Wedding reception planning includes refreshments, decorations, seating and room arrangement, in addition to determining the location of the reception. The types of activities planned at the reception and the facility restrictions will influence some of your choices. The size and shape of tables at the reception can help you arrange the room to allow for the planned activities and needs.
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Long Tables: Uses and Advantages
Long tables work well for collecting gifts for the bride and groom and when you have large numbers of guests to seat. The wedding party and attendants may all sit together if you hook several long tables together. Long tables may work well for buffet-type food displays. They may also hold the wedding cake and punch bowl for those who don't plan to fill up on finger foods and buffet items.
Arranging long tables in rows can make seating crowded and impede the flow of guests in the reception area. If you plan to use long tables, you need to allow sufficient aisle room to allow guests to travel between the tables. You also need to allow enough room between the chairs to let people get in and out of the chairs without inconveniencing other guests.
Round Tables: Uses and Advantages
Arranging seating around round tables will take up more space than using long tables, but it will be easier for people to get to their seats and mill around. Round tables will encourage people to sit in groups and chat. Ringing round tables around the edges of a dance floor allows guests to get up and dance and return to their seats without having to manoeuvre down narrow aisles. Round tables are also practical for holding small finger foods items and display decorations.
Mixing Table Types for Best Use
Using a mix of round and long tables may provide the best of both worlds. You can seat the bridal party and attendants along one side of a long table so people are free to walk up and speak to the bride and groom or other members of the wedding party. Using only one side of the table also means that no one sits with his back to the room.
Use long tables for food and gift collection. This will help keep the traffic flow working, and the tables can be set up against the walls to reduce the needed space.
Use round tables for guest seating and allow people to choose their own seats. This arrangement will encourage people to move from one group to another and socialise. Round tables can form a ring around the edges of the room and leave a centre space for other activities.
Other Table Considerations
Long tables will cut down on the table decorations. You can use ribbon and table runners to connect decorations or just place the decorations at long intervals. Round tables will require table decorations for each table.
If you have to rent tables, you may find long tables are less expensive and easier to put up. You will likely need to rent or purchase fewer table covers using long tables because the covers can trail from one table to the next.
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