Step One - Create the Floor Plan
I actually love creating floor plans! They are so much fun to play around with!. If you are working with a venue, they most likely have a floor plan that they will provide and it will show you what fits where best. If you are going to be under a tent, the space is really flexible - minus poles if you are in a pole tent. We love using allseated.com - a free online tool that will allow for you to play within the dimensions of the space with tables and chairs to scale. You can even upload your guest list and assign guests to tables - it is pretty easy to use as well! If you are deciding between round tables and long tables - first see what fits best in the space you have, but don't worry about which table allows for better conversation as it is really six one, half dozen the other.
Seating Your Guests
Now when it comes to assigning your guests to tables, we can only really give you some pointers as we do not know your friends and family as well as you do! First you will need to decide where you are sitting. Are you going to do a sweetheart table, sit with other guests or with family? Then you can move on from there to family tables, bridal party tables, etc. We always recommend that grandparents or older guests are seated away from the band or DJ speakers so that they can have better conversations and putting your dancing friends closer to the dance floor. And if you have any family issues, be sure to seat everyone appropriately!
Other Tables in the Space
Here is a quick list of other tables that are typically in the space and where we recommend them:
- Cocktail Tables - High tops and low tops are great for cocktail hour - depending on your numbers would determine how many you need. Ask your planner for recommendations.
- Stationary Food - During cocktail hour you may be offering a stationary item or two, so be sure you have the correct size table to display this food!
- Escort Card Table - usually outside of the space or in cocktail hour so guests can find their cards before entering the space. Trying to avoid a long line into dinner! Usually an 8' table
- Gift/Guest Book Table - We also recommend this be available during cocktail hour, but moved closer to the reception space after everyone moves in for dinner - people will forget to drop their gift or sign the guest book! Usually an 8' table
- Bar - You should definitely have one at cocktail hour and in the reception space or a shared bar if it can be easily accessible from both locations
- Buffet Tables - If you are having a buffet or station style dinner, be sure you have the space on the floor plan as well as the right size tables to accommodate the food you are offering. These tables are typically 8' long
- Cake Table - Usually on or near the dance floor and then moved after. If you are doing a stealth cake cut, it can be placed somewhere else where guests can view, but not center stage for when you are cutting the cake. Usually a 36" round table
- Dessert/Coffee - If you would like to have a dessert display or display the cake for guests to select their own, we recommend this table be 6' or 8' with either space for coffee as well or 2 tables to be sure it all fits.