Wedding Reception Etiquette: Assigned Seating for a Buffet?
Q: I am having a buffet-style wedding reception. Is it necessary to have seating arrangements, or should I let guests sit wherever they want?
A: Even though it's buffet-style, you're still serving a meal -- as opposed to cocktails and hors d'oeuvres or punch and cake -- so formal seating arrangements make sense. Guests do appreciate the time and effort you put into seating them at specific tables, and seating arrangements lend a sense of organization to your wedding reception. With cocktails, people like to mix and mingle, stand up and sit down, so it's pointless to seat them at specific tables. But if a wedding meal is involved, guests like to have some direction. The only exception? If your reception is very casual. If you're doing a down-home, informal country barbecue -- and if there are 50 or fewer guests -- feel free to let everyone sit where they want.