I remember when I was planning my wedding…. Thoughts of a top table horrified me, I mean, between us my husband and I have 5 sets of parents, how was that ever going to work?! Plus, seating charts are like forced fun, right? Being sat next to someone you don’t know, or worse, relegated to the singles’ or children’s table! I was determined to buck tradition and let people sit wherever the hell they wanted!
Slowly but surely, everyone, from people I knew, to blogs I read, seemed to be systematically raining on my parade. They all insisted that the idea wasn’t as great as it first seemed! Under the weight of pressure (and being a bit chicken!) I gave in, so it was with curiosity and trepidation that I approached the first wedding I planned where the couple insisted on it. Having seen both sides here are my thoughts…
- Daze & confusion: People expect seating charts, so when faced with the prospect of choice, things tend to move more slowly. No one wants to be first to sit down, people are reluctant to sit next to someone they don’t for fear that they’re taking a seat reserved for someone else, and so filling up the tables takes so much longer than it should. As a planner, tasked with making sure everything stays on a strict timeline, this can be frustrating..
- You lose control: maybe you’re lucky enough to come from one of those families where everyone gets along and the risk of an alcohol fueled squabble is unlikely…. Man, I envy you! For most of us, having the opportunity to influence who sits with who gives us some peace of mind that our guests are going to enjoy themselves and avoid any history making showdowns!
- Picture perfect: Seating charts are stunning! You only have to do a quick pinterest search to see all the incredible variations out there. It’s a great way to add personality and individuality to your wedding decor…why give that up..?!
Ok… so yeah… we're basically on the side of the seating chart on this one BUT, having said that, if you still think the free for all is the best option for you… here are some times when it might be the right decision.
- You’re having an intimate wedding. If your guest list is 20 people or less and/or everyone knows each other it’s probably redundant.
- You can’t be bothered to think about it and you’re pretty laid back! It’s true that seating charts can be a pain in the ass, it’s hard not to overthink it, it takes so much longer than it should and you get unfathomably stressed when you (inevitably) have to make a change at the last minute. If you just don’t want to deal with this, and you’re not going to care that the meal rolls on longer than you’d planned, go for the free for all option… or hire us to plan your wedding and take all the stress away from you!
- Are you in the for or against camp? Always curious to see where people stand on this one!