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Assigned seating is for sure not required at your wedding. While it can be helpful for your guests, it can either be a fun or a stressful part of wedding planning for you. It’s all in how you set up your guest list from the start, but we’ll get to that in a minute. First we’re going to dive into the pros and cons of having assigned seating at your wedding and then we’ll give you tips on how to do it in a way that’s not stressful! 

As a side note, when we say “assigned seating” we’re talking about assigned tables and actually assigning seats, which are different things, but again, more on that later.

These are our professional opinions and you have to choose what is best for you! These pros/cons may also apply if you’re giving your guests meal options. 

Reasons to not have assigned seating

Getting people to RSVP for your wedding is a job all in itself, and can feel even more weighty when you’re trying to do assigned seating. Some other things to consider:

  • If you’re giving guests a +1, you’ll need them to give you the name of the person they’re bringing 
  • You will have guests who RSVP but don’t end up showing up, if they’re all part of one family, you may have half a table missing 
  • You will also have guests who forget to RSVP (and never respond to your texts about it) but still come and their names won’t be on the list
  • We, as the planner, need lists in alphabetical order, and in table order so we can direct guests to their seats 

Reasons we love assigned seating at weddings

Okay, let’s move on to the pros or positives of having assigned seating at your wedding. The main reason we love it is that your guests won’t be wandering around, trying to figure out where to sit. You’ll leave them with a sense of feeling seen and thought about at your wedding. Most of the time your family/friends will automatically sit with the people you know they’ll know, but you may have a few people who don’t know many other guests. We suggest putting them at a table with people who either also don’t know many people, or finding common denominators – like jobs, colleges, home states, etc. – and using that to match those guests. 

Assigned seats versus assigned tables

Now onto the difference between assigned seats and tables. Assigned tables states the obvious – you’re just assigning 8-10 people to a certain table. Assigning seats will take a bit more of your time to say “this person should sit beside this person” and create a diagram / layout for your planner to set out. If your wedding is over 100 people we highly recommend just doing assigned tables and not actually assigning seats for everyone. Planning on less than 100 guests? Name cards on the table can be a nice added touch. We’ve even had couples hand write notes to serve as the name cards on the table, which we think is so sweet and thoughtful! Just make sure that 

Tips for managing seating assignments at your wedding

There are two ways to do a seating chart at your wedding, and if you’re doing any type of assigned seating you must have a large seating chart. The first is by table. For this type of seating chart you’ll list the table number first and then start alphabetically (typically by last name) for those sitting at that table number. The other way is to do it alphabetically, and then add the number behind the person’s name. Most tables (round or rectangle) can hold between 8-10 people, so keep that in mind when making your seating chart. Here are our other tips

  1. As you’re making your initial invite list, go ahead and group people by category, for example:  
    • Your family
    • Your Fiancé’s family
    • Bridal Party and plus ones
    • Your childhood / college friends
    • Your Fiancé’s childhood / college friends
    • Your / Your Fiancé’s work friends 
    • Other groups (do any of these other guests need to be best friends but just haven’t met yet? 
  2. As you receive each RSVP, begin tracking them by groups of 8-10 inside each category and creating a starter list of tables. Allie would recommend color coordinating people at each table who must be there and then those that could be at the next table (like aunts/uncles together, but cousins could be at that table or another depending on how many RSVP).
  3. Determine sooner rather than later how you want to do your seating chart (by table or by last name) and if you’re doing assigned seats at each table. 
  4. Follow up with your guests 1 week after your RSVP date is and let them know you’re assigning tables and need to know to print the seating chart (you can even say this on your website / invite if you want)
  5. Leave a few empty seats for those who show without RSVPing
  6. Review and print your list 1-2weeks before and print your pretty chart at least 2 weeks before if you’re ordering
  7. If you’re doing assigned seats/thank you notes, tell your planner which direction you want the names to be placed around the table. 

Whew, we know that’s a lot of information, but we hope it truly helps you navigate assigning tables and seats at your wedding! 

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