“We only had 50 guests,” explains Nicole, a Toronto HR manager for a large firm downtown who decided to buck the trend and have the most intimate of weddings. “I had thrown parties bigger than that at my place, back when Frank and I were dating. But we decided to keep the reception super small, and I asked Frank what we should do for the seating. He just shrugged,” she recalls. “Most of the guests had known each other for a long, long time, and it didn’t make sense to force them into pre-arranged seating. We did round tables of 8, and let the guests work it out. Everyone was happy and socialized constantly throughout the entire reception!”
While the un-traditional seating plan format worked well for Nicole and Frank – as it might for any couple throwing a very small reception – for brides and grooms that have larger families, and/or plan to invite a diverse guest list of friends and colleagues who have never met, it probably wouldn’t work so well. The last thing you want at your wedding is people wandering around aimlessly, not committing to a particular seat and not knowing where they fit in (unless you’re doing an hors d’oeuvres-only party with very limited seating, in which case, that is kind of the point). And if you don’t put any thought into who will be seated with whom, or how the room will be arranged, you risk a Seinfeld-like ‘when two worlds collide’ scenario where people who should not be mixing, are seated together or bumping into one another as they try to get their food and drinks.
Wedding reception floor plan – do’s and don’ts
When you’re planning the seating and the floor plan for your wedding reception, it’s important to take into account the many different elements of your reception:
- Ballroom/reception hall size
- Table size (Round? Square? How many does each table accommodate?)
- Cake table
- Head table
- Dance floor
Now for some do’s and don’ts of planning your floor plan.
-Leave at least 2 feet around each table so guests can easily slide their chairs in and out.
-Make sure every guest is close to something important. For example, a guest should have easy access to the buffet OR be close to the head table OR have an excellent view of the band.
-Choose long tables, rather than round, if you’re having a small, intimate reception like Nicole’s. This style brings everyone closer together rather than having a very empty-looking room with scattered clusters of people.
-Have a kids’ table if your child guests are 5 and up; they will feel delightfully grown-up eating together and their table can also double as a craft table to keep them occupied during and after the various courses.
-Seat lone guests with other singles, not just couples.
-Try to cram too many people into a table. If a table seats a maximum of 10 people, take that very seriously – and try to put just 8 people there, if you can.
-Put the cake table right in front of the head table, or your guests won’t be able to see the happy couple making toasts or kissing!
-Put the cake table too near the dance floor; there is always the risk of it getting accidentally knocked over.
-Place elderly relatives too close to the music.
Still stumped as to how to achieve the perfect layout? GPS Decors can help you plan a functional wedding reception floor plan that includes everyone and optimizes your space and resources, without the hassle of planning it all yourself.
For Ideas & Inspiration – www.gpsdecors.com