Pros and Cons of a Wedding Seating Chart

Seating Charts. They can be one of the most complicated and intricate parts of wedding planning.  Many brides will find themselves wondering if it’s worth the trouble, or unaware of their need/lack of need for one.  If you’re stuck staring at your guest list unmotivated to proceed, it’s time to consider the pros and cons of assigned seats!

Pros:

Weddings with assigned seating are typically marked by a certain level of organization, size, and formality.   In sit-down dinner situations, giving guests a place to be ensures that everyone has a seat in specific groups, and it allows you the control to keep couples, families, and friends together. Particularly for larger weddings, this can save a lot of time on the front end of the reception. In addition, seating charts may prevent the awkwardness for guests going around asking if seats are taken or trying to find a table with a certain number of seats together. You typically see more formal weddings with this style of seating, as it creates a traditional, ceremonial feel for guests. 

One thing a lot of brides forget to consider is that seating charts can also save you some money and resources! Placing people beforehand will allow you an exact number of seats for each guest, with a specific number of tables and chairs.  This keeps you from having to provide an extra 10-15% seats for those smaller groups of friends or random guests that don’t know where else to sit. 

Cons:

While you may be sold on seating charts for the idea of staying organized and concise, it’s important to also consider the possibility of open seating. One of the biggest downsides to seating charts is that people have become negligent of RSVPing.  If you put in all the work to place people but then more show up than the amount that responded, you’ll end up with too few chairs and a chaotic scramble trying to rearrange everything.  There is also the possibility of those who reserve their spot but don’t end up coming, which will only add to those complications.  

 Regardless of how it all pans out the day of, the entire process of putting together a chart can be extremely time consuming.  Between forming groups, getting names right, and filling up tables, the hassle may not be worth it in the end. Especially for those trying to cut down on wedding planning time, seating charts may not be a good option for you.  Plus, having open seating can be so freeing for guests!  It allows everyone to sit with who they want and feel more casual and relaxed during dinner!

If you’re still unsure of whether or not to go through with the process, consider the size, types of guests, and reception style of your wedding.  For smaller weddings where most of your guests will know each other, a seating chart probably won’t be necessary.  On the other hand, if you have many random guests who may feel singled out in crowds of old friends, a chart may help them feel more at ease and included!  But most importantly, arranged or open seating should match the style of your reception.  If you’re not even having a sit down dinner, let guests sit where they want!  Open seating is perfect for receptions with only dessert tables or coffee bars!  

Whichever your wedding warrants, the goal is to create the best atmosphere for both you and your guests.  Be confident with the direction you choose, and go cross it off your list!