How to Have a Successful Seated Dinner Without a Seating Chart

W. Scott Chester

Seating charts: they're arguably one of the most annoying parts of planning a wedding, not to mention super stressful when you have a bunch of guests who would simply throw a fit if you sat them anywhere near each other. Then again, there are always those guests that complain about not getting seated next to a certain someone, too. Luckily, there are several ways to avoid the killer headache and still have a successful sit-down dinner sans seating chart. We've compiled a few solutions to help make your life a little easier.

Have Assigned Tables

The obvious solution here is to nix the individual seating assignments altogether and just assign your friends and family to specific tables. This will, of course, entail a seating chart in some form or fashion, nevertheless, it will cut down on the total amount of time and work and nuisance spent creating it.

Do Open Seating With a Few Reserved Tables

For a more casual, backyard affair or a wedding where most of your guests are already acquainted with one another, open seating with reserved tables for immediate family members, elder guests, and the bridal party could work perfectly.

Create King Tables

One way San Francisco-based destination wedding planner and founder of BuzzWorthy Events, Ashley Smith, eliminates the whole seating chart is by setting up long "King tables" or banquet tables for guests to sit at. "If the venue allows, try to seat 32+ guests at each," she advises. In most cases, you'll be able to fit two or three long King tables side by side. "This way, the space is open enough that everyone can find a seat wherever they'd like and still feel that they're a part of the whole group," she explains. Long tables also help create a special atmosphere that is more communal and less segregated, as well as easier on service styles. Ideally, everyone should get their food around the same time, have similar views and no one will feel like they weren't a priority to you.

Signify Tables With Décor

"One way of doing this would be, for example, if you wanted all of the family to sit at one table to decorate it with items that would be obvious to them," Smith explains. "You can thoughtfully drop hints with decor that would persuade certain people to gravitate toward certain tables." Be warned brides: this idea can be a bit tricky and you may have some guests who just won't get it. Thus, it'd be wise to have your planner on hand or a few people ready to help facilitate seating. However, if you know your crowd, then go for it!

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