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Reception Ideas

Assigned seats or not?

My mom doesn't think we need to do a seating chart, but I've read the pros for having one.  Those include: everyone has a seat, no one has to try to find a table with the correct number of seats available, no one is rushing to find a table for their family (among others).  It will be a little bit more expense, time and stress, but I'm thinking it could be a good way for guests to get to know us as a couple. (Instead of table numbers, I thought about using special places, dates we've been on together, movies and TV shows we love, etc.)  Anyone favor one way or the other?

Re: Assigned seats or not?

  • Cookie PusherCookie Pusher Looking over your shoulder member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    We are opting not to do numbers for the table assignments. We've seen way too many people complain about how they "deserved" to be at a lower table number because the assumption is that those tables are closer to the "action" at the reception. I've been to a fairly even split of weddings with table numbers and weddings with other sorts of table designations. Honestly, I don't think most people remember what table they're at and how it was designated unless you stick them at a table away from everyone/in front of the bathroom/in another awkward location.
    ~*~*~*~*~

  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    assigned seats?  No. Assigned tables?  Yes.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    ei34
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    I definitely prefer assigned tables (not assigned seats).  It's nicer for guests to know they have a table to go to with people they know or would probably get along with rather than having to try and run around to find a table with seats available with people they know or awkwardly find seats if they don't know anyone.  Be kind to your guests and take the time to assign tables.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Assign tables so that nobody has to walk around your venue looking for an "unreserved" seat like in a school cafeteria.  If you don't assign tables, people save seats for their buddies, and that makes it hard for people who don't know others there to find seats.
  •  We had a big beautiful DIY seating chart at the guest book table, when you first walked in to our reception room. We didn't have a specific seat number for each guest, but they were assigned to a specific table. When the guests came in, the groomsmen showed them to their table, and that was that. It was easy, everyone had a table, and it wasn't as much work as having everyone at a specific chair. 

     *J
  • We did tables too. The nice thing is that you can make sure that people who will get along sit with each other and others that don't are far away from each other. You can put people who love to dance near the dance floor & people with kids in an area where they can exit easily if needed (for tantrums or potty breaks), you get the idea. But the main thing is if people are at a table of individuals who they will get along with (and hopefully know) it will increase the enjoyment they have at your wedding and that's what people walk away remember, how much fun did they have.
  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    I loathe weddings that dont have assigned tables. I am actually going to one this weekend. The FOB thinks it will force people in mingle. I think it forces awkwardness and a cafeteria like setting.

    BabyFruit Ticker
  • I'll chime in for the other side.  I've never been to a wedding (or any other event) with a seating chart.  I'd be somewhat shocked if I were - I'm an adult, I don't need to be told whom I may sit with!  What if I'd rather sit with someone else?
  • Agree with netskyblue. I've never attended a wedding with assigned anything. We didn't do assigned seats or tables, and didn't have any issues. If you go this route, make sure you have several extra tables because not every table will fill up and people may not want to sit with strangers. 
  •  I also *do not* like if the tables aren't assigned. I don't want to end up at that table with a bunch of people I don't know, or have nothing in common with. I'd much rather sit at a table with people that, either the bride & groom think we'll mingle well with, or that I at least know. I always find unassigned tables awkward! 

     *J
  • JMalettas said:
     I also *do not* like if the tables aren't assigned. I don't want to end up at that table with a bunch of people I don't know, or have nothing in common with. I'd much rather sit at a table with people that, either the bride & groom think we'll mingle well with, or that I at least know. I always find unassigned tables awkward! 

     *J
    Why wouldn't you be able to sit with your friends if the tables aren't assigned? I'd think you'd be more likely to be able to sit with them instead of other couples the bride and groom assign you to sit with. 
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I'll chime in for the other side.  I've never been to a wedding (or any other event) with a seating chart.  I'd be somewhat shocked if I were - I'm an adult, I don't need to be told whom I may sit with!  What if I'd rather sit with someone else?
    The idea behind assigning tables is not to tell you who to sit with but to ensure that you have a place to sit, and that no one is "reserving" seats by putting their things on them and telling you you can't sit there.  That's what everyone who hates unassigned seating is trying to avoid.

    Even with assigned tables, nothing is stopping you from getting up to talk to whomever you'd like.
  • ei34ei34 member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Another vote for assigned tables, but not assigned seats. Your personal touch instead of table numbers idea sounds very nice.
  • JMalettasJMalettas member
    500 Comments 100 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    edited March 2014
    ScoutF said:
    JMalettas said:
     I also *do not* like if the tables aren't assigned. I don't want to end up at that table with a bunch of people I don't know, or have nothing in common with. I'd much rather sit at a table with people that, either the bride & groom think we'll mingle well with, or that I at least know. I always find unassigned tables awkward! 

     *J
    Why wouldn't you be able to sit with your friends if the tables aren't assigned? I'd think you'd be more likely to be able to sit with them instead of other couples the bride and groom assign you to sit with. 
     Not every wedding, do you always know a bunch of people. The second last wedding we went to, pretty much everyone we knew was in the wedding party, and thank goodness it was assigned tables, because we were sat with people in our age group/with common interests. Otherwise, we didn't know the rest of their friends/family. Not to say you wouldn't be able to sit with your friends, when seating isn't assigned, but unless there's an even 8 or 10 couples, (depending on how many the table seats), there's always the couple or two that are the odd ones out. Whether they came later & the table was full, etc. I've seen where people have pulled extra chairs to a table with friends, where everyone's squished in, and it looks awkward and messy, because that couple didn't want to have dinner with a bunch of people they didn't know. (Not that I would ever do that, as it would be horribly rude/tacky, but it's happened). There's many reasons unassigned tables can be awkward, and I'm just saying, that in my opinion, I much prefer assigned. 

     *J
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    ScoutF said:
    JMalettas said:
     I also *do not* like if the tables aren't assigned. I don't want to end up at that table with a bunch of people I don't know, or have nothing in common with. I'd much rather sit at a table with people that, either the bride & groom think we'll mingle well with, or that I at least know. I always find unassigned tables awkward! 

     *J
    Why wouldn't you be able to sit with your friends if the tables aren't assigned? I'd think you'd be more likely to be able to sit with them instead of other couples the bride and groom assign you to sit with. 
    Because when seats are not assigned, people go into "survivalist" mode and "reserve" them to make sure no one else can use them.  This leaves people having to hunt for seats if they aren't lucky enough to be one of those who someone "reserved" them for.  And for someone who doesn't know anyone else there, it's bad enough having to look for a seat, but being told "these are taken," especially if it's a buffet reception and you have to carry a heavy tray of food as well as your personal belongings, is a PITA. 
  • Assign tables. I like the school cafeteria comparison, your guests deserve to be looked out for, especially guests that don't know anyone else. Also it helps to minimize drama the day of. You can get seating cards at Staples and print them at home for a very reasonable price.
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its

    Assign tables. I like the school cafeteria comparison, your guests deserve to be looked out for, especially guests that don't know anyone else. Also it helps to minimize drama the day of. You can get seating cards at Staples and print them at home for a very reasonable price.
    We also assigned tables to keep the old people away from the DJ speakers and the drinkers closest to the bar.  Parents and siblings were closer to us.   Friends were with friends, family with family.  I can't think of who would sit somewhere else?   Our guest sit only for dinner, then they are at the bar or the dance floor. 






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • lyndausvi said:

    Assign tables. I like the school cafeteria comparison, your guests deserve to be looked out for, especially guests that don't know anyone else. Also it helps to minimize drama the day of. You can get seating cards at Staples and print them at home for a very reasonable price.
    We also assigned tables to keep the old people away from the DJ speakers and the drinkers closest to the bar.  Parents and siblings were closer to us.   Friends were with friends, family with family.  I can't think of who would sit somewhere else?   Our guest sit only for dinner, then they are at the bar or the dance floor.

    There's this as well.   My FFIL has a huge freak out if he isn't sitting in the perfect seat, let alone the right table.  To eliminate that, we let him choose at which table he wanted to sit, and with whom he wanted to sit.  
  • Buehler99Buehler99 member
    First Comment
    edited March 2014
    Thank you all for your input!! I think I will assign tables (which I meant in my initial post, not seat - glad ya'all figured that out!).  I like the idea of keeping the older guests away from the speakers, my friends with beer-loving husbands near the bar, and put people who know each other, or have similar interests, together.  A lot of my friends are married with children now (I'm one of the last to get married), and know their kids might enjoy being near each other.  Also, I'm giving the kids activity books to play with, and this might be the best way to have them available - just place them on the tables with kids.  Thank you all again!!
  • I'm sorry, I meant assigned tables and not seats.  Thanks for helping to clarify that.
  • Forgive me for hijacking the thread, but is there something rude about assigned seats? Every wedding I have been to has assigned table and when you get to the table your name is on the seat that is assigned to you.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Forgive me for hijacking the thread, but is there something rude about assigned seats? Every wedding I have been to has assigned table and when you get to the table your name is on the seat that is assigned to you.
    There's nothing rude about assigning tables, but a lot of times people at the tables do want to choose their seats for themselves.  Assigning tables but not seats is a compromise between making sure you have a table to sit at, hopefully with other guests whom you know, and getting to choose a seat for yourself.
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