To be seated or no to be seated, what’s the question
When it comes to the guest list many couples struggle with the decision on whether to have assigned or open seating. Before I dive in this topic I would like to mention something. Both choices have their advantages and disadvantages. Based on the type, style and venue of your wedding this decision will differ. I am not here to tell you which option is the right one. There is no right or wrong. I am here to shed some light on the benefits of having assigned seating. It was brought to my attention that brides-to-be are interested in this topic.
Making a seating chart can be a stressful and daunting task but here are the benefits:
You will have control over the flow of the room. Most people consider control to be a bad thing. When it comes to the word control and weddings, people associate it with bridezillas. I disagree. Think about it this way, if you have divorced family members, control could mean you avoiding a crisis and having fun on your big day. Also, control might mean that you can play matchmaker. This doesn't have to be a romantic thing. it could be you getting together your second cousin and your work buddy because both are into fishing. It could also mean that you can get people together by a common interest: work, hobbies or stages in life. The last thing you want to is to put your single friend with only married couples with children. This will be a long and dreadful experience for your friend and you don't want this to be the memory of your guests.
Creating a seating chart doesn't have to be a dreadful and stressful task, make it fun for you and your significant other. Get some take-out, a good bottle of wine (or your favourite liquor) and a dessert. Divide and conquer. Separate the guest list in groups: family members, friends and co-workers for example. Look at the lists separately and try to do the fast tables first. Once you get on a roll, you will feel better and you would want to finish it. After agreeing on a table do something fun: a victory dance, a kiss, cheers, high five to keep the spirit high. And at the end give each other a massage and express your gratitude towards the other person. Be specific, name 3 guests or 3 areas that you got help for in this process.
Also, think about this was, your guests will appreciate it more and feel more important and taken care of if they know you took a day of your life to make sure they are comfortable in the setting they are in, they are not separated with their family and they are able to have nice conversations and fun with the people around them.
This is the biggest one for me and that is avoiding confusion. Open seating can be stressful and confusing for your guests.
Avoid the nightmare of putting your shy guests through the pain of walking around asking if seats are taken. With assigned seating, there will be less scrambling. Your guests will have more time to enjoy themselves and have fun instead of looking for a seat. Imagine if someone approaches you on your wedding day while you are trying to have fun with this concern/problem: there are no 2 seats next to each other and now they have to sit at 2 separate tables with their significant other. What if you go to a wedding where you don’t know many people and you get separated from your significant other and have to spend your meal all by yourself. Now you must start going around the room to find them a seat and ask your guests to move around so you can find room for the couple. Is this what you want to do on your wedding day?
To be successful at the seating chart here are a few things to keep in mind:
Make sure everyone RSVPs on time. Some people have little knowledge of wedding etiquette and this could create an issue for you but be brave, bold and stand your ground. If you tell in your invitations that guests need to RSVP by a date do not back down. One of the reasons why couples get stressed out is because at the last 6 to 8 weeks there are a lot of small details that need to be finished or finalized and the seating chart is one of these last-minute details. To avoid additional stress, give yourself enough time to plan and execute. You can even stress how important it is to RSVP on time. You can say that the final guest count is by a specific date and if the guests have not responded, there will not be able to attend. You can say that the venue or the caterer has a very strict policy. If you decide to go this route, make sure you give a friendly reminder, but you stress how important the final date for RSVP is.
Consult with your venue and caterer on table size, placement and dinner service to make the best decision. Once you know what you are working with you can make a better decision on who sits at what table but where the tables are going to be as well and who is in proximity with the rest of your guests.
Finally, if you are going to do assigned seating take the time to do it right. At every wedding, there might be the occasional person that you don’t know where to place. However, you will be able to tell the difference in your wedding day if you have put enough thought into the seating chart because the wedding will go so smooth if you did.
Thank you so much for your time!