When organizing an event, there are many considerations to take into account. Besides the budget, food, activities, and decorations, you also have to plan out the seating and tables.
Here is a breakdown of recommended guidelines from the hospitality industry. This will help you determine how to space your tables and chairs, how many tables you need, and how to lay out the room to maximize your space.
Table of Contents
- Calculating the Number of Tables You Need
- Spacing Between Chairs and Tables
- Best Layouts for Your Room
- Where to Find Event Furniture
Note: Due to the unpredictable nature of COVID-19, be sure to always check local health ordinances to see if there are any special precautions you need to take. In some cases, you might need to leave more spacing between seats and tables to follow social distancing guidelines.
Calculating the Number of Tables You Need
First, have a firm headcount for your event. It’s also a good idea to know the maximum occupancy of the room so you can make sure you’re not exceeding this limit.
Once you know exactly how many people to expect, you need to determine the best type of tables to accommodate your guests. There are many styles to choose from, but plastic folding tables often work well because they are portable, affordable, and easily stored. The shape and dimensions of the table will determine seating capacity per table. Banquet tables can seat anywhere from 2 to 10 people.
Once you’ve decided on a specific type of table, you can calculate the number of tables you need. Simply divide the total number of guests by the seating capacity of each table. For example, if you have 100 guests coming and you have decided on tables that seat 6 people each, divide 100 by 6 to get an estimate of 17 tables (16.7 rounded up). It is always better to round up and have empty chairs than to risk a shortage of seating.
Spacing Between Chairs and Tables
Once you’ve ordered the tables and chairs, you’ll need to set them up in your event venue. Here are guidelines to follow as you’re arranging your seating and tables:
- The minimum spacing between each table is 52 inches for rectangular or square tables and 60 inches for round tables.
- When setting up the chairs, leave 18 inches between the table and the back of each chair, and 16 inches between the backs of chairs for rectangular or square tables (52 inches total) or 24 inches for round tables (60 inches total).
- Leave 30 inches from the back of a chair to the wall.
- It’s also important to keep in mind the spacing between chairs at the same table; try to leave 16 inches of elbow room.
Best Layouts for the Room
Beyond the minimum spacing requirements, you need to decide on a standard layout for your tables so that everything looks uniform and you are utilizing the space in the best possible way.
Here are some common layouts you can use with each shape of table.
For rectangular tables:
A rectangular shape lends itself to rows. If your room is longer than it is wide, set the tables up in horizontal rows to maximize that extra length. If it is wider, vertical rows work best.
For square tables:
A simple layout of rows works well, but you also have the option to angle your tables into a diamond shape. If you do this, the spacing can be adjusted to 24 inches between the corners of each table.
For round tables:
Round tables can be set up in rows as well, but keep in mind that they do require extra space (60 inches between tables). To help you maximize space when using round tables, shift the start of each row so that you have diagonal rows.
Where to Find Event Furniture
If you are renting a venue, the furniture may be included. If it is not, you can rent furniture from a separate vendor. Or, you can purchase your own tables and chairs to be reused for future events. This is a great option for organizations that hold multiple events throughout the year. Purchasing event furniture is a larger investment up-front, but it will ultimately save you money in the long run as you hold more events. Just make sure you have enough storage space to hold the furniture.
There are many vendors selling standard table sizes. You want to be sure you’re choosing a reputable seller who will pay attention to quality. Make sure you talk to the sales associates before making a purchase so that you can ask them any questions you might have. They should be courteous and knowledgeable and help you make the best decision for your needs.
Types of Event Seating
Depending on the type of event, you’ll need different styles of seating:
Folding tables and chairs are great for casual or outdoor events.
If you need a high-end chair for a formal event, banquet chairs are the perfect solution.
ChurchPlaza has been serving America’s churches for over 35 years. We’re proud to say we’ve earned the endorsements of 47 national denominations, ministries, and/or their publishing houses. If you’re in need of quality event seating and tables for your church, we invite you to browse our selection. Contact us today to get a quote for seating and tables.