You’ve picked out your color palette, designed the floral arrangements and set the perfect dinner menu but how is the room going to be set up for everyone to enjoy these things? Will there be round tables or rectangular tables? Maybe a mix? Where will the band or DJ be set up and how big of a dance floor will there be? A well thought out floor plan is key to a flawless reception! Follow these easy steps to help you create the perfect reception floor plan. 


1. Decide where the dance floor and DJ/band will be.

Think about it, your reception will mostly revolve around the entertainment so make sure the dance floor is centrally located, large enough for your guest count and if you are having a band that they are front and center from the dance floor. 


2. Pick what table shape you want and how many you need. 

Once you’ve got the dance floor location picked, you should fill in your tables around. First and foremost, decide where you and your future spouse will be seated. Will you have a sweetheart table, a king’s table or a head table? After that, decide if you will use rounds, rectangles, squares or a mix of both for the guest seating. Lastly, once you know your final head count, you can figure out exactly how many tables you will need. 


3. Place the bar(s).

Don’t place the bar by the entrance because it will create a bottleneck. However, do place it near the dance floor so it’s easily accessible and doesn’t pull guests too far off the dance floor during the party. Highly consider adding a second satellite bar when your guest count is over 150.  


4. Now, add the food tables.

While you won’t need buffet or station tables, if you are having a plated meal, there are still food tables to consider. Don’t forget the dessert table and/or cake table. If you are having a traditional multi-tiered cake and doing a ceremonial cutting, make sure your cake table is centrally located so people can watch. If not, ask your venue if they have a rolling table so they can roll it onto the center of the dance floor when it’s time to cut. 


5. Lastly, pick where you want your “extras.”

This means things like a seating chart or escort card table, a welcome sign, gift table, memorial table, favors table or guest book table. Really, anything else that is going to be displayed! Not only will it help with set up, but you won’t be scrambling last minute to find a table to set your card box on. 



Don’t forget these pro tips when working on your lay out!

  • Mix the sides of the family, it doesn’t have to be one family on one side of the room and one on the other.
  • Wedding planners are a great tool in helping you create floor plans.
  • Seat your older guests further away from band/DJ for sound reasons.
  • Don’t forget ceremony and cocktail hour floor plans.
  • Number tables in a way that makes sense so it’s easier for guests to locate. 


Photo Courtesy of Highland Brewery

Photo Credit: Caroline Lima Photography