One of the biggest headaches that our clients have is deciding whether they will have assigned seating at their reception or not. Many people think that by skipping the seating chart they are saving themselves a huge hassle. Although, you won’t have to sit down and figure out where everyone will set and create that chart, there are other things to think about when you forgoe the assigned seating plan.
The most common misconception when it comes to your rental order and assigned seating is that you set the same amount of tables either way. If you decide not to have assigned seating you should plan to add tables and seats for 20% over your final guest count. So, if you have 100 people coming, you should set the room for 120. This is important because with open seating you guests will not fill every table. They will spread out a bit and you will have empty spaces. By oversetting the room you have to plan for extra linen, centerpieces, tables, chairs, occupied space in the reception room and anything else on the tables.
The following are some other pros and cons to seating assignments:
- It allows you to control where people sit and can avoid any contentious family relationships
- People do not have to think where to sit, this especially nice for people who come as singles. It can be awkward to find a seat for one.
- As mentioned above you know exactly how many tables you need which can help save costs on rentals, florals, favors, etc.
- You might hate the process of actually creating a seating chart/assignments. It is like a puzzle that depends on the RSVP’s coming in (which can be a challenge in itself)
- If people are negligent in RSVP’ing or just show up there could be some scrambling to find seating.
A great solution to the seating chart debate is to assign people by table, but not by seat. This way you know how much of everything is needed because you can assign the appropriate number to each table.
- Some people will opt to set aside a table designated for the brides family and grooms family. If you decide to go this route make sure that you have names in place as well. Most of the time family of the couple means immediate relatives like parents and sibling, but confusion can arise when aunts or cousins sit at those reserved tables.
- Assigned seating can move the reception along in a more timely fashion. When guests know where to sit they can just go to that seat. With open seating there is a lot of milling around and debating where to sit.