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Assigned Seating: Yes or no?

In our 170+ weddings we have hosted, we see many unique things, but also some trends. One question we are often asked by couples is if they should have assigned seating for their guests. To answer this, we give a few different options.

Option 1: Some couples like the style of everyone having an assigned a seat. This is popular if you have many guests that don't know each other. For example, have all the groom's coworkers sit together. It can also work if you need to separate guests. This can be done in two ways: A: have a large sign that lists the table number and the guests names.

A sign that lists all the wedding guests names and what table they are sitting at.
Assigned seating chart with guests names. Photo by ATL Phtography

B: Have placecards in alphabetical order on a table printed with each guests name and table number. This works well to reserve a specific seat at the table.

Placecards on a table printed with guests name and table number.
Placecards can be printed with guest names and table numbers. Photo by Blessed & Beautiful Photography

Pro Tip: allow enough time to get all the seats assigned and a sign printed to display at the wedding...and even more time if you are creating individual place cards. Sometimes this can cause more stress, especially if other personalities are involved in creating the seating chart, so it may not be worth the effort. Also, be sure to get the names of the "Plus 1" for the chart/place cards.

Option 2: Have assigned seating for the bridal party and immediate family. This option seems to be the most popular as these guests are placed right in front of the head table. Think parents, grandparents, ushers, flower girl, ring bearer, significant others of the bridal party, etc. We are seeing more couples choosing to have a sweetheart table (where only the bride and groom sit up front) so reserved seating can also used for the bridal party (and their plus ones). This can be done with place cards having individual names at each place setting, or a reserved sign on the table.

A reserved sign on a table for the immdiate family.
Reserved seating sign for guest tables by the head table. Photo by Dstichert Photography

Pro Tip: If you are doing a reserved sign, be sure to let your guests know ahead of time that they are sitting at the specific table. It is also common to have the reserved tables served a plated or family style meal while having the rest of your guests go through a buffet line.

Option 3: Offer open seating for all guests. Besides the immediate family table, many couples choose this option. A: It saves you time (and some stress) of figuring out a seating chart, and B: it gives your guests the ability to choose where they want to sit. Pro Tip: Have place cards near the welcome table, where guests can write their name and reserve their own seat before the dinner.

Write your name on a placecard to reserve your seat. Photo by Uneven Pavement Productions.

These are one of the many things we discuss with our couples during the planning process, final walk-through and as we are finalizing their layout. Contact us to reserve your date!

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