Mary Ann
Beginner October 2019

Seating chart dilemma

Mary Ann, on July 17, 2019 at 6:33 AM Posted in Wedding Reception 0 20
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So far planning our wedding has been pretty much stress free. The venue is booked, deposits paid to the vendors, save the dates and invitations sent, and everything is moving along beautifully; or so we thought. We went to the tasting to start selection of our menu and the food was great. During the course of our tasting the wedding coordinator for the venue starts talking about place cards. My FH and I do not want a seating chart for our reception. I politely inform the woman that a table for place cards will not be necessary because we're not doing a seating chart. The coordinator tells me that it is required? We are not doing a played dinner, and we really don't want a seating chart or place cards. She also informed me that I can simply pick up some place cards at Hobby Lobby or some place for like $5. I am feeling quite offended for several reasons at this point. First of all the cost of place cards is not a problem, but the fact that I am paying them to have my wedding there to be told that I have to include an element in my wedding that neither my fiancee nor I want is. Should I just suck it up and do the seating chart or contact the venue and voice my opinion and concerns?

20 Comments

  • Melle
    Rockstar June 2019
    Melle ·
    Are you doing a free for all seating? I think she's probably just concerned because ideally it is a lot more organized if you assign tables at least. But it is your wedding so you can do what you want, she's probably just trying to suggest things to you that would help the flow of your wedding.
  • Caytlyn
    Champion November 2019
    Caytlyn Online ·
    I personally think that assigned tables are better than open seating 1000% of the time, but if it’s something you feel strongly about, you could check your contact and bring it up again.
  • Mary Ann
    Beginner October 2019
    Mary Ann ·
    View Quoted Comment
    Pretty much we wanted to reserve one table for my parents, his mother and a couple of other close family. The reastbif the seating would be open to whomever. I am thinking that there will be about 85 people, so I don't see a problem if they set up to tables if ten, but she told me that I have no choice that a seating chart is required to reduce the stress on the staff?
  • Jennifer
    Super September 2020
    Jennifer ·
    If you're having a buffet style dinner and not a seated/plated dinner where orders must be taken, I'm really confused as to how that would affect the staff at all. I would inquire as to how it reduces stress on staff if staff is not required to take orders... strange.
  • Courtney
    Rockstar December 2019
    Courtney ·
    We’re doing a buffet dinner and making a seating chart. Some of our guests have severe food allergies and their plates are being made separately from the rest. It’s easier for me to point out, “Steve at table four” versus “my cousin Steve in the grey suit: he’s around here somewhere” to the staff.
  • Mary Ann
    Beginner October 2019
    Mary Ann ·
    View Quoted Comment
    Now that I understand. However, to my knowledge, there are no people who have dietary restrictions attending the wedding. I guess I am more irritated by the whole idea that I am being told that I am not allowed to permit my guests to sit where they want. Additionally I was mildly insulted about the whole comment about getting place cards at Hobby Lobby because they're cheap. I know it's a petty, knee jerk, reaction to a comment designed to aid us in cutting costs, but the implication that we cannot afford to purchase printed place cards irritated me. Anyway thanks to you and everyone else for the input.
  • ASMini914
    Super September 2019
    ASMini914 ·
    It also could be that if you are doing open seating they will need to set up extra tables because it Will be hard for groups to sit together. I would strongly consider at least assigning guests to tables. I recently attended a wedding with open seating and it was literal chaos, people running around trying to save tables and there were only 50 people.
  • Catherine
    June 2020
    Catherine ·

    Going to wedding that has open seating can be a nightmare.

    I have seen families broken up, Tables over stuffed while people are left at half empty tables. Your venue wants your wedding to be smooth and enjoyed by everyone. I think they are doing you a favor.

  • Madison
    Devoted August 2019
    Madison ·
    Please reconsider your decision to do open seating. Typically the venue has to put 10% more tables and chairs to accommodate larger families and groups sitting together. If you only have 85ish people, it shouldn’t take that long creating a seating chart. This also helps if you have older guests who might not enjoy fighting for a seat away from the speakers, etc.
  • Melissa
    VIP September 2019
    Melissa ·
    Your wedding is not overly large, but to the point where I would definitely assign tables at the least. It’s easier to make sure that groups don’t get split up. The last group that comes in will most likely get split as there are most likely going to be only single seats left. Also, if you don’t, the venue will have to estimate how many extra tables and chairs to add, as people will not sit in every single chair at tables when groups end up getting split.
  • Katherine
    Expert July 2019
    Katherine ·

    I think the underlying idea about the seating chart reducing stress is that there are enough spots for everyone (when there are no seating charts often there are empty chairs in random places), everybody has a place and knows where to go (less time awkwardly standing around), and people can sit in a place that makes sense for them -- not having their family split up, or having grandma in the back with the college friends, etc.


    I agree that with 83 people it's going to be less chaotic regardless, but it is more organized for larger weddings in particular for the reasons mentioned above, which may be why they require it. Did they include that on the contract? If not they might want to put that information somewhere when people rent the venue so that future couples know it's an expectation going in


    If I were you I'd double check to see if it's required. If it is than I guess you do have to do it. But there are natural places you'll know people will want to sit, so some of it will be second nature.

  • Jasmine
    Rockstar August 2020
    Jasmine ·

    We were thinking about doing open seating too but then after seeing a lot of comments and concerns being raised, we opted to do a seating chart so one side doesn't look so empty or people steady trying to find a seat. The whole high school thing. Even my coordinator said it would be more beneficial but I also feel like it depends on your crowd of people and how many there will be.

    You would know them better than anyone else. I wouldn't want any table to be over filled cause people want to sit next to someone else at a table that's already full. The place would look uneven and weird. I really don't want to go through the struggle of doing the seating chart but I rather do that than something go wrong or look chaotic.

  • karen
    Master October 2017
    karen ·

    If I went to a wedding, and some people got reserved tables and I did not I would be furious. Couples and families get separated. People go for a chair, and get told, sorry we are saving. People do NOT sit where they want, they sit where they get a chair. Open seating is the mark of lazy brides. I would go to the ladies room and rip up the check in my card, and write a smaller one reflecting my second class treatment.


    The coordinator may be concerned that people don't like open seating, and while they wont say anything to the bride, they will give the venue a rotten review on Yelp. The coordinator may also know from experience, she will have to be the one to tell your maiden aunt or your mom's friend who thought she was like family, NO you are not immediate family, go find a seat, we did not reserve one for you.

  • Mary Ann
    Beginner October 2019
    Mary Ann ·
    View Quoted Comment
    Thank you for your opinion. However the only table that was being reserved was for our parents! As to your comment about LAZY... It is far from lazy to allow people whom you have known your entire life, and most of whom know each other to sit where they please. Especially when a vast majority of said people already know each other! You are seriously out of line to call another bride whom you do not know lazy!
  • karen
    Master October 2017
    karen ·
    View Quoted Comment

    Maryann, you said this - "Pretty much we wanted to reserve one table for my parents, his mother and a couple of other close family" So no, in your own words, you are not reserving just for parents. People may know each other, but there is NO guarantee they will get to sit with each other. What if someone goes to the ladies room, comes in and the only seats left are with people she does not know? Please do not get insulted by the cost reply and assign tables. If everyone knows each other, how hard is it?

  • Mcskipper
    Master July 2018
    Mcskipper ·
    I think this is a perfectly fair request for a venue. I’m sorry that you didn’t want it and didn’t discuss it previously to selecting the venue. But it is absolutely extra work, and all the table scrambling snafus fall on them — it means extra tables and place settings (and everything that goes with it— more linens, more laundry etc), and if at the last minute a family gets stuck not being able to fit together at any of the available tables, it falls on the venue to try to solve that. It’s not a completely unfounded request. With my event company, there were certain things I’d push for and certain things I’d presume they know best since they do this all the time— this is one of those ‘they know best’ things to me. Worth noting many policies like this are born of experience with past issues. I would do as the venue asks in this case, especially as you really don’t have anything to lose by doing a seating chart.
  • earias
    Champion December 2017
    earias ·
    View Quoted Comment

    I agree with this. I honestly don't understand the resistance to at least assigning tables. It makes things so much more organized for everyone involved and is not hard to do. No one wants to worry about where they will sit or if there are enough seats at the table for their group.

  • M
    Just Said Yes August 2019
    Marissa ·

    She should not be requiring that since it isn't plated. You just need to make sure you have your RSVPs up to date and make sure you follow up with people who haven't. She is probably concerned that you are going to have unexpected guests since it is common for people not to RSVP properly these days. I would give her some assurances that you will follow up with those you invited. I recently went to a wedding where there were not placards and it worked out just fine.

  • M
    Just Said Yes August 2019
    Marissa ·

    Seating charts. I wish wedding wire would allow you to save multiple layouts.

  • Rachel
    Devoted October 2019
    Rachel ·

    I'm a bit of a loud mouth, but I'd totally be voicing my feelings. You're paying for this and the two of you have a vision of what your day will be. If you don't want a seating chart, stand by that.

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