Assigned or Open Seating?
Having open seating at your wedding may sound like a great way to ease the wedding stress. Do your guests really need you to tell them where to sit? Couldn’t they figure it out on their own? And wouldn’t you want to save those extra hours of planning that assigning seats for all your friends and relatives often requires?
Let’s be honest, assigning seats can be hard work. For some, it might even be the most dreaded part of their wedding planning. However, those few hours (or less, if you’re lucky!) will most likely save you - and your guests! - a lot of stress and awkwardness on the MOST important day.
The seating plan may not be the most important detail about your wedding, but it does serve an essential purpose: making your guests feel as comfortable as possible! Why is that important? Well, if your guests feel comfortable, the chances are that you’ll feel comfortable too!
Having A Seating Plan Makes Things Easier
Having a seating plan prevents a build-up in foot traffic, guests will be able to see their assigned seat and head straight to it.
Having a seating plan will also prevent couples and larger parties from being separated from one another. Essentially, it will guarantee that people who really want to sit together can do so. Opting for open seating might mean less stress for you, but it may cause a hassle when parties of two or more are trying to find their seats after most guests have already picked theirs.
By planning for seating arrangements, you are planning for an enjoyable dinner for everyone. This is done by seating guests with people they already know and enjoy or with people you believe they will enjoy getting to know. This can even result in new friendships!
A Lot Will Depend On Your Meal
Sometimes, the kind of meal you are serving will dictate whether you can even choose between assigned or open seating for your wedding. For plated dinners, assigned seating is often the only option to ensure that each guest will get their desired meal. As a matter of fact, some wedding venues require assigned seating arrangements. At Lauxmont Farms Weddings, our ultimate goal is to allow each couple to have the wedding of their dreams - down to the smallest detail! Whether you choose assigned or open seating, we will do our best to make your day as special and as stress-free as possible!
Is open seating ever a good idea for a wedding? If you have a buffet-style meal, food trucks, or cocktail-style reception, open seating might work well for you. Open seating can be a great option for smaller weddings where guests already know each other. Open seating often indicates a wedding that has a more casual and cozy vibe. However, if your guest count is higher than 100, having a seating chart is well worth considering.
A bonus thought: If you are doing a wedding on a budget, going with open seating will save you some money. Open seating will mean no place cards, no escort cards, no seating charts, and no table numbers… Those things may not break the bank, but if you’re looking to save where you can - this might be your where.
Who Sits Where?
So… If you do take on the task of assigning seats or tables, how do you go about it? First things first: wait until you know who is coming and who is not, which is typically three to four weeks before your wedding.
The three most important tables are usually the easiest ones to decide on; your table, the wedding party, and the parents. Now, if you would like to change things up a little, you could seat your wedding party among other guests. Additionally, you could also opt for a head table instead of a sweetheart table.
When it comes to the remainder of the guests, there are two popular options for grouping guests together: based on how they know the couple or based on the guests’ interests and backgrounds. The first option might look something like this: extended relatives, childhood friends, college friends, work friends, etc. The second option requires a bit more effort on your part as you would need to consider which guests would really each other’s company most and which guests you would prefer to keep a few tables apart. However, the latter option comes with the possibility of a more interesting and refreshing experience for your guests - who knows what relationships may follow?
If you are thinking of a way to include your parents in the planning process, consider asking them for help in assigning seats. This can be especially helpful if there will be a good amount of relatives in attendance. Chances are, your parents will know your relatives well enough to seat them and even think of things you may not have considered. Just remember, the final decision is yours!
One final tip: A singles table may have been a thing in the past, but you might want to steer away from it - for everyone’s comfort.
So Which One Is It?
At the end of the day, the decision is yours - all advice and opinions aside. If you are somewhere in the middle: you don’t want to assign specific seats but you also want to have some control over the seating arrangements - your best bet is to assign tables, but not seats. This way, your guests will have some freedom and you will know where to expect everyone to be - a win-win!
What do you think?