A large part of what I aim to do with Every Last Detail is answer questions that brides might have. When I was planning, I could never find answers, and I had nowhere I could turn to ask questions. I have a little section here on ELD where you can submit your questions, but I also encourage you to ask questions in the comments of posts too! Today’s question came via a comment on a post about 6 Things Your Wedding Guests Will Hate, and I thought it would be helpful if I shared my answer…
“My wedding is going to be EXTREMELY small. I’m talking ballpark 40 person guest list. Do you still recommend a seating chart regardless?”
The short answer: yes, I still recommend assigned seating even if you’re having a small wedding.
A good determining factor for this would depend on the other elements of your wedding, like the way you are serving your meal, the way your reception is setup, and the general style and ambiance of your wedding.
Meal: If you’re doing a plated meal, I still recommend assigned seating, as meal selections are often indicated by escort cards/place cards. If you’re doing a buffet or stations, you could definitely get away with no assigned seating.
Reception Setup: If your reception is taking place in a small location, chances are there may be very limited seating options and space. Something that commonly happens when guests are able to choose their own seats is they pull chairs up to other tables. The last thing you want is 12 people at a table that is only sized to fit 8. This would make it nearly impossible for all 12 people to be eating from a dinner plate at the same time, and thus affecting the experience that your guests are having. And let’s not forget the ability for a catering staff to be serving your food- you don’t want to make it difficult for them to do the job that you’re paying them to do!
On the flip side, if you perhaps have one big long table (which is think is awesome for a small wedding), it’s very helpful to assign seats by using place cards. This would ensure that every person gets a seat and there aren’t open seats in between guests.
Style: If your wedding is of a more formal style, then yes, you definitely want to assign seats no matter what. But if you’re having a wedding with more of a casual, laid back feel, then chances are good that you’ll be serving food in a more casual manner, so feel free to forego assigned seating and let everyone do as they please!
While assigned seating is highly recommended for larger guest counts, it also serves other purposes too. In addition to everything I stated above, one of the major benefits of assigned seating is to keep things organized and prevent people from having to dilly-dally, deciding on where to sit. Have you ever been faced with the question of where to sit at an event, dinner party, etc? I don’t know about you, but I myself hate it, so I think of it as saving everyone that pain and agony of having to decide on where to sit. ;)
With all that said, I also recommend reading the following posts for more information on assigned seating:
Do you have any other questions about assigned seating? Ask away in the comments below!