stubborn and manipulative; she can pay your way out of it.  Well, she and FI really, for not smacking this down. I cannot even begin to say how grateful I am for our parents when I see situations like this. <strong> My dad's "must" list was six people </strong>aside from him, stepmom and siblings; FMIL has made zero requests because we're paying 100% and she knows cash is tight.  85?  *facepalm* I'd elope.
    Posted by likeadeadstar[/QUOTE]

    <div>My must list is six people, and that's just including the SOs of the 3 people I (besides FI) I wouldn't dream of getting married without them being there.  I cannot fathom overinviting that many people.   </div>
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  • What if invites have NOT gone out yet, but STD's have?  Can I still trim the list?
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