Just Said Yes August 2020

Farm Tables & Open Seating

Brianne, on September 19, 2019 at 6:46 PM Posted in Wedding Reception 0 13
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My vision is to have about 3 farm tables (vertical) set up for our wedding guests. The sweethearts table (just bride and groom) will be located at one end of the farm tables as a separate table facing the guests. We were planning to reserve our close family members about 49 seats of the guest tables that will be at the closest end towards the sweethearts table.

Has anyone had issues reserving only some seats and then allowing open seating for a set up like this?

I've prepared a floor plan and verified that couples can find seats next to each other if they just work it out. But I was worried that some people would have to sit at different tables when they came as a couple. I was also thinking to maybe assign groups to a table so it would work a little smoother.

Any thoughts or recommendations on this would be greatly appreciated.


  • KiwiDerbyBride
    Super May 2015
    KiwiDerbyBride ·
    People won’t just work it out, unfortunately. They’ll leave one empty seat between them and the next person and you’ll have couples/families split up. Assign tables for everyone’s peace of mind.
  • Caytlyn
    Champion November 2019
    Caytlyn Online ·
    I always recommend assigning seats or at least tables, but I think it’s even more crucial in this situation. Sure, most people who do open seating reserve a table or two for immediate family, but I think it’s pretty rude to reserve seats for almost 60 people and leave the rest to fend for themselves. Especially at farmhouse style tables where they could be seated pretty far from their spouse or family. I would assign seats.
  • Chandra
    Master May 2019
    Chandra Online ·
    If you're already reserving 50 seats I'd just assign the rest honestly. I know I like to leave a seat between myself and others I dont know and that opens up to a lot of uncomfortable asking people to move seats to accom couples.
  • M
    Dedicated October 2019
    M ·
    People all feel “special” to the bride and groom. They all feel like your best friends or important family. Which is good! That’s why you invited them. But just assign everyone’s seat so no one thinks a little rearranging “won’t matter” because it will probably happen and even if it doesn’t, people always leave seats open in between groups which will inevitably split up groups at the end of the line coming to the reception. Once dinner is done everyone can get up and mingle around.
  • Pirate & 60s Bride
    Champion March 2017
    Pirate & 60s Bride ·
    Definitely assign seats.

    Are there 3 farm wood tables for 49 guests? We had 3 tables for only 17 people total! We had extra space but 20-22 guests would have been perfect. Ours were also vertical so it seemed like 1 very long table. I’m worried you won’t have enough room!
  • earias
    Champion December 2017
    earias ·

    With farmhouse tables, you really need to assign seats. I had long tables at my wedding and realized it was a better seating arrangement to have couples sit next to each other rather than across the table from each other so they could talk easier. If you don't assign the seats, then it is possible couples won't get to sit close to each other, or worse, get separated completely. If you don't assign seats, then it will take much longer for your guests to find seats and adjust according to their group, which will then cut into your timeline. You don't want guests taking 20 minutes just finding a seat when it only takes 5 minutes.

    Farm Tables & Open Seating 1

  • Jordyn
    Dedicated November 2020
    Jordyn Online ·
    At my godmothers sons wedding it was open seating but they reserved a table for the families. However someone sat at the grooms families table and it was going to be an issue so his family sat way in the back as it was all that was left open. I think assigning all seats is super important because not everyone realizes things like this.
  • LB
    Champion November 2016
    LB ·

    Reserving seats for 50 people and not the rest of the guests is rude. And no, they aren't just gonna work it out. Just do a seating chart. It'll save a lot of headaches for your guests the day of the wedding (and help you avoid potentially hurting people's feelings cause they aren't important enough to get a reserved seat).

  • Meghan
    Super October 2019
    Meghan ·

    You will need a seating chart for a situation like this. Echoing what others have said, when you don't do a seating chart, you run the risk of people leaving 1 empty chair in between them. This leaves couples unable to sit with each other. I also think if you are doing assigned seats for some guests, you should just do it for all of them.

  • B
    Expert March 2020
    B ·
    I went to several open seating receptions and they are always frustrating. We wind up with people who don't know us and don't want to talk, or can't communicate well, etc. It really takes away from the wedding. I think a seating arrangement is a necessity. It's not just to give people a seat, it's to sit them with others they can enjoy the wedding with.
  • Catherine
    Expert November 2019
    Catherine ·

    If you're going to reserve some I would just do a seating chart for everyone. It will be a little hectic for you at first trying to decide who to put where but it saves you the stress and confusion of anyone trying to ask you about it the day of your wedding. You don't want people being split up if they come separately from the s/o or date. Or they go to the bathroom and someone takes the seat. could get messy

  • Hannah
    Devoted September 2019
    Hannah ·
    We had 130 guests and did open seating; it worked out fine actually we had 4 tables with reserved signs for immediate family and they were ignored - so I say do all open seating or all reserved seating.
  • Mcskipper
    Master July 2018
    Mcskipper ·
    I feel like open seating with farm tables is even more challenging than at rounds— as you’ll have people trying to sit next to eachother and others trying to sit across from, there ends up being an awkward shift, and as people end up needing to sit one by one there’s a lot of potential for someone to be bumped off the end. It’s just not worth the chaos.

    I went to a wedding recently that had great long rectangle tables— except actually each one was 5 long tables pushed up to eachother end to end. Instead of the hassle of assigning SEATS, they assigned table-sections. To me this worked out as a great compromise. People are still organizing themselves to an extent, but, there’s also no risk of anyone not finding a space amongst their group.

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