You have secured a date for the event, booked the perfect venue and written your guest list. Still, your final task of choosing a seating arrangement for your guests feels like a daunting task.
Figuring out the seating layout of an event is a tricky affair. If not well thought out, someone may get tackled by the end of the event.
A good seating arrangement is important because:
- It saves time.
- It avoids confusion and distractions as people can easily locate where to seat.
- It makes it easy for the caterer to serve meals.
- It helps the host understand if the venue can accommodate all invited guests.
Now we are in agreement about the importance of a good seating arrangement. Stick around, and we will show you how to create a seating plan that will leave your guests comfortable and your event a memorable celebration.
When seating guests at an event, bear in mind the following:
- The number of invited guests
- Ideal seating style for your event
- Plan using online tools
- Special groups at the event
- Do a last-minute check
Let’s have a look at each of these.
The Number of Guests
How many people have you invited to the event? How many guests have RSVP’d?
The number of guests at your event will greatly affect your seating plan. Be sure the venue can accommodate all your invited guests. You don’t want guests to stand outside or at the back of the room because the venue cannot seat everyone.
Trying to change the venue closer to the event because you realise it can’t accommodate everyone is not only expensive but may prove difficult.
If you have 20 guests for an event, then you have the option of assigning specific seating arrangements.
However, if you have a guest list of 100 people, you will want everyone to have a specific place to sit. Why? Guests will appreciate that you took the time to plan where they will be located. It will also save you lots of headaches.
Avoid seating guests too close to each other. They need to have space to move around or dance without feeling claustrophobic.
For good seating arrangements, invest in tables and chairs that can be moved around. A good rule of thumb for placing tables is to leave a minimum of 24 inches between the corners of the tables.
Do not overlook the flow of traffic at the event, especially if you have many guests. You want your guests to walk in and out with minimal distractions.
Use Online Tools
You might be wondering if you even need a seating chart at all. If you have over 50 guests, you should definitely use one.
Don’t go for the old fashioned way of planning seating arrangements by drawing the floorplan of the room on a poster board and sketching in all the tables and chairs. It is tedious and messy because your handwriting may not be legible to others.
The modern way is by using online software. It is easy to plan, and it’s efficient and time-saving.
With software, you can map out the room and see exactly how it will look on the day. You can also shift chairs around until you get the seating arrangement that accommodates all your guests.
Online software allows you to incorporate other people and planning together. Get it from Dan Berger, the CEO of Social Tables: “If you use web-based software, collaborating is as easy as sharing the URL, and software that has 3D rendering helps you visualize your event.”
Find some tips on how best to use online software below:
Choose an Ideal Seating Style
Define what kind of event it is. Is it a wedding reception, a garden wedding or even a gala award? Will your event be indoors or outdoors?
Different events will go best with certain seating styles. Remember, your venue space will also determine what seating arrangement is best to adopt.
|1. Garden wedding
|2. Lectures and seminars
|3. Product launches
|4. Small meetings
|Conference/boardroom style seating
|5. Wedding receptions
|6. Gala awards
Regardless of the seating style you choose, you want your event to be spectacular. Make a great impression with your customers by using good quality food and beverage linen from Australian Linen Supply.
Pay Attention to Special Groups
When planning for seating arrangements, consider the special groups at your event. For instance, a wedding with divorced parents or an event with adult guests or children.
If the event is a wedding and there are parents who are divorced, you can place them at different tables.
When it comes to elderly guests, seat them near the aisles and exit so as to make their movement easy.
Children should be away from the camera and speakers. If you have a good number of children at the event, set a kid’s table not too far away from their parents.
Chances are, there will be guests at your event with existing feuds and spats. It is important that you recognise this and accommodate them.
If you’re worried about personalities clashing or guests that do not get along, be tactful. Assign them to different tables so everyone gets to choose who they sit next to.
Do a Last-Minute Check
There may be changes and some of the guests may do a last-minute cancellation. Don’t panic. Instead, build your seating chart after your RSVPs are in, not before.
One week prior to the event, make final checks to confirm how many guests will attend the event. This way, you can get an almost accurate idea of how many guests to expect and avoid surprises.
Once you have done your best to ensure everyone has a seat and you’ve accommodated special needs as much as possible, go ahead and let your guests have fun.
Always double-check the venue to ensure good quality food and beverage linen is available.
Feature Image: FotografieLink