The dreaded seating assignments are something of a wedding lore at this point. The family quarrels, the awkward histories – all further complicating the seemingly daunting task of organizing all your guests into seating arrangements for your wedding reception. And then almost magically [ingeniously?] someone along the way had a simple idea …. why not just let guests seat themselves?

[photo via Live It Out Photo]

This is something I toyed with myself, when I started planning my own offbeat Washington, DC wedding just over two years ago. Why not just let our guests sit wherever they wanted? … afterall, we are all adults and I just couldn’t bring myself to stress over something as silly as where people will sit. My parents weren’t as inclined to go this route, and in the end, we did end up doing assigned seating at the reception. But I felt compelled to write about the idea of no assigned seating at a wedding, for couples that were considering doing this.

Once I started researching it – I found that there are a good amount of people that feel the way I did – that “We’re all family here” … so no seating plan is really needed.

[photo by Heather Bee Photography via Rustic Chic Wedding blog]

 And then I found this amazing, heartfelt post by recent Northern Virginia bride, SuperNOVA bride. She started a blog on her journey to throw a Washington, DC wedding on a budget. It was so honest, I just had to share [thanks Melissa!]

Assigned Seating Merry-go-Round

Content below taken from SuperNOVA Bride’s original blog post here.

Back in June, my fiancé and I went to a wedding reception that didn’t have assigned seating.  *Gasp*

That’s like the cardinal rule of weddings all over the interwebs.  Skimp on all other time-consuming tasks if you have to, but never, ever skip assigned seating.  They say your guests will feel more comfortable not having to hunt for seats, and people who don’t know anyone else at your wedding will feel awkward trying to figure out where to sit.

But lo and behold, at the wedding wedding reception we attended, no one’s head exploded from a lack of seating chart.  No one meandered around disappointingly looking for a seat like a dorky kid at his first day of a new junior high school.  No feuds erupted among guests that didn’t get along (and there were plenty of those … the bride and groom are from different cultural backgrounds).  People just sat down and started chatting.

That sealed the deal for me.  I was not going to waste my time creating some damn seating chart and trying to track down guest RSVPs just because I needed to know where people would sit.

You do not need assigned seating.  Period.  The wedding I went to in June was just fine.  LIBudgetBride just got married in June and had a well-executed, non-assigned seating wedding.  I hear that seating charts a huge hassle (and now that I have to do it myself, I’ll be able to speak from experience in a few months), and it’s not worth the time and effort, especially since it’s something that can’t be completely done until very close to your wedding date.

So now I leave it to you … what do you think? Are SuperNOVA Bride and I way off the mark – or did you buck tradition and decide to fore-go the traditional seating assignments for your own wedding reception ?



  1. I LOVE this idea. BUT while I love this idea……

    I bet that you would have “those people” that would take the closest spots to see the bride and groom first before family got to the reception site. I could see my family( aunts, uncles cousins, grandparents, moms, dads, siblings) getting upset and talking about how they didn’t get to sit close enough. Now this wouldn’t be such a problem if you are having a smaller wedding.

    Having assigned seating to honor family members makes them feel included a little more and special. So why have assigned seating on for the family and not everyone else? I guess its really just one or the other.

    So while this is a super fun & great idea…there are some pro’s and con’s.

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