September 16, 2014
First-time event planners and people who do not often host events often overlook one of the most fundamental questions of planning any event, especially large ones: “How many tables do I need to rent?”
The number of tables will be determined by the number of guests for the events and, on occasion, the particular needs of the event. If you’re worried about over-renting or under-renting, the general rule of thumb is to play safe and rent more than you need. (See our blog on chair rentals.)
Something that needs to be considered is the shape of the table. This will actually have a huge impact on the conversation, thereby affecting the overall guest experience. There are standard sized round tables and rectangular tables. There are big tables and small tables. Tables come in more varieties than one might think.
The shape and size of table can be determined by the event and the venue. Rectangular tables are often used for business meetings or less intimate events like banquets. Small round tables promote a more intimate or friendly occasion, such as small weddings. Large round tables, conversely, are well suited for large weddings, as they can provide equal opportunities for conversation but also leave room for guests to stand up and shuffle about as they like.
Rectangular tables can be positioned in several ways, but it is mostly dependent upon the necessity of the seating arrangements. In banquets or award ceremonies, the seating arrangements will be less about personal relationship dynamics and more about the requirements of the ceremony. It will also depend on whether or not people will need certain pathways. Consider your floor plan when considering tables.
To foster more personal relationships or to avoid certain dynamics at intimate events like weddings, circular tables should be utilized. The common event circle table is five feet in diameter. There is a four foot diameter round table that is more commonly reserved for very closely intimate relationships like bridesmaid’s tables and tables for the bride and groom. Our experience with table rentals in Los Angeles tells us that both the standard five foot circular and 8’ x 30’ rectanglular table will comfortably seat eight people. For an easier method of determining the number of tables to rent, simply divide the number of guests by eight.
The seating arrangement should match the intimacy of the event. After the number and tables and chairs are determined, the task of arranging guests according to personal dynamics will be the next task.