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Reception Ideas

Open seating or seating chart?

We have around 300+ people coming to our reception, and I wasn't going to make a seating plan. The place holds 500, so it's not like it will be cramped. I just wouildnt even know where to start..and the ""oh Aunt Molly and Uncle Doug can't sit together" or whatever just seems hectic. Is it really a big deal if we have an open seating plan?
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Re: Open seating or seating chart?

  • edited May 2012
    So because the place holds 500, were you having 500 seats available?

    For a guest list of 300, I strongly suggest a seating plan.  Just because it isn't the most glamorous task doesn't mean you should pawn off finding seats to your guests, especially with so many people.

    It will also cut down on the amount of extra seating, centerpieces, linens, etc you would need to provide, saving money.

  • It holds 500 and we can have as many tables as we'd like..so we can have more tables by doing groups of 8 or less tables, doing groups of 10.

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  • Also, how do you handle off numbers of people? Say my dad's side of the family comes up to 62 people...well if we do tables of 8, would we just have one table of 6 and seven tables of 8? Or how does that work?
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  • You'll get different opinions on seating plans. I don't like them, but I'm in the minority.

    For 300 guests, you should assign tables or have 330 seats.

    How you do a seating plan, if you do one, is up to you. Some people will put people with people they know as much as possible. Take my 14 relatives from the Northwest, in 5 households. Some would put them at two tables, and fill out the tables with other relatives. Some would put each household at a different people and let them make friends. It's up to you.

    330 is 33 tables of 10 or 41 tables of 8.
  • For that many people, I really would suck it up and do a seating plan to avoid mass chaos.  I went to a wedding with about 150ish guests without a seating chart, and people spent the first 30 minutes of the reception trying to find places to sit, moving chairs from one table to another so they could sit with the people they wanted to sit with, and whining when they couldn't find tables near the people they wanted to sit near.  You don't have to get crazy and assign people to specific seats, but at least give people table numbers to work with.
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  • Seatings plans are nice and calm for guests.  "Oh, I'm here.  Let me drop my stuff and get a drink!"  vs. "No, Mike!  We're overe here!  I saved seats.  OH, sorry, Bob - there's no room for you.  I don't know where you're going to sit.  That sucks."
  • For that many people, than please yes a seating chart.  Sure its a pain, but if you don't have it, you have multiple groups saving multiple tables.  A frickin' nightmare!  At the very least you could even assign groups of tables to groups of friends and family. 
    An ex would be:
    # tables are marked "Smith Cousins"
    # tables are marked "Jane's Work Buddies"
    # tables are marked "John's Softball Team"
    etc

    Quick and dirty, not my preference for sure but another easier solution.
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    Another vote for assigned tables!  Way too chaotic to have that many people and not have one.
  • I've never been to a wedding with a seating chart and nearly all the weddings I've been to have been 200+ guests, with many in the 300 range (my own included).  It's never been hectic or chaotic or confusing for guests.

    That said, know your crowd.  Will they expect to have assigned tables?  If so, you probably should suck it up and do it.
  • Be kind to your guests, assign tables.  It's perfectly fine to have uneven sides and tables.  We had tables of 8, 9 and 10.
     
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  • I was wondering about this too. We have 150 guests and didn't really want to make a chart. We were thinking of just reserving tables for all of the family, and beyond that just letting everyone sit where they'd like. However, 95% of our guests already know each other, so choosing a seat will be less stress-inducing.
  • Seat Chart for a more fomal event an informal event. For me definatley a seating chart.
  • If it's questionable if there will be many extra chairs, assign tables.

    It is not about formality or size, but about how close to max capacity you are. 150 butts and 150 seats is not a puzzle that will work itself out easily. But 150 butts and 300 chairs people will be just fine seating themselves randomly.
  • monkeysipmonkeysip member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited June 2012
    Another vote for assigned seats.  I just personally find it easier when someone tells me where to sit at these things (as long as I'm sitting with people I know, obviously).  Otherwise, I feel like I'm in the school cafeteria back at high school.

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  • I'd do a seating plan, especially since you are having such a large number of people. It will become hectic trying to locate a seat & find you're friends & family in such a large room. 

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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_open-seating-or-seating-chart?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:5Discussion:4ec9607b-8fa0-4183-a65c-091df57f1cbdPost:14d37da7-3932-49e5-ad9c-f43ee5765a9c">Re: Open seating or seating chart?</a>:
    [QUOTE]I've never been to a wedding with a seating chart and nearly all the weddings I've been to have been 200+ guests, with many in the 300 range (my own included).  It's never been hectic or chaotic or confusing for guests. That said, know your crowd.  Will they expect to have assigned tables?  If so, you probably should suck it up and do it.
    Posted by DramaGeek[/QUOTE]

    I agree.  Thus, we're not having a seating arrangement.  181 guests have RSVP'd, so we'll see how it turns out.
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  • edited June 2012
    It depends on who you ask.  I prefer some assigned tables (but not necessarily seats) for parents and the bridal party close to the bride and groom and then a free for all for the rest of the tables.  That way nobody is mad at me for seating them with weird Cousin Itt who sheds and talks about creepy stuff.

    That said, a friend of mine made a good point when he went to a wedding.  He likes not having to think about where he's sitting and he finds it less stressful to sit where the bride puts him.  I guess he's never been put at the sh*tty random people table like I have!

    If I get a vote I say save yourself the worry and the stress of trying to hook up single people and prevent fights by putting people across the room from each other.  Do some reserved tables for family and close friends near your table and then leave the rest open.  They will figure it out and besides, after dinner and after some people leave the reception, everyone regroups and sits at different tables anyways.
  • aragx6aragx6 member
    2500 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    I really dislike open seating. it's like the first day of high school wondering around looking for anyone you know in the cafeteria.

    You'll also have to spend a bunch of extra money on centerpieces for the 3-5 extra tables you'll need.
    Lizzie
  • I vote open seating. I have never in my life been to a wedding with a chart and would not even know how to go about figuring it out. We're having 200 plus guests and no chart. I'm not even worried about it being chaotic or even having extra chairs. We're not doing RSVP's so there's no way of knowing how many will attend. Its just not something I'm worried about at all. Everyone knows who they don't get along with and they're all adults. Like PP mentioned once everyone has eaten most people get up and move around anyway or leave! Heck I attended a wedding in April that had 200 plus guests and about 3 round tables with 5 or 6 chairs each...talk about being put out. Who wants to walk around trying to carry their plate and cup and eat and socialize all at the same time? For a 15,000 wedding I thought it was extremely tacky..but it wasn't mine so..just have tables for them to sit and I promise everyone will be just fine!
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