A friend of mine recently went to a wedding that she described as “absolute anarchy topped with some confused and persistent milling about.”
Did the bride forget to set up places to sit and things to do?
No, she just neglected to organize a seating chart.
You may feel that you’re giving your guests freedom by avoiding seating charts and table numbers, but if my friend (who isn’t exactly a wedding expert) has any advice for the bride who’s thinking about doing away with seating charts, it’s this: “Don’t trust your guests to decide where to sit, or to be particularly timid about it when they do decide.”
The biggest problem, she stressed, was not knowing where it wouldn’t be okay to sit. “These tables were too close to the bride and groom’s table, so I figured they were for the bridal party. I was sister of a bridesmaid, but I didn’t know what that really meant for my place to sit. People were grabbing chairs and seating twenty-three to a ten-person table. Whole tables near the back were empty; the clutter of chairs at the front made it impossible to reach the pastries. It was chaos. Anarchy..”
As exaggerated as her account may sound, the lack of a seating chart can create a little slice of mayhem at your event. Generally, order is appreciated at a reception, and the lack of ordered seating creates unneeded confusion.
If you’re worried about seating people in places where they’ll be uncomfortable, imagine how uncomfortable they’ll be when they’re the only ones sitting at their own little lonely table. Use your best judgment when designing a seating chart to avoid the downfalls of having one: Seat divorced family members on different sides of the room, let social units sit together, and don’t seat your grandma at the table full of rowdy, single 20-somethings.It’s the least you can do to avoid post-apocalyptic anarchy.