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Assigned or Open Seating at Our Reception?

December 13, 2010

Sara from Boone, NC asks:  Should we have assigned seating at our wedding reception?

(A collaborative post by Kailey and Megan)

Opting to do either assigned or open seating is an important decision when it comes to the final planning for your wedding reception.  Although we tend to lean more towards assigned seating, this decision is really dependent on the type of feel you want for your wedding and there are advantages and disadvantages to both options.  Assigned seating adds a level of formality to your wedding and will start your reception off in an organized fashion.  With open seating, you’re setting the stage for a more of a free-flowing/mingling atmosphere for your event.

Some of the drawbacks to consider when doing open seating include:

  • elderly guests may end up seated where they can’t hear or see anything
  • It makes it easier for couples to get split up if tables start to fill up and there are only single seats left scattered throughout the room
  • Your guests may end up at a table with people they do not know and don’t have much in common with
  • Guests have to wander around looking for a place to sit and this can delay your event getting started on time

If you do decide to do open seating, one great way to make sure that your elderly guests, immediate family, and bridal party still have a great seat is to do just a few assigned/reserved tables for just these VIP guests and then have the rest of your guests at open seating.  Open seating does allow for guests to interact with each other more and can create new friendships between people who otherwise wouldn’t have met if they hadn’t ended up at the same table for your wedding.  We’ve had several weddings where the brides have opted to do open seating because they want a more fun and relaxed atmosphere.   Either way, your reception should be reflective of your own style and personality so consider your guest list, what type of feel you want for your reception, and what you yourself would be most comfortable with as a guest at someone else’s wedding and this should guide you in the right direction.  Hope this helps Sara!

Don’t forget, if you have a question, ask us!

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