Few wedding tasks cause as much stress as seating your guests at the wedding reception. Trying to organize all your acquaintances into agreeable table arrangements can be tricky (which explains why we’re all for open seating!). While making lists of tables and guests can be a lengthy process, it all starts with one key factor: the tables. Round or rectangular? This one decision is key to the overall feel, layout, and flow of the reception venue—and both come with several pros and cons. We’ve got everything you need to know in order to make a decision, right here:
- A classic, traditional choice. Round tables have long been a staple of wedding décor, so you can’t go wrong with a classic seating layout.
- Conversation. With smaller round tables, guests can more easily converse across tabletops with their entire group. This works best if most of your guests are well-acquainted and will likely be enthusiastic to chat.
- Flexible seating. Adding or removing guests is much easier with round tables. Be prepared to handle any unexpected changes in guest list seamlessly. You can also mix table sizes to accommodate different groups of guests.
- Easier flow. Round tables often make reception flow a little easier—guests don’t have to work around each other’s chairs quite as much as with rectangular tables.
- Cost. Round tables are typically less expensive to rent and transport. Since the tables will be covered with your pretty wedding décor, you don’t have to worry as much about the look of the table itself; you may be able to get away with an inexpensive table, topped with all-out décor.
- Cost. On the other hand, round tables can be expensive to accessorize. Multiple centerpieces, linens, chair drapings, etc. can add up if you’re not careful.
- Space. Round tables take up more space than rectangular tables, so plan carefully to make sure you’ll have ample space at your Austin wedding reception venue.
- On-trend. The start of 2016 has shown that banquet tables are in this year, and likely become even more popular. Plus, they make for stunning photos!
- More style options. Rectangular tables come in standard form (intended to be covered by décor), but they also offer more variety in style. Set the tone for your reception with organic wood farm tables or elegantly dark-stained banquet tables.
- Space-conscious. Fit more people in your reception venue with rectangular tables. A rectangular layout is easier to work with, and allows more guests to be seated at your event. Be careful though; banquet tables allow more space for your total number of guests, but less room for each person.
- Cost. With fewer tables to drape, cut costs on linens and centerpieces. Line the table with floral boughs and greenery, accented by big blooms and twinkling votives.
- Cost. On the flip side of lower linen and centerpiece costs, rectangular tables can be pricier to rent and transport.
- Strict seating. If you are assigning each place setting, be wary of rectangular tables. If a guest cancels last-minute or your college roommate decides to bring her new beau, an entire table of carefully calculated seating will be thrown off. We recommend leaving the head and foot of the table unassigned, so you can more easily shuffle guests if someone unexpected arrives.
- Reception flow: rectangular tables don’t allow as much movement if space is limited, since guests have to squeeze in between two people. This makes rectangular tables ideal for smaller, intimate receptions and seated dinners where guests are not expected to frequently move about the venue.
Our favorite style? Choose both! If you’re unsure which table fits your wedding style, there’s no reason you can’t have both at your reception. Mixing both types is easy if you’re considering a sweetheart table (for just the bride and groom) or a head table (for the bridal party or immediate family). Place the rectangular sweetheart table at the front of the venue, or center a long head table in the middle of other guests’ round tables. Choose what works for you!
No matter which style you choose, don’t fret about it too much; we’ve seen countless successful weddings with either option. Being informed about your options certainly helps make a wise choice on this key decision, but we promise that either option can turn out beautifully. To talk more about arranging round or rectangular tables at our Austin wedding reception venue, get in touch! We’d love to hear all your décor ideas.