If you have prepared a table plan for your wedding day, it is likely you will be considering whether or not to assign your guests specific seats on that table for your wedding breakfast. Deciding who should sit at which table with whom is challenging enough without adding specific assigned seating into the mix. It is only natural for couples who are planning their wedding to think about whether they need assigned seating or not.
So, should you have assigned seating at your wedding? You may want to consider assigned seating at your wedding, for logistical reasons. Assigned seating is useful for caterers serving the wedding breakfast and can be necessary if your venue is on the smaller side and you have a precise amount of seating. However, if your wedding is more free flow and you would like to give guests the option of where to sit, leaving the seating arrangements open can be a great option.
There are many different factors that may influence your decision when it comes to whether or not to have assigned seating at your wedding.
This could be problematic for a couple of different reasons, one of which being catering logistics and dietary requirements.
Your caterer or wedding coordinator may have directly asked you or spoken about assigned seating or a table plan for your wedding, and you may be wondering what this actually is.
What Is Wedding Assigned Seating?
Wedding assigned seating is where the couple getting married have put together a table plan for where they would like their guests to sit during the wedding breakfast. This can be done either by table or by table places.
For example, the bride and groom may have chosen a group of people to sit together on a table but with flexibility about who sits where.
Or alternatively, the bride and groom may have specifically thought about who sits in which seat in relation to one another and marked the place with a name card.
Wedding assigned seating can be incredibly useful for a number of different reasons, but it can also be an extremely challenging logistical task to navigate.
Wedding assigned seating is an extremely common practice; in fact, every single wedding I have attended (and trust me, I’ve been to a few!), there has been assigned seating for guests.
Often, wedding assigned seating is a requirement of your caterer or venue, and therefore couples have no choice to devise a seating plan.
If you are opting for a relaxed, free-flowing vibe on your wedding day and perhaps serving your wedding meal as a buffet, a rigid assigned seating plan may not suit your wedding.
That is no problem at all, there is no obligation to offer assigned seating at a wedding, but it can make things a little easier to manage on your wedding day.
Why You Should Consider Wedding Assigned Seating
Couples should consider wedding assigned seating because it can help the logistical side of your wedding day with the catering and number of tables and seats far easier to manage. If guests have allergies or dietary requirements, wedding assigned seating can enable caterers or your wedding coordinator to provide for their needs with ease. Wedding assigned seating can also ensure that guests are grouped together according to who the couple thinks will get on well and that no one is left out or separated from their partner or family due to unequal distribution of seating at a table.
Where the wedding ceremony is concerned, churches and venues alike recommend perhaps reserving a few seats at the front for close members of the bridal party and family but allowing for guests to fill the space as they arrive.
Assigned seating is not at all necessary for your ceremony. However, if it is your preference as a couple, there is nothing stopping you!
The seating for your wedding breakfast, on the other hand, may require some forethought, and assigned seating may likely be required.
There are a number of different reasons why assigned seating may work for you, but if it is something that you do not feel would work for your wedding or your guests, there is no obligation to offer a seating plan.
Personally, I much prefer weddings where there is an assigned seating plan – it makes the decision far easier for guests as to who they are sitting with and guarantees that couples or families will be sat together.
With a more open seating plan, there is a risk that couples or families will be separated for the wedding breakfast due to a lack of seating available or that chairs and tables are moved around.
This is problematic not only in terms of guests’ enjoyment but can also lead to confusion in terms of catering.
Particularly if any guest has allergies or dietary requirements that need to be considered.
Whilst organizing, arranging, and putting together a seating plan may feel like an overwhelming task for you and your partner prior to your wedding, on the day, you will feel grateful that you invested that time in the seating arrangements to avoid any unnecessary drama or confusion with the food!
If you are wondering where to begin when putting together your assigned seating at your wedding, here are a few tips and tricks that we have picked up along the way when putting together our own seating plan!
How Do You Do Assigned Seating At A Wedding?
The best way to do assigned seating at a wedding is to use a table plan displayed during the reception of your wedding where guests can find out which table they are to be sat on and then use name place cards to assign specific seats for guests at the different tables.
Using software like an excel spreadsheet worked well for us when deciding our table groups for assigned seating.
What I mean by this is the groups of people who we think would work well seated together at our wedding, and only that.
We started by looking at the different families we had invited – the different relatives on each side – and stated grouping our tables from there.
It is important to note that there is total freedom and flexibility when assigning seating at your wedding.
There is no rule book that says all families must be sat together; instead, opt for combinations of people you think might like to sit together and would get on well.
In doing this, you are automatically creating a good atmosphere for your wedding breakfast celebration.
It is a good idea to check with your venue about table sizes and the layout that your tables can be in.
Having first thought we had absolutely smashed the table plan at first glance when we sent it for approval from our venue, there were a few issues with our table plan that we needed to tweak.
This meant moving guests around from table to table, and it was no easy task to be perfectly candid!
However, I am so pleased that we have rectified the issue and hope that our assigned seating will allow for the wedding breakfast portion of our day to run smoothly.
Name cards are something that I feel can help to accomplish a fuss-free wedding breakfast, if that is your wish!
On our table plan, there is a family who are seated together, but the parents are separated.
By using name cards, we can seat the family – they have young children – together at the wedding, but the parents are a few seats apart, keeping everyone happy!
For other couples at your wedding, you may be wondering if they should be seated together or opposite one another at your wedding.
Do Couples Sit Across Or Next To Each Other At Weddings?
Couples should be sat together at your wedding, how they are seated depends on the type of table you are choosing to have. If you are opting for round tables, couples should be seated directly next to one another; if, however, your choice is a banquet style or rectangular table, it is more traditional to seat couples opposite to one another. However, you can seat them side by side if that is your preference.
Weddings are about celebrating the unity between the bride and groom, so it only seems right that couples are sat together.
There are, of course, exceptions to this; for example, if one half of the couple is the best man or maid of honor and is, therefore, sat at the top table, their partner may have to sit elsewhere.
It is always recommended that if you need to separate couples for whatever reason, you sit them with people that they know.
Personally, I always enjoy sitting with my partner at weddings we attend. We came together, so I feel it is right that we sit together too!
Weddings can be great opportunities for spending time with families and friends and allowing couples to share this experience with one another also is a really lovely gesture.
Hey, I’m Allison – a bride-to-be and the chief editor here at Everlasting Occasion. Here I document all the knowledge and experience I have accumulated since researching for my wedding over two years ago. I try to answer those many questions couples have when planning their dream wedding.