Your Wedding Seating Chart: Round Tables Versus Banquet
Round tables are a classic choice, but maybe it’s time to start thinking outside the traditional circle. There’s no right or wrong here; it’s simply a matter of your venue space and personal preference. Let us help you consider the pros and cons.
Depending on the shape of your venue, round tables often take up less space, so going this route means you can fit more guests.
At a large round table, it’s often difficult for guests on opposite sides to communicate, especially if your centerpieces are large. At a rectangular banquet table, guests are much closer and it’s easier for them to converse.
Oftentimes, linens for round tables can be less expensive than those for rectangular banquet tables.
When that wayward uncle from far away decides at the last minute that he wants to attend, it’s harder to squeeze additional guests into round tables. Rectangle tables allow you more flexibility because you can stick an additional guest on an end or on the joint between the two tables.
ROUND TABLE TIP
Design-wise, you end up with a lot of blank space in between the centerpiece and the plates on a round table, especially if you go with a 72-inch round to accommodate more guests. Plan accordingly with your centerpieces and votive candles to be sure you’re filling the space with pretty details.
RECTANGLE BANQUET TABLES
Let’s be honest: Long tables look gorgeous and photograph extremely well. Your centerpieces and votive candles will cascade down the table and the photographer can get one long shot looking down the entire length, truly showcasing all your hard work on the design of your tablescape.
If your tables are very long, more than two eight-foot banquet tables pushed together, then you may end up with 30-plus guests at each full table. In this case, you may want to consider place cards, which would indicate specific seats for each person so people don’t get confused or have trouble choosing a seat. This could make the creation of your seating chart feel like more work than usual.
If you plan to have a traditional long head table where the bride, groom, and bridal party face the room, then it will match the rest of the tables in the room and create a more cohesive look.
Linens for eight-foot banquet tables tend to be more expensive than those you would use on a 60-inch round table.
RECTANGLE TABLE TIP
Even if you choose to push three or four of the eight-foot banquet tables together for a long, elegant look, consider labeling or numbering each section as its own table. This will help guests find their way.
Many people believe that round tables create more of a social atmosphere and that people cannot converse when seated at a long banquet tables. We disagree. At an eight-foot banquet table, guests across the table from one another are only three feet away, so they can can chat with individuals directly in front of them, as well as to their left and right on both sides of the table. “At my wedding, I remember chatting with members of my bridal party that were three or four seats away on the opposite side of the table. I was so happy about the community we created that night by using the long banquet tables,” says our own editor, Kristin Burgess, about her December 2010 wedding.