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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Connelly

Open seating or assigned seating at your wedding? The choice is clear

You want a chill, relaxed, whimsical wedding. Open seating because your guests will organically find new friends and maybe fall in love. I get it. It makes sense for some guests. I DJ 50 weddings a year. I see the difference between open seating and assigned tables. Please, go with assigned tables. Your guests will appreciate it.


Wedding reception in Grass Valley, CA.
Open seating or assigned tables at a wedding?



For starters, let's consider the logistics. Imagine you're a guest at a wedding reception with no seating chart. The ceremony concludes, and you grab a drink and look for a spot to sit. Not too close to the DJ's sound system and still close to the dance floor. But all the tables are already half-full, and you don't see any familiar faces. You hesitate, wandering the room aimlessly until you finally spy two empty chairs at a table of people you might be friends with. You sit down, only to discover you're stuck next to a chatty cousin who won't stop talking about her cat's hairball problem. Or worse, you're sandwiched between two people that want to know everyone's political views.


Now, let's compare that scenario to one with a seating chart. Cocktail hour begins; you grab a craft cocktail and check the chart to find your table. You head over to your designated spot, and lo and behold, the married couple sits you at a table with a group of their friends who are well-traveled, love music, are cool with love and are ready to party. The conversations center around your favorite uncrowded California beaches, the state of East Bay hip-hop, and what music you think the DJ will play.


Assigned tables are also way more efficient when transitioning from cocktail hour to dinner. I see people walking around aimlessly, wondering where they should sit, thus delaying the start of dinner. Remember, I’m a DJ. I am focused on smooth transitions.


Beyond the logistical benefits, a seating chart can also be a helpful tool for the couple and their vendors. With a seating chart, the catering staff knows precisely how many people to expect at each table and can plan accordingly. The DJ can use the chart to announce the various courses or events, ensuring everyone is in the right place at the right time. And if there are any last-minute changes or issues, you or your planner can easily adjust with a seating chart.


I know what you're thinking: “What about those guests who don't RSVP, show up unexpectedly, or bring that new +1? Won't that throw off the whole seating chart?” The bonus + 1 is my favorite. They approach me, the DJ, and ask where to get an extra chair for their new partner of three weeks. Most seating charts are designed with a little wiggle room, so there's some flexibility in case of last-minute changes. And if a few people end up at a table that's not quite the right fit, it's not the end of the world. The important thing is that most guests are seated where they should be, which leads to a better overall experience for everyone.


Bonus, your grandparents aren't seated with your college homies that want grandma to try a low-powered edible.


At the end of the day, a seating chart is a small but significant detail that can impact the atmosphere of your wedding reception. It might initially feel slightly restrictive, but trust me when I say it's worth it. So go ahead and embrace the seating chart – your wedding (and your guests) will thank you! Your guests will appreciate the effort you put into making sure everyone has a great time, and you'll be able to relax and enjoy the party knowing that everything is under control.


Open seating or assigned seating at your wedding? Now you know.



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