{Wedding Planning 101} | Assigned Seating vs Open Seating

daytoremember.net | Gary Guy Photographer | Dukessa {formerly Villa Rinata} | A Day To Remember Houston Luxury Wedding Planning and Design

daytoremember.net | Gary Guy Photographer | Dukessa {formerly Villa Rinata} | A Day To Remember Houston Luxury Wedding Planning and Design

One of the least enjoyable tasks while planning your wedding is probably generating the guest list and the figuring out where these guests will sit.  Enter the debate of assigned seating vs open seating.  At some point, once your guests arrive to the reception, they will need to be seated.  The question is, "How do I really want this to happen?"  It really doesn't matter whether you have 50 or 500 guests, or somewhere in between, you need to decide how you want to set the tone for your reception.  Open seating dictates a more relaxed atmosphere, while assigned seating dictates a more formal setting. Really, there is no wrong way; you just need to decide what the tone of your wedding needs to be.

Of course, you will always hear from your guests stating how they prefer to sit next to one person, or another.  Your guests will have their own opinions, but in the end, it is YOUR choice to decide where you want your guests to be seated.  To better help you make a decision, we've compiled a Pros and Cons of assigned seating, in hopes this will better help you decide what and how you will want to proceed.

The Pros

  • Your Guests Are Accounted:  Every guest who has mailed back their response card will be accounted for, guaranteeing him/her a seat.  Your guests won't have that "new kid in school" feeling when looking for a spot in the cafeteria.  As you are being introduced for your grand entrance, you will know that all your guests are comfortably seated, without worrying if a guest found a place to sit or hovering to the side looking for an open seat.
  • Organization and Order Prevails:  Nobody likes chaos, especially on such an important day as your wedding!  Assigned seating will address each guests' seating needs {such as handicapped, dietary}, as well as provide a sense of organization and order for you and your guests.  Having a mass amount of guests moving around in a confined space, broken up by tables and chairs, looking for a seat, creates a sense of chaos and disorder.  Not to mention, many times, guests will just be lingering talking to other guests while other guests are milling around.  With assigned seating, guests will select their escort card, and usually, with the help of the wedding planner or usher, can be directed to the appropriate assigned table.
  • No Pressure:  Some people suffer from social anxiety, some people just prefer to not have to deal with figuring out where to sit; having escort cards removes doubt and pressure of where to sit.  Many times, guests are happy to sit where you've assigned them.  Wedding receptions are about having fun and where many friendships are born.  Sometimes sitting at a table of unknowns is refreshing and interesting!
  • Taking Care of Business:  With assigned seating, you have complete control to ensure your guests receive the proper attention when it comes to their dietary needs.  Is your guest allergic to nuts?  Is your guest vegan or vegetarian?  Is your guest on a gluten-free diet?  Knowing where your guest is seated, allows you to ensure the venue provides the designated meal quickly and without effort, without having to seek you out or figure out what table your guest is seated.  If you have given your guests the option of selecting an entree, having assigned seating facilitates this process when it comes to serving your guests.
  • Closing the Gap:  Nobody likes to see open gaps of an empty seat here and two random open seats there...it just doesn't look right, not to mention, it's wasted space!  Having assigned seating ensures you are maximizing your space and the party of five isn't left out because there where just empty gaps, forcing them to sit separately, and at different tables!

The Cons

  • A Task in Itself:  The dreaded task of actually creating the assigned seating chart!  Yes, you are feeling stressed with many other tasks, yet, you have to sit and sort through your guests names and figure out where to seat them all!  It is truly a time-consuming tasks, requiring patience and compromise between you and your fiance!
  • The Guessing Game:  What if you made a bad call during the seat assignments?  Not knowing the details of everyone's relationships could be cause for a not-so-positive situation.
  • The Odd Group:  Sometimes, when assigning seats, an odd group forms.  The odd group are those guests who are not part of a group {college buddies, work colleagues, family}, but are still important guests to you.  Usually, the odd group may find themselves grouped together with absolutely nothing in common.
  • Reserved:  Maybe you want to just reserve some tables for immediate family and wedding party and leave the rest open?  This is a good idea IF your guests know who actually belongs in the reserved tables.  Many times, random guests will take over a reserved table, and nothing is more awkward than removing the guest from that area, or having grandmother sit at a random table.  So for those reserved tables, we encourage you to provide place cards so guests know who actually belongs on these tables.

So, when the time comes to decide between assigned seating vs open seating, just remember:  You will NOT please everyone!  Let me repeat, "You will NOT please everyone!"  Someone will have an opinion, one way or the other.  Remember, there really is no right or wrong answer, it's just a choice...a preference of what you and your fiance want.  It is YOUR wedding day, so please go with what makes YOU feel comfortable.

So, as you are planning your perfect day, tell us, do you plan on assigned seating, or will you give your guests the option of open seating.  We'd love to hear your thoughts!