Assigned Seating vs. Open Seating
By: Natalie Dedas, Sales & Events Coordinator
I have recently had a number of clients have that “oh no” moment when it comes to even contemplating about doing a seating chart for their wedding reception. As your event coordinator, I couldn’t understand more.
What’s the problem? At times it can be hard to try and please everyone attending the wedding, and as the host you want to do your best to accommodate everyone’s specific needs. It’s easy to stress over who goes where and how many people you should put at each table. Seating charts should not have this much power over you! It’s time to take charge. Every family dynamic is different. You need to decide what is best for your group and proceed forward, with coffee in hand of course.
There are pros and cons to assigned seating as well as opening seating. Let’s look at some of these closely…
Takes no time to put together
Guests can choose where they want to sit
Extra tables can be available
Guests walking around asking, “Is this seat taken?”
Seats can get stolen
No guaranteed seats
Can be chaotic
Everyone has designated seat
No extra tables
You can control who sits next to who
Keep certain people separate from one another
Can cause multiple headaches
Extremely time consuming
In our Main Hall Package event space at The Ice House, we an open layout with a second level mezzanine for extended seating upstairs. Even though this is a separate space, it overlooks the first level, it is not located in a separate room. This is a great area to utilize for that specific group of people you know could care less where they sit, they’re just there to have a good time. For example: your college buddies, neighbors, family friends or children.
You can please all of your close relatives by seating them on our Main Hall level next to your immediate family and the bridal party. Always remember if you choose to go with the open seating route, you must have reserved signs for your family tables.
Another helpful tip: If you are doing a full three course seated dinner and you have multiple dietary restrictions, it is in your best interest, your caterers and your guests to do assigned seating. You want to make your guests feel as comfortable as possible in knowing that the caterer is fully aware of their dietary needs ahead of time. They will definitely thank you for this later!
Don’t forget, there’s always a happy medium by doing assigned tables. You have a relaxed way of seating your guests in “groups” rather than sticking them at a table with potentially a bunch of people they may not know. This is always an easy route, it pleases all and most importantly allows you to keep a level head. Not to mention its always good to have a bit of organization!