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Chatae
Savvy August 2022

Seating charts or open seating

Chatae, on October 24, 2021 at 5:20 PM Posted in Wedding Reception 0 21

What are your ideas? I'm leaning more to open seating due to it being such as hassel but I'm open to ideas and what made you pick your choice?

21 Comments

Latest activity by Heather, on October 30, 2021 at 2:01 PM
  • C
    Savvy July 2022
    Claire ·
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    I know seating charts can be a headache but I recommend a seating chart rather than open seating. I went to one wedding with open seating and it was very awkward for guests as guests weren’t told where to sit and people stood around guessing where to go. Also many “groups” that knew each other ended up being split up among tables due to the nature of only 1 or two random seats available at each table. All that to say I know it’s hard work but I do think it is important for guest experience to do one. I recommend at least assigning people to tables but not going so into details as to assigning every single chair at that table.


    Good luck!
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  • Chatae
    Savvy August 2022
    Chatae ·
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    Thanks so much I’ll keep that in mind.
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  • Jasmine S.
    VIP May 2022
    Jasmine S. ·
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    Every post about this topic will tell you open seating is a disaster, unless you're having a tiny reception (like <25 people). Groups and families will get split up because there isn't space for them, and some tables will end up unfilled. It generally just makes your guests anxious.
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  • Michelle
    Rockstar December 2022
    Michelle ·
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    I have been to countless open seating weddings and other events and they are a nightmare every time. Couples and families always get split up. Grandma saves a table for a specific group who doesn’t even sit with her and won’t give up those chairs when they are the last ones available. Basically it triggers all the ptsd from the school cafeteria which no one wants to relive.


    I am anti seating poster as well. There are just as many headaches with that. They are done with an illegible small font that causes traffic jams, and people forget where they were seated on the way to the tables.
    The easiest thing is tent cards. If you are having a plated meal where guests pick their entree beforehand, order solid color card stock tent cards on Etsy. Each color differentiates the choices for the waitstaff and can be seen from a distance, where a sticker/stamp/ribbon cannot. Arrange them alphabetically as you would on a poster but they are printed large and clear enough that guests can read them without difficulty and grab and go so they don’t forget their assignments when they get caught up in conversations.

    Group people together who have common interests. It’s only for dinner because they will get up dance and mingle afterwards. Parents/siblings/grandparents at one table. Bridal party with significant others at another table. Aunts and uncles at another and friends.
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  • Michelle
    Master April 2021
    Michelle ·
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    That was the great debate between my husband & I. He wanted open seating & I was leaning towards assigned tables. When we had our final meeting with the venue, she drilled it home on having assigned tables. It’s absolute chaos having open seating with a large crowd (guest count was 100).
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  • Stefanie
    Devoted May 2022
    Stefanie ·
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    Seating charts are a pain but I think in the long run they will be much easier! I haven’t heard anything good about open seating.
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  • S
    Super September 2022
    Sarah ·
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    I think I’ve been to 3 weddings with open seating. I will say it wasn’t so bad for 2 of them where they had long rectangular tables, but the one with 8 person circle tables was awkward because we ended up with random people.
    As a guest I definitely prefer a seating chart/assigned seats.
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  • mrswinteriscoming
    VIP December 2021
    mrswinteriscoming ·
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    In my personal opinion, open seating is a chaotic nightmare and I loath it. I am anxious just thinking about having to dash to find people we know, or trying to find empty seats with people who look pleasant.

    I always advocate for having assigned tables at the very least.

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  • Michelle
    Rockstar December 2022
    Michelle ·
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    Also unless you are having long tables that require each seat assigned, assign guests to a table and let them pick the seat.
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  • Jacks
    Rockstar November 2054
    Jacks ·
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    Open seating has never been a universal success. You'll end up with tables that are overcrowded mixed with some almost empty.

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  • Cece
    Rockstar October 2023
    Cece Online ·
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    I have to add one more vote for team assigned seating! Yes, it is more work on the front end, but it has a huge payoff on the back end. Assigning seats will prevent chaos at your reception, and will provide a much more enjoyable (and less stressful) experience for your guests. I have been to multiple weddings with open seating, and it has been disastrous each time. Families and friend groups get split up, people end up sitting with complete strangers and feeling awkward. It is definitely worth it to devote a few more hours of your time creating a seating chart in order to ensure your guests feel comfortable at your event.
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  • Samantha
    Super August 2022
    Samantha ·
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    So I'll be the outsider here and say this: I don't actually thing I've ever been to a wedding with assigned seating, and personally it hasn't ever really been a problem for me. Maybe my cousin's over a decade ago had assigned seating (but I was like 11 and can't really remember), but none recently.

    A few things I've noticed that help alleviate potential stress but keep you from needing assigned seating:
    - large family style tables (the first wedding I was ever in)
    - a few tables with "reserved" signs on them for the immediate family (my cousin's reception last February)
    - more than enough tables and chairs for everyone (two weddings I've been to - yes I know this is sometimes difficult and costly)
    - a cocktail style reception where no one actually sits and it's more of a mingling situation (the first destination wedding we ever went to and another cousin's wedding last June)

    Granted, if your caterer requires assigned seating, all of this is beside the point, but it seems to be uncommon in my circle to have assigned seating.

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  • Lisa
    Rockstar July 2022
    Lisa ·
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    I'm always on Team Assigned Tables! This way, you don't have any unfilled tables or people dragging chairs over from one table to another (causing one table to have 15 people and another to have 5), or people taking the seats closest to the head table, and forcing your parents/grandparents to sit way in the back. People don't usually seat themselves efficiently when there is open seating, so you'd need to provide extra tables and chairs (higher rental costs if you're renting them) so couples don't risk getting split up when there are two tables each with one seat left at them. By doing assigned tables (but letting guests choose their seat at that table), you can ensure that everyone has a spot around people they know, you avoid paying to rent more tables/chairs than needed, and guests can still have some choice in where they sit.
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  • Michelle
    Rockstar December 2022
    Michelle ·
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    With a cocktail/appetizer/dessert reception, that is the one exception where you don’t need assigned tables but you do need tables and chairs available for all guests. Not everyone will stand and many physically cannot. In heels, women want to sit when they can. It is awkward and impossible to balance a plate, a drink, a fork, a purse, and have a free hand to eat with. Add the discomfort of being in heels a long time or an unseen disability where standing for long periods is not feasible and guests do leave early. With chairs only, you have guests balancing plates and drinks on their laps, and drinks on the floor so they can eat and say a prayer no one tips them over. Tables and chairs for all is courteous as a gracious host.
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  • Chatae
    Savvy August 2022
    Chatae ·
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    That’s not the question being asked. I was asking should the guest have assign seats or sit where they want. Of course there will be tables with the chairs.
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  • Michelle
    Rockstar December 2022
    Michelle ·
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    For a full dinner, assign everyone to a table and let them pick the chair. If you are having appetizers only, you can have open seating or table assignments so they can have a home base for jackets, purses, etc.
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  • Alejandra
    Super November 2021
    Alejandra ·
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    If it helps at all, as a guest the few weddings that I have been to have had seating charts and I am so grateful. It takes the guesswork out of it for me. We are having 65 people and I much prefer the idea of making a seating chart. It wasn’t as hard or as much of a hassle to do and I feel less anxious knowing our guests will know where to go.
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  • Jacks
    Rockstar November 2054
    Jacks ·
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    "Open seating" is where there are no tables assigned. That was the question you asked. Most of us said assign seating, that can be assign just a table or assign each seat.

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  • Jennifer
    Devoted October 2022
    Jennifer ·
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    Honestly, people will only fumble around for a minute finding a seat. They’ll either find someone they know or feel adventurous and meet new people. I’m only doing a seating chart because my caterer requires it.
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  • M
    Legend June 2019
    Melle ·
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    I am always team seating chart. it'll save guests the hassle of finding a seat

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