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April 08, 2022 2 min read

Tiny Details for Your Big Day: Choosing Your Reception Layout

You want to mix and mingle with every guest at your reception. However, it can be challenging to maneuver through a sea of closely stacked tables with a poofy gown.

What else should you consider when setting up for the big show? Here are four tips for choosing your reception layout for your big day:

1. Consider Your Venue

Is your reception taking place indoors or outdoors? Is it a formal affair with black tie preferred or a more casual gathering of friends and loved ones?

Formal indoor settings often include closer seating, meaning you can fit more people into a smaller space. You might save a few dollars by sizing down your conference room, but ensure you have ample aisle area to visit each guest table and thank them for their presence as dinner concludes.

Outdoor venues offer considerable advantages in today’s world. Guests with lingering COVID concerns might RSVP NO to indoor events but say YES to being outside. Your biggest problem is ensuring that all guest tables have adequate weather protection — rain and sun can make their dining experience less enjoyable otherwise.

2. Consider Your Crowd Size

Another factor to consider is crowd size. You do not want your guests to feel like sardines. As a general rule, row seating arrangements should allow six to 10 feet per guest. Keep this ratio in mind when booking your venue.

Opting for an outdoor event might be your best bet if you want a more spread-out seating arrangement. You can manage climate control with individual fire pits at each seating circle. Do you want some fun and whimsy at your wedding? Include a few sets of tongs and s’more-making supplies at each station to let guests recreate their favorite camping snack.

3. Consider Your Theme

Your theme might also dictate your reception layout. For example, those hoping to recreate a royal affair will want the bridal table front and center, elevated above the rest of your guests. More casual brides might do nothing but select one seat as their “throne” but spend most of their time standing and mingling.

4. Consider the Kiddos

Consider the little ones if you have them at your affair. Unless you specify a child-free wedding on your invitations, you should include a play area for the tiniest tots. Go a step further if you have the budget and hire a sitter so your parent guests can take a break and enjoy adult conversation.

Your play area need not be large — but it should be enclosed if outdoors. You don’t have to redo your entire backyard. You can rent temporary fencing for your affair at a fraction of the cost of new landscaping.

Make Your Reception Layout Work for YOU

You want everything perfect on your big day. Savvy hosts allow plenty of room for mixing and mingling with comfortable seats for dining. Follow the above tips for choosing your ideal reception layout.