Many hostesses are unsure whether or not they should assign seats at their event. I've been to events without seating charts that were a disaster (I ended up sitting outside), and I've been to events with a seating chart that were equally distressing to the guests (one groomsman was split away from all the rest of his buddies). We feel that it's really a personal preference and depends. Only the host knows all of their guests well and can say what will work best for their situation. But there are some things to think about when determining whether or not you should assign seats.
- How well do your guests know each other? Will they feel comfortable pulling up a chair next to anyone? Or would they prefer to be seated with familiar faces?
- Do you have time constraints that could be eased by allowing guests to bypass standing in line to find out where they should sit?
- Do you have space constraints that allow your guests to only sit in one basic configuartion?
- What's the purpose of your event? Do you want to encourage guests to meet new people and strike up new conversations?
- Do you have ample space/chairs for guests to create their own seating?
- Do any of your guests have special needs which would necessitate an assigned seat?
- Are there guests attending who don't get along well and need to be separated?
- Will you be excluding anyone from a table of friends if you do assign seats?
So how have you handled this issue? Have you assigned seats or let it be a free-for-all?