Are Assigned or Open Seating the Best Choice?

This is a crucial question at every event: open or assigned seating? Are you letting your guests decide where they want to sit during the product rollout? Are you able to work with your client to create detailed seating arrangements?

Each style of event seating has its pros and cons. However, in certain events, one option is better; for a quick overview of the differences between open and assigned event seating and the types of events you might want to choose, read on.

Open seating vs. assigned seating. Both open seating and assigned seating can be combined in an event.

Yes! Yes! If a couple doesn’t want to have assigned seating, they should consider assigning seating for their immediate family. This will prevent unnecessary drama if the bride’s aunt is stuck at the exit sign.

Another hybrid model allows guests to be assigned to specific tables but still allows them to choose their seats.

A hybrid can be a great idea for awards ceremonies and business conferences. These situations require that the speakers, nominees and VIPs have their seats at the front while the guests are free to choose their place settings.

What kind of seating should you use for networking events?

Assigned seating

At least at the beginning of the networking event, it is more efficient to have assigned seating. Assigned seating allows greater control of the event planner’s ability to foster communication among people who don’t know each other well. If the event is held in multiple locations over the weekend or day, you might consider switching out the assigned seats so that guests can network with others.

Schedule a cocktail hour reception for guests before the closing dinner. This lets them mingle and engage in deeper conversations with those they have connected with through earlier event Icebreakers or Q&As.

What kind of seating should industry conferences use?

Open seating and assigned seating.

Industry conferences often include keynote talks, breakout panels, and learning sessions. Affordable seating is not necessary for these sessions. Only the first or second row should be reserved for speakers, hosts and VIPs. You should add a sign-up requirement to the event registration period to prevent crowds if you anticipate a large turnout.

Assigned seating can be helpful if the event concludes with a buffet-style or banquet-style dinner.

What type of seating should galas for fundraising be given?

Assigned seating

At sit-down fundraising galas, assigned seating is the norm regardless of whether there is a buffet or formal service style. Assigned seating allows you to ensure that regular donors, presenters and other VIPs are seated close to the stage for speeches or within sight of a pianist or string quartet.

You can create a seating arrangement with guest names on each chair and notes for guests with food allergies or dietary restrictions.

What kind of seating should business meetings use?

Assigned seating

Whether it is a shareholder meeting, company-wide meeting or sales meeting, assigned seating is the best option and will usually follow the business hierarchy. The company CEO and sales director will be seated at the top of the table or on the long side. The regional CEOs, vice-presidents and division managers will then flank them.

Flat organizations are more flexible than those with more rigid organizational structures. However, executives and managers who lead the meeting will need to have a central seat at their table.

Unstructured socializing is a benefit for all company business meetings. There are no assigned seats during these events. So coworkers can catch up and drink and organize a cocktail hour with appetizers.

What kind of seating should you use for reunions?

Open seating

Open seating wins at all types of reunions when combined with buffet-style dining. Family reunions should be held at family-style tables. Let people choose their spots. This is usually easy to do. You can also provide tables and seating for outdoor family reunions. Adirondack chairs by the fire pit, tables and chairs under a tent, and tables and chairs under some shade trees are all great spots for guests to gather.

High school and college class reunions are awkward enough without having to sit at the same table as the person who teased them in school. School reunions should be held as standing events with plenty of seating for guests.

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