Event floor plans can be overwhelming to design, but with these key points to consider, you can confidently create the best set up for your guests and your party! Most venues and event planners will offer suggestions based on best use of the space operationally and socially. Keep in mind there will be limitations based on the actual venue/room floor plan and the furniture in it. Venue representatives and event planners will certainly guide you in the best direction, but always feel free to vocalize your preferences. Here I will outline some points to consider when planning your cocktail and seated meal reception floor plans!
Cocktail Reception Floor Plan
Traditionally the best use of a space for a cocktail style party will allow larger social areas for gathering while still incorporating tables and furniture for food and beverage. Cocktail tables are suggested to allow your guests a place to rest their beverages while allowing for a more fluid and open floor plan. It is also common to intermix smaller tables and chairs for seating throughout the space. Having a mix of both cocktail and seated tables will allow for maximum guest comfort and will cover all guest needs. Depending on the length of the party, I suggest seating for 50-75% of your guests. More specifically, the chair-to-person ratio should be minimally 2 people per 1 chair knowing your guests will most likely not all be seated at the same time. Some hosts prefer to have the exact number of chairs as guests which would also be fine based on the availability in the venue space.
Seated Meal Floor Plan
Most common table sizes will range from 6-8-10 guests, so please check with your venue before creating the seating chart. Your event planner and venue contact will direct you to the best table set up based on the space and best flow for your event. Please consider the operational needs of the venue and team for properly servicing of your guests. The sweetheart table/head table is usually the best place to start as this location should be the focal point of the set up. Close family and friend’s tables should follow, then the rest of your invited guests. Keeping the guest count on each table somewhat even will help your guests feel most comfortable and assist in keeping a cohesive look to the overall event design.
Set up considerations for your guests’ comfort:
- Leave the entrance to the space most open for guests’ arrival and departure
- Station Food and Beverages in separate locations to best manage your guests within the space
- Similarly, separate all place card/display/decor tables throughout the space to avoid crowding
- Keep cocktail tables near the dance floor to allow your guests a place to rest their food and beverages
- Make sure the toast/speech area may be seen and heard by all table locations
*If there are elderly guests with seating requirements, reserve them a table nearest the dance floor so they may also enjoy the party with a close view point as they will most likely be seated at this table most of the party.
As always, please feel free to comment or email me with any questions! I am always happy to help!