Recently I overheard a wedding planner on the phone with a bride’s mother. The mother was a little stressed out because her daughter wanted to have random seating for guests.
The wedding planner took a deep breather and patiently explained to the MOB how not having assigned table seating makes guests uncomfortable and creates chaos and confusion during the cocktail hour and as guests enter the ballroom for the wedding reception.
Let’s break this down:
1 – when guests enter the cocktail hour, one of the first things they do (after getting a cocktail) is to look for escort cards or a seating chart.
If they don’t see these the chaos begins, first the start asking each other, then they ask the servers, and then it trickles down to the family, parents and wedding planner.
No one enjoys themselves during the cocktail hour.
2 – as guests enter the ballroom the conversation of “ what do you mean there’s no assigned seating” rumbles through the room.
“Where do we sit?”, “ Do they have reserved seating for the wedding party and family?”, “Where are the newlyweds sitting?”
That’s the easy part. Hopefully, if you are choosing to do this, you have reserved seats for your grandmom who will be one of the last ones in the room.
You probably want to reserve seats for your parents as they will be chatting with old friends and making sure everyone makes it into the reception. You want them to have seats together where they can see First Dance, Parent Dances and Toasts.
While you’re at it, you might want to reserve yourselves two seats.
Now for the hard part, you want to add at least 10% more seats than you have guests. And, that means more centerpieces and linen too.
You see, a family of five and a couple will sit at a table leaving just one seat left.
And if you have ever been to the movies and watched people intentionally leave one seat between them and the next group you’ll see why you need extra seating.
All around, not assigning tables to guests makes everyone uncomfortable.