Wedding Reception Forum

Seating chart for sit down dinner

We are having a semi-formal reception outdoors with 100 people. It is not a buffet; it is a sit down dinner that is served by waiters. I don't want to do a seating chart other than reserve the wedding party table, a parents table, and a kids table (if we have enough). I think people are adults and should be able to sit where they want. It will hopefully encourage mingling too. But people are really split on whether or not there should be a seating chart. Thoughts?

Re: Seating chart for sit down dinner

  • If you don't have a seating chart, you will need around 15-20% more chairs because people will not fill up tables correctly when left to their own devices. I strongly recommend assigning tables (not specific chairs) and also recommend seating kids with their parents. As long as you plan wisely and seat people with others that they know and get along with, it really is better to assign tables. People will still mingle, I promise.
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  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    If you don't have a seating chart, you will need around 15-20% more chairs because people will not fill up tables correctly when left to their own devices. I strongly recommend assigning tables (not specific chairs) and also recommend seating kids with their parents. As long as you plan wisely and seat people with others that they know and get along with, it really is better to assign tables. People will still mingle, I promise.
    I agree 100% with this.  Your wedding is not a mixer; there is no need to encourage mingling.  It will happen on its own. 
    polly212
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers

    We are having a semi-formal reception outdoors with 100 people. It is not a buffet; it is a sit down dinner that is served by waiters. I don't want to do a seating chart other than reserve the wedding party table, a parents table, and a kids table (if we have enough). I think people are adults and should be able to sit where they want. It will hopefully encourage mingling too. But people are really split on whether or not there should be a seating chart. Thoughts?

    Have a seating chart. The absence of one does not guarantee mingling. It is likely to promote guests not bring able to find seats on their own because of the tendency of people to "reserve" seats for their own families and friends while forcing everyone else to walk around asking, "Is this seat taken?" and in some cases not being able to find unoccupied seats together. It may also make those guests who don't know others there feel like they're in a school cafeteria, hoping the "cool" kids will let them sit down and not snub them. Nobody likes to feel like that.

    Not only that, but unless waiters are taking orders at the tables, how will they know what to serve who without some kind of system indicating to bring so-and-so's order to a pre-specified table?
  • So apparently you do see the value if assigned seating, because the important people will get it.

    Assign tables. Unless your theme is middle school cafeteria.
    downtondivaMandyMost[Deleted User]
  • edited January 2015
    Are you giving your guests a choice ahead of time (on the RSVP card) what their meal selection will be? Or is everyone receiving the same meal?

    If everyone is pre-selecting their meal, you'll need place cards to designate which meal the waiters need to bring each guest, so assigned seating will be necessary.  If everyone is being served the same plated meal, however, this won't be an issue. But to echo what PPs have said, assign tables regardless of the type of meal you're doing. A seating chart might be a headache for you, but it will benefit your guests and minimize confusion.
    --

  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    Why do you think people won't mingle if they have assigned tables?
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
    image
  • I like assigned tables, because me and hub always seem to be the only 2 at a table for 10. While the next table has 16 people trying to fit in to the same size table for 10. It is embarrassing to feel like the person no one wants to sit with! Things do even out, and we wind up with a full table of charming people, but it feels uncomfortable at first.

    And in those instances where certain guests hate each other and have to be kept apart, it is much more efficient to do so, with a seating chart.

    People will always get up and mingle, dance, cruise around saying hi.

    STARMOON44MandyMost
  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    It really irritates me when people say they don't like assigning tables but then do that for the "important" people.  You don't get to serve some people better food than others, why do you get to treat your guests differently when it comes to where they sit?  It smacks of "Everyone I really care about is taken care of, good luck to the rest of you!"



    AddieCakeSTARMOON44[Deleted User]
  • esstee33esstee33 Pittsburgh member
    Ninth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    I would absolutely assign tables, although maybe not individual seats. 

    Also, are your wedding party's partners going to be at the table with them? If not, I'd do a sweetheart table for the two of you and let your wedding party sit with their spouses / SOs. 

  • Yes--what PPs said.  Do chart.  You don't have to tell people which chair to sit in (actual place cards) but they need a table number.  Otherwise the numbers won't work out and there will be gaps.  And it's awkward to find a seat with people you don't know.  "um, hey, is this seat taken?  oh, you're saving it for your five year old.  okay..."  
  • We had open seating. But we also had stations where people could get food whenever they wanted. If you do this, I 100% agree with @artbyallie that you need extra seating. People will leave space between them, they won't fill tables, etc. Extra seating is crucial - and it ends up being more expensive because of tables, linens, chairs, centerpieces, etc.

    When you say the meal will be served by waiters, do people have pre-selected menu choices? If so, how will the waiters know what to deliver to whom? I would suggest assigned tables (not necessarily assigned seats) with escort cards that have symbols for people's menu choices on the back. That way their food can get delivered more efficiently. 
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    esstee33
  • My fiancé and I were at a wedding recently without assigned seating in a barn. The seating was "family style" with long tables that winded around throughout the barn. IT WAS AWFUL. We could not find seats and were awkwardly standing around looking when the bridal party was being announced. We eventually found 2 seats across from one another at the end next to the buffet so we had people's butts in our faces our entire meal.

    Do your guests a favor and assign their seats.

    [Deleted User]
  • Assigned tables are nice because it helps to make sure that your friends who love to have a great time are stuck at a table with grandma & great aunt jane who want to talk about their arithis. You can get people with similar interested together. Like put your work friends together & then your cousins together so they can catch up, etc. It's a little bit of a pain, but in the end, it is nicer.
  • Hi

    My venue coordinator suggested that once I have my escort cards/tables assigned that I make up a table diagram. Not sure if it is going to be small and on the side of the table or a larger chart that will go on the wall next to the escort cards.



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