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Seating Charts vs. Open Seating: Which is Best for Your Reception?

As you plan your reception, you will begin to debate an age-old question that has plagued brides for decades: should I have a seating chart or open seating? While each option has its own advantages and disadvantages, we believe that the choice you make is largely dependent upon the unique style and details of your wedding. Below, we’ve broken down the pros and cons of each so that you can make the right choice for your special celebration!

(Photographer: Erin Morrison)

Seating Chart

  • One advantage to having a seating chart is that this option allows you to minimize any potential conflict between disagreeable wedding guests at your reception. Bitterly divorced parents, feuding siblings, and former frenemies immediately become a non-issue with a seating chart, as you can ensure that they have minimal contact for the duration of the event.
  • A seating chart also gives you a degree of control over individual guest’s experiences of your reception. For example, a seating chart guarantees that older guests are kept away from speakers and small children are out of the way of servers or high-traffic areas.
  • Additionally, you can minimize your rental costs by having a seating chart. By basing your chair rentals strictly off of your guest list, you know that you aren’t shelling out unnecessary money for seats that will stay empty all night.

(Photographer: Sun Kissed Smiles)

Open Seating

  • As obvious as this may sound, one of the greatest advantages to open seating is simply that you don’t have to worry about the confusion and hassle of creating a seating chart. If you’re trying to avoid creating any more logistical nightmares for yourself and you don’t have any family conflict, open seating may be the ideal shortcut for you.
  • Furthermore, choosing to have open seating may reduce the cost of your printwork. More often than not, a seating chart also necessitates signage (such as a canvas print of the chart itself) as well as table numbers and escort cards, the cost of which could significantly affect your printwork budget.
  • Lastly, open seating ensures that no parties get broken up. As weddings are, by definition, a time for family and friends to come together, you will likely have large groups of people who want to sit together at your reception. Although you will almost certainly have to rent additional chairs to accommodate these parties, open seating allows for everyone to spend the evening with the people they want to see most!

(Photographer: Sullivan Photography)

Do you have other tips for wedding seating? Fill out the form below! Otherwise, we’ll be back next week!