News: IT'S THE 2ND ANNUAL GUATEMALA LIBRARY PROJECT BOOK DRIVE!    LOOKING FOR DONATIONS OF SCIENCE BOOKS THIS YEAR.    Check it out in the "Extending the Hand of Kindness" folder or here: http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=139832.msg3372084#msg3372084   

  • November 21, 2017, 12:56:35 AM

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: seating charts - pros and cons  (Read 18468 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Kiwichick

  • Member
  • Posts: 1769
  • Is anyone else hungry now?
Re: seating charts - pros and cons
« Reply #45 on: November 18, 2014, 06:56:21 PM »
As a guest I prefer no seating chart. 

I usually attend weddings single, and with seating charts I'm often stuck at a table full of couples -- sometimes they can be nice, but often they're too into the romantic evening to even bother with introductions, so I'm stuck staring into space for the dinner portion of the reception.  Without a seating chart, I can either sit with friends I know, or sit with new people who seem friendly and willing to include me. 

I've always enjoyed weddings when I've been able to seat myself, but I've been bored still at 50% of the weddings where a chart was involved.

I can't imagine sitting with people who couldn't be bothered to introduce themselves after I had introduced myself.  Did they just stare at you or did they ignore you and pretend you hadn't spoken?

I think that sort of rudeness maybe would have happened seating chart or not.

kherbert05

  • Member
  • Posts: 7946
    • Trees downed in my yard by Ike and the clean up
Re: seating charts - pros and cons
« Reply #46 on: November 18, 2014, 07:30:14 PM »
I've never seen a seating chart at a wedding, and would feel like I was being treated like a naughty child.  The weddings I have been to have mostly been very formal and large. At the receptions with plated dinners the waiters (usually 2 for every 3 tables) would come around and ask which dinner you requested. A small colored card was put at your place.

Buffet - to be honest most of the venues are used to very large events. They would have multiple lines. I've never had to wait until my table was called. They opened the lines people would go through and be eating in a very short time. The lines were kept full till shortly before the cake cutting.

 
Don't Teach Them For Your Past. Teach Them For Their Future

Dindrane

  • Member
  • Posts: 15102
Re: seating charts - pros and cons
« Reply #47 on: November 18, 2014, 08:09:14 PM »
With regard to seating, what I've seen most commonly is the hosts assigning tables, then making up place cards in some fashion that have the assigned table number on it. All the place cards are then put together in alphabetical order, usually near the entrance to the reception, and everyone finds their card and then finds their preferred seat at the assigned table.

It takes a pretty structured approach behind the scenes, but I think feels a lot more fluid and casual to individual guests as they actually arrive at the reception, if the host has done a good job of assigning tables. Both my brother and I did this when we got married, and I know we both put a lot of thought into how to divide people up in a way that was going to be enjoyable for everyone. And since we both had receptions that had a lot of space for mingling, people did just that before and after the actual meal.


LifeOnPluto

  • Member
  • Posts: 8131
Re: seating charts - pros and cons
« Reply #48 on: November 19, 2014, 08:24:17 PM »
I've never been to a wedding with a sit-down dinner that didn't involve seating chart. If I was attending a wedding by myself (or if I didn't know many people there), I definitely appreciate a seating chart, as I'd hate to be stuck wandering around, looking for a table that would accept me.

Also, if I was organising a seating chart, I would not stick one single person at a table full of couples (unless that single person was good friends with those couples). Otherwise, there's too much risk that the couples would not interact with the single. (Luckily this has never happened to me when I was single, but has happened to a few of my single friends).

kudeebee

  • Member
  • Posts: 2702
Re: seating charts - pros and cons
« Reply #49 on: November 19, 2014, 10:13:57 PM »
I haven't been to a wedding with a seating chart.  There is always a bridal party table, table(s) for parents, grandparents, etc and occasionally a table for spouses/so's of those in the wedding party that are reserved--so 1 to 4 tables max.  There always is extra seating available--about 10% more I would guess.

CakeEater

  • Member
  • Posts: 3379
Re: seating charts - pros and cons
« Reply #50 on: November 19, 2014, 10:17:10 PM »
The other thing I appreciate about a seating chart is that it prevents me from worrying about whether I should be at a closer table, or further away. Should I presume that I'm a fairly close guest, and place myself at a closer table, or should I put myself further back?

kareng57

  • Member
  • Posts: 12261
Re: seating charts - pros and cons
« Reply #51 on: November 20, 2014, 12:09:18 AM »
When we got married, 30+ years ago, seating charts weren't common, so no one considered it rude if they weren't there.  But they've become pretty mainstream since that time and I consider that to be a good thing.  I know that my DS and DIL took a few days scratching-their-heads over compatible table-mates for their wedding a few months ago.

I do wonder why people think seating charts are less essential for buffet dinners (which are pretty mainstream around here).  On the contrary I think it makes things easier.  Someone (the MC in our case) drew the numbers and announced which table was next for the buffet.  The venue managed the buffet very well, and I don't think any table took more than about three minutes at the buffet.  It would have been pretty chaotic if 50 or so people suddenly decided to get in line at the same time.

Margo

  • Member
  • Posts: 2153
Re: seating charts - pros and cons
« Reply #52 on: November 20, 2014, 06:18:37 AM »
I think perhaps it depends on the size and formality of the event. I've been to a couple of weddings where there was a buffet and no seating chart, but they were both very informal generally, so people were not all going up at once - as far as I can recall, they also had more than one table set up with (the same) food so not everyone was queueing at the same time or at the same table.

At my sister's wedding the main course was buffet style but people did go up table by table - I can't remember whether they were called up specifically or if it just worked out that way -

menley

  • Member
  • Posts: 1100
Re: seating charts - pros and cons
« Reply #53 on: November 20, 2014, 06:54:23 AM »
I have mixed feelings about seating charts. On the one hand, I do agree that if done well, they are handy, as it can be uncomfortable to go around hunting for seats. However, I've had plenty of experience with poorly done seating charts - including the time that I was seated next to my ex-boyfriend (who refused to speak to me) and his new girlfriend, who asked what my due date was (I was not pregnant, and when I simply said that with a smile, she said "Oh honey! But you totally look like you are!")

The majority of weddings I've attended have had no seating chart, with a table for the bride and groom and their wedding party (or two tables, depending on the number of bridesmaids and groomsmen and their significant others); a few tables marked reserved for immediate family of the couple, at the center of the action; and the remainder of tables unmarked and free-for-all. This is what we did for our wedding. I know it's not the intent, but assigned seating tends to make me feel like I'm back in kindergarten :) So we let everyone choose their own seats, with the exception of the bridal party and their partners. As the bridal party would be off taking photos, we wanted to make sure that they had a seat and food, and that their partners weren't stranded, so we set aside a long table for them with nametags. It worked out really well, as a number of the partners came up to me and my husband during the reception and thanked us for seating them together (it seems that many times, the bride and groom put their wedding party at a table *without* their spouses or partners, which seems rather rude to me).

Of the weddings I've attended with a seating chart (less than 5 out of probably... 30?), only two of those seemed to have taken genuine effort to seat everyone with care. At one of those weddings, I didn't speak the native language of the couple or the majority of the guests, and the couple made a specific effort to seat us with others who spoke English (around 75% of their guests didn't, so we might have had a very awkward evening if they hadn't made arrangements for us!)

The other 3 seemed to really have no rhyme or reason to the seating chart, as my husband and I didn't know anyone else at our table and we couldn't find common interests (or, to be honest, the other people mostly ignored our attempts at starting conversation and we gave up and went to the bar).

CakeEater

  • Member
  • Posts: 3379
Re: seating charts - pros and cons
« Reply #54 on: November 20, 2014, 03:37:56 PM »
^I guess if they're not common in your area, people might have trouble doing them properly, rather than just randomly assigning seats to people.

I've had a couple of weddings with less than idea table mates, but I consider that to be the fault of the guests for not doing their part properly (ie making conversation), rather than the fault of the hosts.

LtPowers

  • Member
  • Posts: 474
Re: seating charts - pros and cons
« Reply #55 on: November 20, 2014, 04:35:15 PM »
Let us keep in mind that it is generally the responsibility of the host or hostess to decide where his or her guests will sit, regardless of whether the event is a wedding reception or not.  There are very good reasons for this, so one would need an exceptionally good reason to abdicate that responsibility.


Powers  &8^]

TootsNYC

  • Member
  • Posts: 33792
Re: seating charts - pros and cons
« Reply #56 on: November 20, 2014, 06:06:59 PM »
Yep--we forget that etiquette for dinner parties says that the host sets the seating arrangements. That's why there is such a thing as place cards.

We've given place cards up for most situations, but we had friends over for dinner just the other day, and they asked us where they should sit, and we told them.

lilfox

  • Member
  • Posts: 2387
Re: seating charts - pros and cons
« Reply #57 on: November 20, 2014, 06:24:20 PM »
I had a small wedding (30 people). I sketched out a seating plan but didn't go so far as to make place cards for people since it seemed "obvious" from my assignments that people would group themselves that way naturally.  My friends at one table, DH's friends at two others, relatives at two others.

That's almost how it worked out, except of the 11 of DH's friends, 8 immediately filled one table and two others sat at a "relatives" table since there were a few open seats there.  So the first four tables filled up, and the last one of DH's friends was stuck at an otherwise empty table. A few from the full table got up and moved to join him once they realized, but man that was unfortunate.

In hindsight I definitely would do place cards.

However, note to potential match makers, do not make your seating assignments based on trying to hook two people up.  I almost got stuck at a table of strangers rather than either of the tables of good friends because the groom really wanted me to meet his cousin.  That would have been a looooong evening.

LifeOnPluto

  • Member
  • Posts: 8131
Re: seating charts - pros and cons
« Reply #58 on: November 20, 2014, 08:33:51 PM »
I have mixed feelings about seating charts. On the one hand, I do agree that if done well, they are handy, as it can be uncomfortable to go around hunting for seats. However, I've had plenty of experience with poorly done seating charts - including the time that I was seated next to my ex-boyfriend (who refused to speak to me) and his new girlfriend, who asked what my due date was (I was not pregnant, and when I simply said that with a smile, she said "Oh honey! But you totally look like you are!")


A similar thing once happened to a friend of mine - she was seated right next to her ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend. (He basically dumped her for his new girlfriend, something that everyone in our social circle was aware of). I don't know what was going through the Bride and Groom's head when they were making the seating chart. I think it was simply "This is the gang from university; they all know each other, let's put them together" without really considering the hard feelings between my friend and her ex.

menley

  • Member
  • Posts: 1100
Re: seating charts - pros and cons
« Reply #59 on: November 21, 2014, 04:13:09 AM »
^I guess if they're not common in your area, people might have trouble doing them properly, rather than just randomly assigning seats to people.

I've had a couple of weddings with less than idea table mates, but I consider that to be the fault of the guests for not doing their part properly (ie making conversation), rather than the fault of the hosts.

Oh, I agree that seatmates not making conversation is not the hosts' fault. But in each of these instances, I did have friends at other tables, and we would have happily sat together had there not been assigned seating. As soon as the meal was up, we all bolted from our tables and met up at the bar because none of us were having any fun at our tables. I have no idea how these seats were assigned as none of us knew any of our tablemates.