Wedding Seating Arrangements: Assigned vs. Open Seating?
Are you weighing your options for seating choices at your wedding? There are many options to consider! Ultimately, your decision is dependent upon the atmosphere you want at your wedding, the effort you want to put into crafting a seating chart, and your personal preferences.
Traditionally, seating for the ceremony has consisted of the bride’s family and friends to the left side of the aisle and the groom’s family and friends to the right, if looking from the back of the aisle to the altar. For the reception, there are usually tables reserved for immediate family and close friends nearest to the newlyweds. As you move further away from the couple, the tables begin to consist more of those old friends from college who you talk to once a year, or your mom’s best friend’s daughter.
Tradition is always an option- but it is 2022- so modernization is as well! There are quite a few weddings that are moving away from the ‘traditional’ layout, and these sides are no longer reserved for a ‘bride’ and ‘groom’ when there are weddings with two brides or two grooms happening every day.
Like with many things in life, a pros and cons list can solve a multitude of issues. We’ve taken the liberty of making one for you:
- Order and organization – two of my favorite words! Having assigned seating streamlines the seating process for guests and everyone knows where to go to get started for dinner.
- Can strategically keep those more difficult family members separated.
- Provides a more structured and formal atmosphere to your day. Many times immediate and extended family have post ceremony photos which mean they arrive at the reception later, it is nice that they do not have to figure out where to sit. The same is true of guests that attend with children that may have to pit stop to the restroom before joining the reception, it can be pretty challenging to find a table with 4-6 seats open for a family to be able to all sit together.
- Adds the stress of creating a seating chart – which can be a source of many headaches and hours of work.
- Guests might be unhappy with who they get sat with.
- Can cause issues if someone who did not RSVP with their plus 1 shows up with an additional guest for their table.
- Does not cost the couple any time, money, or stress to plan.
- Guests get to sit with those they are comfortable with.
- Has a more relaxed atmosphere for guests.
- Can allow for accommodation of those guests who ”forgot” to RSVP.
- Can cause confusion and be a bit hectic.
- Some of the more introverted guests may feel a bit awkward not knowing where to go.
- Can cause the issue of guests wandering and talking to everyone, pushing your timeline.
In the end, it is fully up to you and your significant other! There are also ‘middle of the road’ options such as assigning tables rather than assigned seats. Whatever seating arrangement you may choose, the coordinators at CTC are here to help you in this process!
Associate Wedding Coordinator | Content Creator,
Cue The Champagne Event Planning and Design Chattanooga Tennessee’s Premier
Wedding Planning and Event Studio Owned by Chattanooga Wedding Planner and Wedding Coordinator Shaun Mosley
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