Seating Arrangement vs. No Seating Arrangement: Which is Right for You?

seating arrangement

To have a seating arrangement or not to have a seating arrangement? That is the question. It’s one of countless others you’ll answer in preparation for your big day. It sounds simple but deciding it can be tough if you don’t know what to consider. Here are a few key things to note when making your decision.

No Seating Arrangement

So, you’re considering not having a seating arrangement. Allowing guests to choose their seat has many advantages. The first is that it’s a huge time saver. The final couple of weeks before a wedding can be a stressful time. For this reason, it can be nice to spare yourself the work of a seating chart.



First, it makes your life easier. Now you can focus your attention on more important details like creating a beautiful backdrop for a winter wedding. Your guests appreciate it because they get to choose who they sit next to. And if there isn’t a seat for everyone, it encourages people to mix and mingle.


seating arrangement


Our suggestion: “No seating arrangement” usually works best for buffets and social style events with heavy appetizers and a relaxed atmosphere. Request that families of 5 or more arrive 30 minutes early to prevent being split between tables. And if there are people you want closest to you during dinner, reserve a couple tables for them, and let them know who they are in advance.

Seating Arrangement

Some days, you want to leave nothing to chance. Your wedding day might be one of them. And if those last two sentences resonated with you, a seating arrangement is the way to go. While they require more time and thought, the benefits can be plentiful.


seating arrangement


To begin with, it provides a more upscale feeling. If you have a plated meal, nametags enable staff to correctly place food in front of the guests and provide perfect service. If you’re feeling creative, different colors or symbols can match the theme of your wedding and represent the different dishes being passed by the staff. Nametags have also become decorative table accents, providing the perfect pop of color. Some becoming a timeless keepsake.


seating arrangement


A final benefit is that you have the comfort of knowing your dearest loved ones are closest to you during dinner or that they’re sitting together. Anyone arriving late also has a guaranteed seat. This becomes especially noteworthy when late arrivers are families of 5 or more and need seats together.

Our suggestion: Don’t make your seating chart until the week of your event, otherwise you’ll adjust it many times due to those last-minute RSVPs and drop-offs.


seating arrangement


In conclusion, the most important thing to remember is that your guests are going to enjoy themselves regardless of your decision. Simply being there to support and celebrate you will be plenty. So, don’t overthink it, and have fun. And if you have questions along the way, reach out to one of our event coordinators who’d be happy to help!

Happy planning!

As told by Kimberly Miller to Cameron Garvin.

Kimberly Miller is the Executive Sales and Events Manager for Rick’s Café Boatyard. For 8 years, she’s co-created once in a lifetime experiences with her clients through her wedding and event planning. In her free time, Kimberly enjoys sharing moments with her family and singing for crowds. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Ivy Tech.