Wedding Trends: Open Seating

Lukas & Suzy VanDyke

Photo Credit: Lukas & Suzy VanDyke

“Come as you are, stay as long as you can, we’re all family, so no seating plan.” That is the sentiment that is capturing the wedding nation by storm. The massive movement to nix assigned seating is part of the innovative initiative to raise the level of comfort for guests and to promote a more relaxed atmosphere.

The huge benefit of open seating is eliminating the stress of trying to figure out who is sitting next to whom and trying to please the masses. For once on your wedding day you won’t have to field complaints about why you stuck cousin Anna at the kids’ table when she’s clearly an adult or why Uncle Jack is sitting next to Uncle Peter when you know they’ve been feuding since 1979. It allows your guests to be free.

Not only is open seating at the reception a growing trend, but also consider emphasizing the non-traditional idea of not choosing a bride or groom side at the ceremony. The mantra “we’re all family” is one that should hold plenty of meaning on your wedding day so why should guests be divided at the moment where two families become one?


Photo Credit: WH Candy

You can get creative in the medium in which you relay this message. You can include it in the invitation, put a sign up outside the doors, or include a creative note as a prop on each table. We, of course, recommend personalizing candy bars with this message to place at the entrance to your reception. These sweet favors are a great way to start the night as man and wife.

Depending on your style of dinner, there are certain guidelines you’ll want to follow with the open seating option to ensure a smooth process at mealtime. A buffet style dinner would be the easiest option with no assigned seating as guests could enjoy their meal wherever they please.

Photo Credit: K & S Photography

Photo Credit: K & S Photography

But if using a wait staff to take orders, be sure to let your guests know that staying in whatever seat they have chosen is imperative to receiving their meal efficiently. You’ll want to be sure you are making life as easy as possible for the catering staff and keeping your guests happy at the same time.

The freedom of open seating at your ceremony and reception will allow your guests to mix and mingle with old family and new family without feeling tied down to one spot. It’ll give them comfort in knowing their seat is their own decision, and show them they are all loved by your desire to bring them together as one family. And that will surely make everyone’s experience on your wedding day all the more special.