I’ve noticed that are there two main ways that clients choose to seat guests at their party–open seating vs. assigned seating. As with everything, there are pros and cons to each.
With open seating, there are not table assignments and guests may anywhere they wish. Typically the seating is more lounge-style with couches, smaller tables and tall tables with bar stools. This open lends to more of a club or party vibe since guests can’t park themselves at a table all night. Often clients do not have seating for everyone which lends itself to more dancing.
Pros include: It is easier for the hosts since they don’t have to go through the hassle of figuring out who to sit a which table. Can lead to more mingling since guests don’t have a guaranteed place to sit.
All guests are assigned to specific tables, so they are guaranteed to have a place to sit. If you are doing plated meals, you MUST assign seats.
Pros include: Everyone has a “home base.” For a seated meal, you know which table each meal is going to.
Cons include: Assigning people, especially kids, to tables is tough, time-consuming and can lead to hurt feelings.
95% of my clients go with a hybrid method with assigned tables for adults and open seating for kids. This is the best of both worlds.
Pros include: Adults have a guaranteed place to sit. Kids can mingle and move around and the guest of honor doesn’t have to hurt any of their friends’ feelings.
Cons include: Honestly, I can’t think of any because this is my favorite way to do it!