Wedding dresses get too much press. Brides spend weeks trying on gowns to find the perfect fit.
Unfortunately, the style of a wedding gown won’t create a memorable experience for guests. With some relatives and friends traveling hundreds of miles to watch you tie the knot, a perfectly planned reception hall is a generous reward to offer in kind.
Create a plan for your wedding reception layout that’ll ensure a top-notch celebration.
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Choosing a Wedding Reception Layout
Gather guests in a formation that tells the story of your nuptials in the most comfortable arrangement for planned activities. A wedding reception is the icing on the cake after your ceremony.
After months of planning, it’s time to let loose and party with loved ones. Don’t feel pressured to mirror the wedding receptions of friends.
Traditional receptions follow formulas that might not match your personal style. Consider the size of your guest list before choosing a wedding reception layout.
The Big Bash
Are you a bride who’s guest list includes high school teachers and your third-grade bus driver? Fret not.
Big wedding receptions are the ultimate chance to party. Room layouts are plentiful with more than a couple of hundred guests. Take these steps when planning for a big crowd.
1. Center the Dance Floor
With a group this size, plated dinners need not be the star of the show. Instead, place your dance floor at the center of the room.
This encourages guests to get up from their seats and get moving early in the evening. Large reception halls can be costly.
The more time you spend partying and enjoying the company of loved ones, the more return you get for the investment.
2. Surround the Dance Floor with Tables
Next, it’s time to add seating. Round tables are the best option because they allow large groups to engage in conversation.
Rounds can also fit upwards of 10 guests. Add hi boys around the perimeter of the room for guests who can’t stay long.
The rounds being closest to the stage means guests can take breaks in comfortable seating while dancing the night away.
3. Add a Bar Near Dance Floor
It’s a lot to ask guests to pause during their favorite song to visit a bar way across the room. This is especially true in large hotel ballrooms where a trek to the bar can take minutes of weaving through guest tables.
Help your already tipsy crowd enjoy the moment with a bar next to the dance floor. The key is not having it too close where a spilled drink creates a hazard.
Leave a little room for a line to form. A rope and stanchion create traffic flow around the bar while keeping guests from disturbing people at nearby tables.
The Intimate Affair
Sometimes it’s best to keep the wedding reception to the people closest to you. This wedding reception style is best when it’s informal.
An extra-long picnic table in an outdoor garden is enough to celebrate your wedding with friends and family.
Follow these steps when creating a small, intimate wedding reception layout:
1. Assign Seats
In a tiny group of loved ones, everyone is important. But not everyone can sit directly next to the bride and groom.
Avoid hard feelings by assigning seats for guests. Detach the bride and groom’s seating from the crowd to level the playing field.
Place a small table for two at the head of the table where you can face all of the guests.
2. Designate a Stage Near Front
Create a ‘stage’ next to the bride and groom’s table by adding a small PA system. If your group has less than 20, you can skip the PA system and simply mark the speaking area through rope and stanchion.
3. Avoid Surplus Furniture
Maximize the space at a small reception by clearing out all furniture not being used for the event. This tip comes in handy when planning events in the backyards of friends or in a private home.
Add your own seating instead of relying on the host. A sturdy set of metal folding chairs offers a simple setup and breakdown process for the event.
Not every couple aims at a full day affair for their wedding day. Make more room for your honeymoon with a wedding reception layout that encourages guests to get in and out quickly.
Here are a few steps to this wedding reception plan:
1. Add Hi-Boys Only
Large table rounds help guests get comfortable and engage in long conversations. Replace this room layout with a reception hall filled with scattered hi boys.
Include just enough for guests to sit dirty plates and glasses, but not enough for every couple. The limited places to lean creates a cocktail party environment where guests interact with more people.
2. Include Passed Trays
Avoid adding a bar or food tables to your reception. Rely on passed trays to serve drinks and food to guests.
The lighter the fare, the better. Heavy meals can make guests sluggish and less likely to move along once you start inching toward the door.
3. Create a Program
A program helps everyone know what to expect. Add staging to the front of the room where guests can see when the program starts and ends.
Ensure a microphone and PA system is available so that announcements and toasts can be heard around the room. A screen and projector showing the program help latecomers follow along during the speeches.
An Affair to Remember
Few life events bring together more people you love than a wedding. The wedding reception layout brings the crowd together encouraging mingling and fun.
No one will remember where your tables are placed but they will remember how they felt during the event. Avoid stress by planning ahead to ensure a room layout is a practical option for the wedding you imagined.
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