If you’re planning a large-scale sitdown event like a wedding or a milestone birthday, deciding on your table arrangements and seating plan can be a pretty hefty challenge. And we don’t just mean seating Aunty Betty away from Aunty Beatrice because they don’t speak any more; we mean choosing how and where your tables are placed.
The way you position your tables and seat your guests can determine the whole dynamic of your event. For example, round tables make it easier for guests to chat with each other, but long tables work better for a share-style menu.
And – while tradition would call for a single, long rectangle ‘bridal table’ – we love the concept of ditching the formality and having the newlyweds and bridal party integrated amongst guests.
Today we’re here to help you decide with eight different ways that you can organise your seating plan. Take note of the positives of each to work which one will work best for your celebration.
1. Scattered round tables
Centred around a dance floor, round tables work well to create a social event atmosphere. They encourage guests to chat with those around them and entice people to get up and use the dance floor. While round table arrangements are not very impactful visually and harder to decorate, this is the easiest way to seat extra large guests lists (though there will be some work in considering which guests to seat at which tables!). Photography by Kimberley Cartmell
2. Two long tables
This seating arrangement very simple, easy to achieve and works well to fit a large number of people in a small space (which means you don’t have to spend a lot of time deciding who should and shouldn’t sit next to each other!). Long tables are visually striking and much easier to style than scattered tables. Image: Jodie + Brendan’s Wedding, HOORAY! | Photography by Callie Marshall, Florido Weddings
3. One long, curvy table
This style of seating has seen a recent rise in popularity (probably thanks to Pinterest!). While it isn’t very practical, it has major WOW-factor. It’s great for styling, but realistically, for most weddings it could only be considered for outdoor venues given the length of the table. Photography by Louisa Bailey
4. Multiple rows of tables
Again, this is a little more social because it means guests will be sitting closer together, though their conversation will be limited to those directly surrounding them. It’s also very easy to organise and looks super chic, don’t you think? Photography by Lisa Poggi
5. Japanese style
Rid yourself of chairs and opting for floor seating is perfect for ultra-relaxed events. With a mass amount of cushions, floor seating around low tables is both warm and inviting. Just ensure everyone will be comfortable sitting on the ground! If your Grandparents or Great Aunties and Uncles are coming, this might not be the wisest seating choice. Photography by Still Love Photography.
6. ‘U-Shape’ Arrangement
This arrangement works well to frame a feature, such as a pool – or even to frame the dancefloor. Your guests won’t feel as though they’ve been segregated into groups, and everyone will have a great vantage point for speeches, your first dance and all the milestone moments. Image: Caitlin + Zac’s Wedding, HOORAY! | Photography by Florido Weddings
7. Scattered Rectangle Tables
This arrangement works well if the shape of your venue is a little tricky to work with. Similar to circular tables, you will have a little bit of work cut out for you in deciding who to seat where, but it can create a buzzing social atmosphere and foster conversation between guests seated closely. This approach is easier to style when compared to scattered circular tables.
8. One long, straight table
Oh-so elegant, this table arrangement is perhaps this chicest and most formal of them all. Practically, this will only work if your venue has the space to allow for it, or if you’re hosting your occasion outdoors. Visually, having one epic table packs a whole lot of punch!
Photography by Dan O’Day Photography