Banquet seating arrangements are one of those invisible factors in any celebration — when it is done properly, it simply feels right; when it’s done wrong, it’s highly noticeable. Seating arrangements at any event are designed to take advantage of the space while still providing comfort for the guests. The larger your party, the more complex your arrangements may become. Here are a few of the leading considerations when arranging seating for a banquet or other large event.
Deciding on a Shape for Your Banquet
Traditional banquets can come in many shapes and sizes. Most people think of the “round” seating style for a banquet; this has the advantage of creating small, closely knit groups, but the challenge of deciding who to sit at each table. There are also other types of banquet seating arrangement: oblong, rectangular tables; classroom tables; theater style tables; and square banquet tables. Either way, the goal will be to make sure as many people are seated at each table as possible, in order to conserve space.
Before you can choose your seating, you need to choose the shape and layout of the banquet. If you’re working with a hall, they may already have specific floor plans available they can recommend. Don’t forget that the table shape will affect how well individuals can interact with each other and how they interact with the environment space; for instance, classroom or theater style is usually preferred if there is a stage event, whereas round tables are used more dining events or when interaction between attendees is a must.
Estimating the Amount of People Seated
Different sized tables can, of course, hold different amounts of people. Before you move forward you will need to consult different seating charts to determine your capacity. For instance, a 48″ table (round) will usually hold six people comfortably. Comparatively, a 60″ table (round) can hold eight individuals in relative comfort. Determine the number of people that you need to seat first — the amount of individuals attending the event — and then you can determine how many tables you’ll need to seat people in your preferred form of seating. This is where RSVPs become very important. Remember: the larger the table, the less intimate the gathering will usually be.
Grouping The Tables
Ideally at a banquet, you want to group individuals and families by those that they know the best — apart from children who are generally seated in specific areas. Grouping individuals make the entire banquet more fun and friendly for those who like to chat and interact. After you’ve grouped those who you know are either related to each other or know each other very well, you can then move on to grouping those who don’t know anyone at the event or families that don’t have enough to fill a table. The goal is to get as few of these “unrelated” tables as possible, so it’s generally best to leave it for last. If you find that you have a lot of table space left over (or you need just one more table), you may need to go back and adjust the table size or quantity until it is more suitable.
Seating the Individuals
In very traditional banquet seating arrangements, it’s commonplace to seat women and men alternating, with couples together. But seating individuals in this fashion is often considered to be deprecated now; not everyone does this. It depends on your event and your setting. Seating men and women in an alternating fashion is generally a challenge, as it does require another level of balancing tables — you need to make sure those who are attending are in a 50/50 male and female split, which isn’t always possible. When seating individuals, however, there are some things that need to be taken into consideration on an individual level, such as issues with handicap access.
Apart from your banquet seating arrangements themselves, you’ll need to find a solid source of furnishings and other decor. At Advantage Church Chairs, we carry an extensive inventory of chairs to suit any seating arrangement. Contact us today to find out more about our offerings and our bulk prices!