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Etiquette

Seating/ Space question for reception

I'm having an issue with my reception location and accomodating our guest list and band.  When we toured the venue it was empty (we are renting/bringing in everything) so it was really hard to visualize.  We were told it would accomodate 150 people comfortably for a seated dinner with a DJ, and also were told a band over 5 pieces would cut into room a bit.  No problem we thought.

Our total guest list is 139, and we have a band (6 piece I think), and are having a seated dinner.  We've been working on the assumption of having 130 people show up, which leaves us with 13 tables of 10 each. 

The further along I get into planning, the more and more real weddings I've stalked through photographer's blogs and such.  The room has a balcony overlooking the room, so every photographer gets an aerial shot of the room.  Most of these weddings appear to average about 100 people.  None of these weddings look to have over 120 people (I count tables and chairs).  After seeing these and thinking about the dimensions more (38x51) I think 150 was an unreasonable estimate of # of guests that could fit.

So, just now, we've been told by our caterer that yes, 130 is tight for that space and the remedy is to break down a couple tables when dinner is over for dancing.  They supposedly do it all the time.  I find the thought of booting guests out of chairs (even if there will be empty ones when people are dancing) to be rude.  I also think it is tacky to have staff in the front of the room clearing out tables and chairs and dragging them through the room. 

Has anyone seen this done before?  Maybe I just never noticed.  I don't know what to do at this point b/c our guest list is shaved down to bare bones. 

Sorry so long.  Any opinions would be appreciated.

Re: Seating/ Space question for reception

  • Wow, i'm sorry that your venue space mislead you.  I think it wouldn't be very classy to have the staff breaking down tables and carrying furniture out of the room.  If you are having assigned seating and the table gets taken away they aren't going to go sit in someone else's assigned seat.  Is it possible to find a new venue especially because they mislead you into thinking that the room was big enough.  If you can't a new venue then what about getting slightly smaller tables.  Your guests might be a little smushed but i'd rather be a little smushed then have no place to sit.
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  • Well this all came about because I called the caterer to ask if the linen rental quote that was included in our proposal took 60" rounds into account or 72" rounds. Turns out it is 60", which is already really tight for 10 (I think it would be fine for our friends, but not older family members or anyone who is on the bigger side).  She said 72" rounds would be too big.

    I also found a wedding planner's blog featuring our venue and emailed the planner to ask her for her free advice.  She too said 130 people is tight and would  recommend breaking down tables.

    We got engaged in September and booked the venue at the end of September for our October 2012 wedding.

    The venue deposit was maybe only $1500, band we haven't given a deposit yet (it is my friend so he's doing us a favor), we've picked a florist (only $200 deposit), and a photographer (supposed to mail the $800 deposit next week).  The catering deposit is refundable up until 90 days before the event.

    So although we've been engaged for almost 5 months and I'm just realizing this, I've done a lot to identify the vendors we want to use, even though we haven't sunk much in financially.  Also, we are in Boston, really wanted a Saturday wedding, and had to find a venue we could afford that was free on the same day as a family church.  So getting a new venue completely puts us back to square one.

  • In Response to Seating/ Space question for reception:
    [QUOTE]I'm having an issue with my reception location and accomodating our guest list and band.  When we toured the venue it was empty (we are renting/bringing in everything) so it was really hard to visualize.  We were told it would accomodate 150 people comfortably for a seated dinner with a DJ, and also were told a band over 5 pieces would cut into room a bit.  No problem we thought. Our total guest list is 139, and we have a band (6 piece I think), and are having a seated dinner.  We've been working on the assumption of having 130 people show up, which leaves us with 13 tables of 10 each.  The further along I get into planning, the more and more real weddings I've stalked through photographer's blogs and such.  The room has a balcony overlooking the room, so every photographer gets an aerial shot of the room.  Most of these weddings appear to average about 100 people.  None of these weddings look to have over 120 people (I count tables and chairs).  After seeing these and thinking about the dimensions more (38x51) I think 150 was an unreasonable estimate of # of guests that could fit. So, just now, we've been told by our caterer that yes, 130 is tight for that space and the remedy is to break down a couple tables when dinner is over for dancing.  They supposedly do it all the time.  I find the thought of booting guests out of chairs (even if there will be empty ones when people are dancing) to be rude.  I also think it is tacky to have staff in the front of the room clearing out tables and chairs and dragging them through the room.  Has anyone seen this done before?  Maybe I just never noticed.  I don't know what to do at this point b/c our guest list is shaved down to bare bones.  Sorry so long.  Any opinions would be appreciated.
    Posted by TheSlowskys[/QUOTE]I've been to a wedding that did this, and my table was one that got broken down, and I honestly wasn't too bothered at all. My FI and I were drinking and dancing and having fun socializing with friends, and I remember finding another seat to sit down on when I was tired for a bit. As I recall, the remaining seats (which was most, like maybe 75-80%) got more lax, where a few people stayed in their seats the whole time but most people just casually swapped in and out.
    Point being, I didn't think it was a big deal at all. But it might depend on your guests and how many would be displaced.
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  • It's not an ideal situation but breaking down a couple tables after the meal is probably the best solution in this sticky situation unless its not too late to cut your guest list (ie., STDs haven't gone out to every single guest). 

    Many people--especially older people--leave after the cake is cut. I'd cut the cake immediately after the meal if you're planning to do this. 
  • Would there be any room to line up some extra chairs along the walls so the "displaced" guests would at least have somewhere to sit down?
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  • I've been to several receptions where tables have been broken down after eating dinner. I've been at one of those tables at least twice and I don't think anyone batted an eyelash. The venues lined up the extra chairs on one side of the dance floor in case people were looking for seats. :)
  • This is what we are doing. Its going to be a tight squeeze to fit everyone at tables, a buffet table, a card/gift table, a cake table, and the already set up DJ. We are waiting until after dinner/food is served and eaten to move some tables out of the way. We plan on moving chairs to other tables because there will be room for extra people at the tables once the plates are gone. I don't think its rude or tacky. I would rather be asked to move to a different seat than not invited at all.
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  • You said the guest list is 139 and 9 might not come? Just to throw this out there we invited 185 and about 100 are coming. So you have some wiggle room if you wait it out. We have one table with 9 (but 3 are kids at that table)

    I did attend a wedding where nearly all the tables but about 5 were broken down to become the dance floor. No one thought much of it as dinner was done.
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  • I'm glad to hear that people have experienced this and weren't bothered. Stds haven't gone out but we just can't cut anymore. I just feel that every a$$ deserves its very own special home for the entire wedding ;). It's October so people may have sweaters or jackets, and when I go to a wedding I always leave my purse and camera at the table. I'd be thrilled if only 120 showed but that will still be tight. I wouldn't want to ignore the problem and then have 100% response. Pretty much everyone is local besides a couple people we assume aren't coming when we say we expect 130.
  • I used to DJ weddings and have been to more receptions than I could count. Most of them had dinner tables on the dance floor that were broken down after dinner. People always end up getting up and mingling after dinner anyway, and I never saw it be an issue.

    The only thing I would suggest is that if you have older people that won't be getting up and dancing to not seat them at those tables.
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  • I've seen this more often than not - it's been my table taken down and I never thought it was odd or rudel to be asked to move.

    As to the coats - wouldn't you offer a coat rack anyway?  I kinda hate when I have to put a trench (which is what I'd be wearing in October) on the back of a chair and then people end up walking on the hem.
  • If you choose to stay with this venue, I would recommend making sure you know which tables are being broken down and at what time so you can 1. Identify people who can sit there and won't mind having their table broken down (younger people, couples, colege friends etc).  You don't want to break down the tables that your family or older guests are sitting at as they are more likely to want to go back to the table and 2.  You can and should inform the guests seated at those tables that due to space their table will be broken dwn at whatever time and if possible try and squeeze in some more chairs at another table or somewhere else so at least the guests have a place to sit down and or put their belongings.

    I really don't think it will be that big of a deal if you have to do this as long as you seat people aqt these tables accordingly.

    If it is a big deal to you, it sounds like you can get your money back without too much of a headache!

    Best of Luck
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