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Rectangular Tables Wedding Reception | Manolo for the Brides

Seating Chart? Check. Less Stress? Check.

There’s nothing quite like trying to figure out which eight wedding guests to place at which round table. Will this one be offended that he’s not closer to the head table? Will that one balk at having to sit by her sister? Does every table need to include four women and four men? Jeez, no wonder there’s so much seating chart software out there.

And who can blame brides and grooms for waiting until the last minute to complete this less than fun wedding planning to-do? Not me! I cheated and let guests sit where they wanted to – anyone looking for a seating chart would have been disappointed – which funnily enough resulted in pretty much the table assignments we would have created ourselves.

BUT before you brides and grooms go this route, let me caution that my wedding was more casual than most and I have been to at least one wedding where the lack of a seating chart left some guests feeling like the odd men out.

Some brides and grooms approach the creation of the perfect wedding seating chart with vigor. For some, it’s easy (no, really), and for others, it’s a challenge to be faced head on. Others, like yours truly, simply bury their heads in the sand, make the reception a seating free-for-all, and hope for the best. For those who are currently shaking with dread at the thought of putting together a seating chart, I’d like to offer up another option:

Banquet style seating. In other words, long rectangular reception tables.

While not every reception venue space lends itself to two very long or three shorter rectangular tables in a U shape, when it works, banquet style seating can work very, very well. Wedding guests often feel closer to the newlyweds, even if they’re sitting quite far away. And you, the mighty wedding planner, don’t have to worry as much about who is seated near whom, as everyone is seated near lots and lots of different people. Especially when the tables are placed in a U.

Other banquet style seating pros include: the ability to fit more people in your reception venue (in some cases), a more intimate atmosphere, you may need fewer centerpieces or be able to use smaller centerpieces more dramatically (like this), and the ability to use repetition to your advantage in your reception table decor – helllooo buying in bulk.

So my take is that banquet style wedding reception can simplify your reception planning. Yes, you do still have to make a seating chart – unless you’re a wussy bride like me – but there’s a good chance this particular wedding planning to-do will get checked off a lot sooner and with a lot less stress.

What kind of seating scheme are you planning for or did you have at your reception?

Image via Style Me Pretty

7 Responses to “Seating Chart? Check. Less Stress? Check.”

  1. La Petite Acadienne November 8, 2010 at 9:55 am #

    My only quibble with banquet-style seating is that oftentimes, the chairs are jammed too close together, making it very difficult to get in or out of one’s seat, which can be problematic for the elderly, anybody with mobility issues, or anybody who might have to get in and out of their seat often, such as someone who is preggo and constantly needing the bathroom — especially if the chairs are not on a surface that is smooth enough to let the chair slide backwards easily when pushed.

    But, if the seats are spaced nicely, this is definitely a good option.

  2. Anonymous November 8, 2010 at 11:40 am #

    I just went to a wedding yesterday where the reception had to be held in two separate rooms due to the size of the venue. The first room had four round tables for the wedding party and close family. The other room had two long banquet style tables for the rest of the guests. The bride and groom sat at a sweetheart table situated in the large doorway so all guests could see them. It worked out really well, and the banquet tables had more place settings than guests so people spread out. It worked out really well and I think it made things a lot easier for the bride and groom because they didn’t have to split up large groups of friends into two separate tables.

  3. Toni November 8, 2010 at 1:13 pm #

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, even if you don’t want to do a seating chart, make sure to reserve some tables for the wedding party and key family members, in other words, people that might get caught up after the ceremony taking photos. I went to one reception with not enough seating, and people like the MOH and the MOB didn’t have places to sit because everything was full. (Yes, we scrambled around to find extra chairs and all squeezed over to make room, but it was still really awkward.)

    Another note about seating charts, please don’t make the wedding party’s “+1’s” sit at some random table by themselves. It may be more photogenic or logistically easy to have just the bridesmaids and groomsmen have seats at the head table, but is it worth it if it makes their dates miserable?

  4. Chicklet November 8, 2010 at 4:14 pm #

    As a guest, I am *begging* brides & grooms to not seat singles with strangers. I went to a wedding last year where instead of seating me at a table with people I knew (I had met the bride and groom at work, and quite a few guests were people who worked at our company), I was assigned to a table of people I had never met. They knew each other very well (they were a family) and had known the groom for more than a decade.

    I am a major introvert at the best of times, so being forced to make small-talk and figure out who was whom and how they were related to each other, at the same time that I was trying to eat dinner gracefully, was a big let-down. Two tables over were a bunch of people I knew, and I kept glancing over there longingly.

  5. Toni November 8, 2010 at 11:34 pm #

    @Chicklet, WORD.

    Again, I’ve mentioned it before, but I went to one wedding where I knew tons of people from high school via the groom. However, I was assigned to sit with the Bride’s Mother’s Friends. (I barely even knew the bride, for that matter.) They all chattered happily while I gritted my teeth through dinner, and escaped to an empty seat near my friends ASAP. It could not have been clearer that I was a bottom-of-the-list seat filler. (Yes, I RSVP’ed far in advance.)

  6. Mara Olson November 10, 2010 at 12:08 pm #

    Great suggestion! I think having the banquet-seating would take care of a lot of problems and create a great atmosphere… I wonder if most venues offer this as an option? When I got married, I don’t think I even knew it was possible.

  7. Artemiss November 22, 2010 at 11:56 am #

    We did that for our wedding and were really happy with it, as it made seating plans really easy. We had 3 40 people tables in addition to the head table, and used coloured ribbons to delimitate 10-people groups inside those big tables (with a table name). It allowed us to fit 2 extra last-minute guests at one of those “virtual tables” without having to redo everything, we just moved the ribbons and squeezed everyone a little bit more.