Post # 1
I am stressing and I’m hoping for some good advice from the hive.
When I selected my reception venue, I was told that it would seat up to 200 people. With an estimated attendee list of 175-80, I figured it would be perfect. Unfortunately, I don’t think I was really able to visualize that amount of people in the space we have.
As we have gone back to the venue for tastings, etc, I have come to realize how tiny this reception venue really is. I hate the idea that we will feel cramped at the wedding reception and I’m looking for some solutions.
I’ve attached almost every picture I have of the room. I have asked for the proportions, but the manager at the venue didn’t know them.
I know this is poorly drawn, but I also sketched the layout of the room, and I think I did pretty well proportionately.
My questions are: if we leave the double doors open to the side of the patio, can/should we seat people out there? (like maybe the kids? we will have about 12 kids under 16)
Should we seat ten at a table (table that seat 8-10, but 10 is very tight) and go for fewer tables, or seat 8 or 9 at a table and have more tables?
Should we use long rectangle tables (will they even fit more people?
Is it feasible to move the head table or separate after the eating is done to make more room and allow access to the porch?
Post # 3
I would say fewer tables with more people per table. You want the place to feel spacious and be easy for people to move around in. If it’s a little squished at the table, it’s no big deal.
I think it’s a good idea to break down the head table. Maybe have them put a couple of cocktail tables in its place to encourage people to mingle there? Or just leave the space open for overflow from the dancefloor?
But mostly- as long as there is plenty of room on the dance floor- that’s what really counts. Try to keep the tables pushed back a bit from it and seat people you know will dance nearest to the floor. You don’t want elderly, hard of hearing or non-dancing people in those tables because the music and the crowds of people coming and going from the dancefloor will bother them.
Post # 4
I say fewer tables more people and if you can put the kiddies in a separate room (with doors open) go for it!!
Post # 5
If you can make fewer tables work, then I would do that so you have more room. Plus, if it is tighter then that will encourage people to get up to mingle and dance!
Post # 6
I also agree that fewer tables with more people work best. I suggest you use banquet seeting or long square/oval tables. Outside I would put cocktail tables (if possible) so if people want to smoke or have a drink they can comfortably.
Post # 7
I think putting 9 people at a table will be good. 10 is a lot. Opening the doors and putting the kids outside could work as well. Also- what about turning the head table into a table where people sit all the way around it, and not on just one side? Does that make sense? That way you’d cut the table in half. And not to offend anyone, but I think the one-sided head table is slightly awkward.
Post # 8
- Wedding: June 2008 - Winery in the Gold Country
Great advice that PPs are giving, but what does your reception venue have to say about all this? How can they tell you that a space fits 200 when it clearly doesn’t? My venue was very adamant about saying that they can fit 110 comfortably, and would be very uncomfortable allowing more than 125 people. We ended up being 120, and it was tight, just like they said, but at least they warned us several times. Does your venue have examples of previous events that held this many people?
Post # 9
I’m with Penguin on this one.
My space said they could fit 200 and realistically with all the other stuff like buffet tables, DJ, head table, dance floor, I don’t know how they fit that many. I’m only having 100 guests and I have thought a time or two, "200… REALLY?"
I would go with less tables that seat more people, and talk to your venue. Ask them to see it set up for 200 or at least for a picture. You’re paying them money, that shouldn’t be difficult for them, so don’t let them give you a hard time.
Post # 10
Here are a couple of things to think about –
- What are the reception sites dos and dont about the venue regarding seating?
- Does the venue have previous seating chart and or diagrams of arrangments from previous event where 200 have been seated? they should.
- How many guest have confirmed and RSVP-ed with you? Can you give yourself any room in the count to take away any chairs…think about it.
- Children on a balcony of any sort is probably not acceptable because of insurance liability. Im suprised your venue doesnt have it in your contract. For a nominal fee you may be able to get a second room- decorate, provide seating and a source of entertainment for children. Im sure some of the guys in your wedding party have game consoles and a tv. How about board games. Brightly colored paper, crayons, pencils and small metal buckets can be a pleaser for small kids. What about a clown to paint faces, magician. Rent a photobooth or popcorn popper-which leads to how about a movie(most game consoles play them)….on the inside not on a balcony. Also, can you utilize the outside grounds of the venue…kids love outside activities.
- Seating of live bodies -9 people to a table should be sufficent. I am unsure of the size of your wedding party but in the photos there are 8 chairs at the head table. Why not make that one circular too and have the bride and groom facing the family, guest and friends….because chairs can be easily turned to see a toast or see the action.
- What about dance floor and dj? Buffet or sit down ? Dance floors and dj space should be fit into this equation unless it is provided outside of the square footage presented here. Buffet meals mean more guest foot traffic so plan accordingly. (Give kids their own small buffet- keeps little one out of the way and avoid accidents and accidents. Also,another option- ask ushers or people that would love to help – from ceremony to help guide the guest traffic.)
Hope this helped to give you some ideas. Good Luck.
Bree Brookes Robinson http://www.aposhplan.com
Post # 11
Agree with more people to fewer tables. Does your venue even have the rectangular tables? As for putting the kids outside… You said under 16. So how old, specifically? As a parent, I’m not sure I’d like my child sitting at a table outside, away from me. I think children’s tables in general, have the potential of working really well, or being a disaster. As in, if you have a few trouble makers, they all can get too noisy, giggly etc. Also, what will your back plan be if it’s raining that day?
Does the facility allow smoking? Are there smokers who might be able to sit outside, instead?
Post # 12
You know, I forgot to mention earlier. Sometimes venues say they can fit a certain number of people (they don’t always mention they can comfortably fit them) and technically can, but once you start adding other elements that number changes. My venue told me it could fit 300, but when it came down to it, we were somewhat tight with 200. You also have to think about how when you are arranging tables that you might be able to seat 10 per table, but sometimes it doesn’t workout that you can actually put that many people there because you don’t want to split up couples, families, etc.
Post # 13
I agree fewer tables with more people and hopefully they will be dancing so it will not be a problem.
Post # 14
I agree w/Pengy on this one. Fewer tables will look great.
And no to kids in separate room unless there are more than 1 baby sitter watching them all and only one way in/out with safety issues met. NO kids on balcony. Definitely keep safety issues in mind.
Very lovely venue btw..love the wall of windows!
Post # 15
Thanks guys for your advice!
The kids would NOT be on a balcony…but on a cement patio to the west of venue (not behind the head table…that area is for smokers/lounging, etc). There are 7 of the kids, ages 8-16, but none younger than 8.
There are no other rooms than the main banquet room and the bar.
My venue doesn’t do a lot of weddings. The guy I’ve been working with is actually the chef and doesn’t seem to know very much about the event end of things (he prefers to be kind of hands off…and told us he is trying to convince the manager to hire an event coordinator so he can get back to just cooking)
It sounds like the pictures he sent me are the only ones he has of weddings (picture I didn’t attach are details of chair sashes and ceterpieces from another wedding) I asked about a drawing of the layout with that many tables and he said he did not have one. I also asked about the dimensions of the room so I could plan it myself, and he did not know them. I am going to call and ask him to get this information ASAP if he doesn’t already have it, because it’s making me nervous.
I was way too wedding illiterate and apparently have a poor sense of space and perception when I selected the venue, but I was feeling option-less with an 8 month engagement, no way to change our date, and every venue we looked at already booked. I have huge regrets now, but I have to work with what I have. Too many guests and too small of a venue!