Wedding Wednesday: Less is more

Johnny and I truly envisioned our wedding as basically a large version of our normal, annual Kentucky Derby party where we also got married. What typically happens at the Derby party? Some assortment of people show up, wearing any variety of clothing and/or hats. I prepare way, way too many snacks. Alcohol beverages are consumed, my Thoroughbred racing enthusiast friend Holly educates everyone on which horse we should cheer for, the race is watched, everyone goes home.
Weddings apparently require a little more finesse. Things I didn’t know were things until they were mentioned to me include:
  • Ushers
  • Decorations for buffet tables
  • Programs
  • A person to man the guestbook
  • A dance floor
  • Assigned seating
The two biggest points of contention between Johnny and I and various family members are a dance floor and assigned seating. 
Johnny and I don’t like dancing. (Well, you know, other than the extremely silly kind.) We’ve never wanted to have a first dance or dance with our parents at the wedding; personally, I’m still burned out on ballroom dancing from years of Junior Cotillion. We aren’t planning to have our DJ play songs that prompt dancing- he’s basically there to keep background music of smooth jazz running and make the occasional announcement. We were pretty clear about this from the get-go, but I guess everyone thought we were joking. Four different family members have expressed their displeasure at this decision and/or whined about how other family members will be sooo disappointed.
My thoughts are that if you are so compelled to dance, you can find a place to do it in between tables. The venue won’t be totally stuffed or crowded, so if the sweet sounds of a saxophone move you to dance, go the fuck for it. 

The other thing that’s recently come up is the idea of assigned seating. I think (and have always thought) assigned seating at weddings is stupid unless you’re having a plated meal where there are multiple entree options. (If that’s the case, I imagine it would be difficult for wait staff to know what meal goes where!)

I’ve never had a positive experience when I’ve been assigned a seat a a reception. The most memorable time was at wedding a couple of years ago: Johnny and I were seating at a table of other 20-something people, presumably because we’d have things to chat with them about. Two people spent the entire reception engaged in an extremely uninteresting conversation about starting a food truck (“Did you know you have to like, get a food handler’s permit? Bummer!”), while another guy gave us the cold shoulder after Johnny made a joke the guy found unfunny. 

I’d much rather let people sort things out for themselves; how do I know who they want to sit with? As an example, let’s take my youngest uncle. He has a wife and a son; his son is around the same age as my oldest cousin’s daughter. Would my uncle prefer to sit at a table with my cousin and her family so their kids can hang out? Would he prefer to sit with my mom (his sister) and their brother? Would my cousin rather sit with her parents and brother? I have no idea.

My feelings are that less is more with this whole wedding; if people can’t sort out a place to sit or contain their dancing urges, they have greater problems than I can address! 

What do y’all think? Have you had to find your own seat at a wedding? Was it terrible? Are you still able to function as a human being? Do weddings bring out your inner break dancer?

Author: Stephanie

Equestrian, amateur cook, people person.

26 thoughts on “Wedding Wednesday: Less is more”

  1. I think barring any family drama or animosity, why shouldn't people sit where they want?! The only compelling reason for a seating chart I can think of, besides sympathy for wait staff, is grandma jean doesn't play nicely with dad's uncle peter and we want to keep the peace (or whatever). My boyfriend is the favorite choice for best man among his friend group (who are all getting married, it seems like) so as his plus one, I would much rather sit with him than be forced to sit with a bunch of other random cast off plus ones and try to make awkward conversation. I love hearing about your wedding – it sounds delightful!

    1. My parents have been divorced for the last 15 years (or so?), but are able to tolerate one another at events like this. I also hate it when someone's date is stuck at the cast-off table! That happened to Johnny when I was a bridesmaid a couple of years ago, and it made him very uncomfortable.

  2. We are not having dancing music at the reception, at least not modern dancing music. I am holding pretty hard to this line. The whole theme is Art Deco/mid-century, so we are having the DJ play Rat Pack, Cole Porter, Benny Goodman, etc. I loathe dancing. I loathe parties where you have to squish in a clump together and jump up and down all sweaty for 3 hours while the music vibrates the air in your chest. Therefore, I am nixing that at my own damn wedding. I am fighting pretty hard for this as a lot of people are not getting what they expect and whining about it, but screw them.

    So, hold your line!

    1. I don't understand the weird attachment to dancing at weddings, especially when it's not in line with the person's theme or personal brand or whatever. Like, would you dance at a Kentucky Derby party? No? THEN WHY DO YOU WANT TO DANCE AT THIS WEDDING?!

  3. No dancing at our wedding with the exception of our first dance and the mother/son & father/daughter dance to appease the parents who wanted pictures. I didn't miss the dancing at all, in fact it made for a wonderfully low key evening where I could easily visit with our guests and not have to chat over blaring music. We didn't have a seating chart either, just two reserved tables for both sets of parents closest to the head table.

    Stick to your guns!

    1. Yeah, we aren't even doing the first dance or parent dances because we feel like they are weird and uncomfortable. Apparently, this is like, totally unacceptable to some people! I think it will be nice to have a low key evening where people can mingle without a lot of noise.

    1. Not at mine, either! Smaller affair, no crisis and tons of flexibility. Music played a bit in the background, but it was so much more important for people to come together and hang out.

  4. Do what YOU want. So what if people are disappointed that there will be no dance floor. I think once people see what the party will be about, they won't even miss it.

    Ushers – I thought these were for the church ceremony, but don't know what the purpose truly is.
    Decorations for buffet tables- Because a nice table cloth isn't enough???
    Programs – What a waste of paper. What information do you really need to present?
    A person to man the guestbook – Really? A sign by the guest book would be enough, if you even have one.
    A dance floor – See above
    Assigned seating – I think (hope…) this is going out of style. I agree with you on this.

    I have…opinions. In the end it's your wedding. Do what you want and will make you happy.

    1. My mother and Johnny's mother are adamant that ushers are necessary to seat people at the ceremony. I don't quite know why this is a thing, because again, I am confused about why people can't find their own seats? I'm also puzzled about the programs, because the ceremony is about 10 minutes long- there's no complex prayers or music, and the bridal party has two members. Johnny's mother feels like we need a program because we have 'unusual' things and people need guidance on them.

      The unusual things are a cocktail hour where we'll stream the Derby, and a dinner following that. WTF.

  5. Dancing is usually my favorite part of weddings (depending on the food). That said, I did not have dancing at my own wedding. We did not have assigned seating either. Both worked out fine. A couple people were bummed before hand that there was nor going to be dancing, but we had other things to occupy people with so no one bored or anything.

    Do what you want. It's your wedding!

  6. You don't need ushers or decorations for the buffet tables. Please don't do programs. They're a huge waste of paper (and money). You don't need a guestbook. You do need someone in charge of it if you have one though or it'll get forgotten. Just assign a friend to walk it around.

    The seating thing – you can't have unassigned seating unless you have extra seats. The reason you do assigned seating is so that everyone can at least sit with their date. If you don't assign seating, you'll end up with 2 10 person tables with 9 people at them. Then the couple who was chatting and didn't race to a seat have to sit apart. Not having an assigned seat will stress out your older relatives who start worrying about not getting to sit together and instead of enjoying themselves they'll be waiting by the doors to get into the reception area to claim a seat. If you don't want to assign seats, have your mothers do it. That's what I did. I just said I didn't care and they did it for me.

    In the end though, it's your wedding so do whatever you want.

    1. I can definitely see your point on the assigned seating stressing out some people (and the 10 person tables with 9 people at them). We're planning to have an extra table, at least- maybe we should add another?

  7. I spent hours designing my programs and my idiot ushers/groomsman didn't hand them out, so I had a TON of them left. Only a few people pulled one out of the basket I placed them in. Don't bother!

    I've been to three weddings without assigned seating. I'll be honest – I don't love it. People gather in groups they want to sit with, but then you end up with empty seats at each table and the last people seated have to fill in the holes.

  8. We had to dodge some "crazy family members" bullets, so we did assigned seating. We tried to put only people with people they already were friends with, and it's overall a tight group, so we didn't worry. I heard nothing negative about it.

    Dancing? You don't want it. Whatever. Don't do it. Don't let anyone bully you into something you don't want to do. People will talk about your wedding for years as "remember that one where they just did their thing? How fun! It was really unique!"

  9. We had no dancing, no assigned seating and if there were complaints, I had no time to hear them. It's a party to celebrate signing a legal document and it's mildly less binding than a mortgage. I really don't get the fuss.

  10. Weddings bring out an anxiety attack in me. I don't know how you're handling all this so well. I'd be punching people out left and right if they wanted something I didn't.

  11. I think even if I wasn't planning on having any kind of dancing during the reception, I would do a father/daughter and/or mother/son dance if it were important to the parents. Personally, I think it's a small concession to make that would likely bring them a lot of joy (if they did indeed want to have the dance). Just my opinion! The whole ordeal sounds super stressful. Good luck with everything!

  12. We didn't have programs or someone to manage the guest book (we just had it sitting in the corner). We did have assigned seating though (plated meal, which makes sense) and here is one plus for assigned seating: People that don't know anyone else and are awkward don't have to deal with extra awkwardness. Most people aren't like this but I totally am so I appreciate having a place I'm supposed to be.

  13. I liked assigned seating for cute namecards and if you are in a large group (family of five) you have a spot to all sit as a family. I feel like after everyone eats dinner assigned seating goes out the window anyways

  14. This is an immaculate location for a party, wedding, or other special event. Incredible views and classy interior. I have been to a few parties here and they have been really well done. The hall for Las Vegas Weddings was perfect for mingling. The courtyard was beautifully decorated as well.

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