Shadowland on Silver Beach

WeddingWire Couples' Choice Award Winner badge The Knot Best of Weddings Hall of Fame badge

Shadowland Blog

Why Assign Tables?

Posted on

Just when you think you’re at the finish line of wedding planning you remember something—you were planning on assigning guests to tables. So you find the motivation, get your chilled glass of rose, and get ready to settle in for a night of fun. And you start. And you get about 5 minutes in before you realize this is the worst thing ever. You think, do I have to really do this? Well, I’m some circumstances no; you can get away with an open seating plan, but only sometimes. Trust me, sometimes you will need to buckle down and really assign your cousin Joe to sit with your friend from work to fill a table and that’s okay! But when is it appropriate for open seating and when is it not? Read on to find out!

BG Photography Studios

Seating rules largely depend on the kind of dinner service you are planning. For couples going with buffet service, family style, or duet plates opening seating could work because guests will be either be served the same meal or have to walk to the buffet and help themselves so catering team doesn’t need to know who is sitting where to make service go smoothly. For guests with special meals they can ask the buffet attendant or server coming to the table for their meal and all is well. However, for those opting for plated choices, assigned seating is imperative to make dinner run well. If table 1 has 5 chicken, 1 fish, and 1 kid how will the catering team know that? At Shadowland, we make a chart once the escort cards are set up and we check all the meals assigned to each table, check that the counts match the order, and then during service only send the meals needed to each table. While it’s not foolproof, it does lend itself to a smoother service. This leads us to an important note: escort cards guests pick up need to have some sort of indicator of what the guest ordered. Because guess what? They won’t remember! They could have ordered chicken but once they see the beef lookin’ real tasty they could want to switch and throw counts off. Most caterers will allow for a few switches, but it’s never good to leave that to chance.

Open seating could also incur some additional expenses. Because tables aren’t assigned, it’s smart to put in at least one full extra table in case guests don’t fill every single seat. If renting chairs or chair covers, you could have to pay for seats that may potentially not get used. Assigning tables also helps guests feel a bit better sometimes. It sometimes helped to be guided and led along, especially if they aren’t familiar with the space your wedding is happening. Even if opting for open seating,

Courtney Carolyn Photography

maybe think about including signage with a fun rhyme to let guests know there isn’t a specific seating chart.


Open seating does lend itself to a more casual feel, but sometimes assigned seating is the way to go to ensure a smooth night for your wedding. And isn’t that what every couple is looking for? I know, it’s a pain and a hassle right at the end of planning and about the last thing you wanna do. But it is totally worth it if you’re having a plated meal, trust me, you till thank yourself later when your wedding goes off without a hitch!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *