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The MBA Bride | October 24, 2021

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5 questions to ask the reception venue about seating

By: Julia Damon, Social Tables

With all the other planning details coming your way, you couldn’t possibly think of everything in advance to ask the venue about your big day.

No worries, we have put together 5 questions that you need to ask your venue before you begin seating (heck, they might even help you narrow down your venue choices):
1.Do they provide their own furniture?
This is important to think about because you may have limited options on whether you can have 6’ rounds or a long rectangular table etc. If you know what furniture items are available to you, it will be much easier to make the floor plan or seating arrangements. Also, if the venue does not provide rental furniture you will have to budget in chair and table rental.
2. Is there an upcharge for different seating options and is it worth it to you if there is?
Many brides don’t realize that it’s not just the number of chairs that adds to the rental furniture cost but also the type of chair. If you are going for a more elegant look you may want the Chiavari style chair, which can cost nearly triple the cost of the normal banquet chair! Is this worth it to you or would you rather spend a little extra and add ribbons to the classic banquet chair?
Chiavari style chairs in a communal table set up
3. How many people can the facility comfortable accommodate?
Many times the venue will give you a number based on fire code or other regulations, however we recommend giving your guests some extra dancing room. The usual “code” is to leave 2 feet in between tables, but this can be difficult to navigate through if you have many guests. Also, you have to think about the space that the dance floor, cake tables etc take up. So consider going 10% under the total capacity as being a comfortable amount of space.
4. Do they have any recommended floor plan ideas?
Many times the venue will know better than anyone what works and what doesn’t. They’ve seen hundreds of weddings or events and can tell you what may be best. Even if they have a recommended arrangement, don’t be afraid to ask about other options! Maybe you like the long communal table trend, which they have yet to see but it could work in the space. Also, a new trend is in having a lounge seating area, will they be able to accommodate this?
Lounge seating area at a wedding
5. If having your ceremony and reception in the same location, how long does it take for them to switch seating arrangements from one to the other and where do guests sit in between?
This is one of the top complaints of wedding guests! Sometimes the space for guests to enjoy a cocktail hour during the switch is incredibly small and does not have enough seats for guests. While during a cocktail hour not everyone will want to sit, make sure there is adequate seating especially for elderly to take a seat.
Any other questions that you think might be useful to ask sooner rather than later?

This is a guest blog post by Julia Damon of Social Tables, a web-based event planning platform that makes event planning less stressful by streamlining the arduous seating plan process. They make seating arrangements collaborative and fun.  


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