To Assign or Not to Assign?.. That is the Question.

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LAcat88 Posts : 39 Registered: 9/15/07
To Assign or Not to Assign?.. That is the Question.
Posted: Nov 28, 2010 5:56 PM

I'm having trouble deciding whether or not to assign seating at my reception

The guest list is at 300 people and we're having a buffet. If we decide not to assign seating to each guest we will provide 20% more seating and reserve groupings for large parties like big families (we have a couple families of 6 or more).

We are using rectangular tables in long rows kind of like a giant Thanksgiving dinner.

I was hoping for some feedback from people who have attended weddings with and without assigned seating.

Which did you prefer? If you had any advice on how one or the other could be run more smoothly.

PS I don't really want to hear about it being an opportunity for matchmaking. Thats creepy.

PPS We are also having bowls of fresh fruits, nuts and bread with olive oil for dipping along all the tables so waiting for dinner to be served won't be an overly urgent matter. (I love snacking and my fiance loves bread)

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myras Posts : 396 Registered: 2/26/10
Re: To Assign or Not to Assign?.. That is the Question.
Posted: Nov 28, 2010 6:55 PM Go to message in response to: LAcat88

In general, I favor assigned tables, but not assigned seats. Especially with a crowd of 300, you can really have a mess if people don't know where they're sitting. Of course, it's easier to do assigned tables with the traditional round or rectangle for ten people. With your long tables, perhaps you can divide them into sections and assign people to a section. As for not wanting to hear about matchmaking, yeah, that might sound creepy to you, though I've never thought there was anythning wrong with putting two people together and letting them get to know each other. But I definitely favor hosts' seating groups together who will have something in common, something to talk about, whether that's careers, age, education, coming from a similar geographic area--whatever. I think that shows care and consideration on the part of the hosts (and NOT going that extra mile to make guests comfortable indicates, to me, laziness on the part of the hosts).

myra@classysassyweddings.com

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LAcat88 Posts : 39 Registered: 9/15/07
Re: To Assign or Not to Assign?.. That is the Question.
Posted: Nov 28, 2010 9:39 PM Go to message in response to: myras

I agree that putting your guests with similar tastes next to one another is a thoughtful thing to do for guests. But that could be my Aunt Marge and former roommate Lisa who both share a love for Swedish food and Baroque painting but I think its creepy to put a guy and a girl together only to get them dating "Oh, you like pizza too? What a coincidence..."

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dodgercpkl Posts : 130 Registered: 9/27/09
Re: To Assign or Not to Assign?.. That is the Question.
Posted: Nov 29, 2010 4:10 AM Go to message in response to: LAcat88

I'm going to chime in and say that I'd do assigned tables rather then seats or free-for-all. I really liked taking the time to make sure that my groupings had stuff in common (all play the same online game, speak Dutch, whatever it might be) and no I didn't use it for matchmaking.


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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: To Assign or Not to Assign?.. That is the Question.
Posted: Nov 29, 2010 6:35 AM Go to message in response to: LAcat88

Dear LA,

Assigned tables is the way to go.

I have been to weddings and other large parties where seating is a free-for-all. Disaster. What happens is that the last bunch of people arriving in the room gets scattered around the room, one free seat here, one free seat there.

Usually, the people who arrive last are the slow-movers, such as families with young children, elderly or handicapped people, who are most in need of convenient seating with others who can assist them.

If you assign tables, then people can shift around within the table, but family and other groups still are assured of getting seated together.

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Agape14 Posts : 201 Registered: 12/31/08
Re: To Assign or Not to Assign?.. That is the Question.
Posted: Nov 29, 2010 8:15 AM Go to message in response to: LAcat88

I'm a big fan of things being organized at large events, and having no assigned seating (or at least assigned tables) is a disaster waiting to happen. And like Myra said, seems a bit lazy on the part of the bride and groom.

I've been to a wedding with no assigned seats/tables, and thankfully it worked out for me because I was among some of the first people to arrive at the reception. But there were people who arrived later that looked very awkward and uncomfortable searching for somewhere to sit.

Getting the seating chart ready for my wedding was one of the most difficult parts of the preparation (we had assgined seats) but I think the effort paid off since I was able to keep friends with friends, relatives apart when necessary, and generally ensure the comfort of my guests. And we had rectangles joined together exactly as you described, so there's no added difficulty doing assigned seating in that scenario.

Definitely, 100%, my vote is for assigned seats/tables. And if you have lots of families coming, I would do assigned seats to ensure that parents aren't scrambling looking for somewhere to put their whole family as a group.

 

 

~~Life's tough, wear a cup~~

Daisypath Anniversary tickers

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PharmToxGirl Posts : 5,446 Registered: 8/30/07
Re: To Assign or Not to Assign?.. That is the Question.
Posted: Nov 29, 2010 8:40 AM Go to message in response to: LAcat88

I'm for assigned tables. I really dislike non-assigned table weddings as it can then be hard for even a couple to find seats together.

So that is my suggestion. As you have long tables, I like the idea of dividing them up into sections - that might be easier.

 

 

 

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MizJodi Posts : 65 Registered: 3/8/07
Re: To Assign or Not to Assign?.. That is the Question.
Posted: Nov 30, 2010 6:49 PM Go to message in response to: PharmToxGirl

I don't like unassigned tables either. I've been to weddings solo, and gotten "stuck" at tables with people who don't care to socialize or talk, making it an awkward and not so fun experience. The family I knew, and had grown up with, but of course they were busy being in the wedding party!

So yeah, there's my two-cents worth :)

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Lemoncakeface Posts : 33 Registered: 11/13/09
Re: To Assign or Not to Assign?.. That is the Question.
Posted: Nov 30, 2010 8:21 PM Go to message in response to: MizJodi

Not to hijack your thread but...

I want to assign seating for my wedding but my FMIL keeps insisting that we shouldn't and it won't be a big deal to let 200 people find their own seats!

We're having a buffet too.

What should I do to convince her otherwise?
PS she's really sensitive.

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PharmToxGirl Posts : 5,446 Registered: 8/30/07
Re: To Assign or Not to Assign?.. That is the Question.
Posted: Nov 30, 2010 8:46 PM Go to message in response to: Lemoncakeface

LCF - ASSIGN TABLES! You do it, your FMIL will get over it.

Trust me, with 200 guests I would absolutely suggest assigned seating. Otherwise, everyone first out of the line will spread out amongst the tables. I've even had a hard time getting a seat with my date when there's no assigned tables.

I find it to be an incredibly frustrating experience when there is a dinner involved.

 

 

 

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pamelaliebwitz Posts : 8 Registered: 11/30/10
Re: To Assign or Not to Assign?.. That is the Question.
Posted: Nov 30, 2010 8:55 PM Go to message in response to: LAcat88

Why not just reserve seats for close family and the elderly? Everyone else should be able to figure it out.

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PharmToxGirl Posts : 5,446 Registered: 8/30/07
Re: To Assign or Not to Assign?.. That is the Question.
Posted: Nov 30, 2010 9:29 PM Go to message in response to: pamelaliebwitz

So you assign seats to specific people and say screw you to the rest you can fend for yourselves? If the elderly, why not people with kids (if they're invited) - - -

If you reserve tables - you reserve them for the BP and immediate family. But make sure A) You reserve enough tables/seats and the people know EXACTLY who's sitting there (one wedding it was 'great' sarcasm when the grandmom ended up pushed out by Aunt Frannie) and that you're not offending any family.

If you're talking 50 or so people, I think that this approach would really work. But with 200, that seems like A LOT to have to stand around finding seats.

If you don't do assigned tables, I suggest having more seats available then people at the wedding.

PLEASE for the love of god make sure you have enough seats for at least the people there. (Was just at a wedding like this recently.... Had to eat standing up.)

 

 

 

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smalltownlady Posts : 16 Registered: 8/18/10
Re: To Assign or Not to Assign?.. That is the Question.
Posted: Dec 1, 2010 5:22 PM Go to message in response to: LAcat88

Please assign tables! Your guests will thank you for it.

I was at one wedding where tables weren't assigned where I knew hardly anyone and ended up having an awkward dinner with strangers who were more interested in talking with the family they hadn't seen in a long time (perfectly understandable) and I ended up leaving the wedding early.

Even if I know people, I find free sitting a minefield- I never want to sit too close to the front or in the "choice" seats because I'm there as a friend, and I think family should have the best view, but then I'm never sure how big the family is, so I don't know where I should sit.

I may just overthink things :) but I dread weddings where tables aren't assigned. I wouldn't worry about specific seat assignments, but I'd suggest assigning tables.

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: To Assign or Not to Assign?.. That is the Question.
Posted: Dec 2, 2010 6:36 PM Go to message in response to: pamelaliebwitz

Dear Pam,

" Everyone else should be able to figure it out."

By the time my family of five enters the room, there will be one seat here, one seat there, etc. To avoid that, I will have to stand near the door waiting for it to be open, so I can dash in and nab five seats together.

Not so much a wedding reception as an airline departure gate where everyone wants to avoid getting dinged for checked baggage charges.

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Lemoncakeface Posts : 33 Registered: 11/13/09
Re: To Assign or Not to Assign?.. That is the Question.
Posted: Dec 14, 2010 2:30 AM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

I've resolved the issue.

First I made a list of the pro's and con's of each option and sat down with my fiance to talk about it. Once we were on the same side and had decided on an option, we had dinner with his parents and presented our decision and our reasons for doing so.

Everyone was cool and I served lemon cake and vanilla bean ice cream!

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