There’s no hiding it, creating the seating chart for your wedding isn’t the easiest. You’re limited by the number of seats at a table and sometimes you just can’t get that group of 11 down to 10. Sometimes it’s overwhelming to even know where to begin. That begs the question, do I have to assign seats? The short of it, not always but you should be aware of the pros and cons to each.

Assigning Tables

You can assign tables and let guests pick their own seats or go as far as to also assign seats at the assigned tables. Assigned seats are more common for a very formal event, a plated dinner or if you are concerned about someone at the same table sitting near each other.

Things to consider:

  • More traditional and expected at a more formal or black-tie event
  • It helps avoid drama because you can separate family or friends you know don’t get along
  • Can add last minute stress because you have to wait until all RSVPs are in
  • If you have a plated meal, you will likely need to assigntables (and possibly seats!)

Not Assigning Tables

Keep in mind, even if you don’t assign tables for everyone you may want to reserve tables for bridal party, family and yourselves!

Things to consider:

  • Creates a more casual feel
  • Works best with stations or buffetstyle dinners
  • Can create a mad dash to claim a spotwhen the reception space opens
  • Doesn’t give guests a place to store their coats and/or purses
  • Older guests will expect a seat, but they don’t always get one

Keep In Mind

  • If you don’t assign tablesand are having a buffet rather than cocktail style event with stations, we recommend having more seats than you have confirmed guests.
  • With unassigned seating, make sure your family and bridal party know who is to sit at reserved tables.
  • With assigned tables and assigned seats, you still need a seating chart to direct guests which table to go to, then place cards at each seat to direct guests to their specific seat. With unassigned seating, a sign is always helpful so guests know they can sitwherever.
  • Lounge seating is always a good idea with unassigned seating (plus it’s so cute!).

Watch more of our pro tips here:

Love these tips?

Subscribe to our “Every Day I’m Bustlin’” podcast by clicking HERE for more weekly planning tips and tricks from our co-founders and vetted vendor guests.

Photo Credit [vetted] Michelle Davina Photography