Ok so here is the not fun but necessary part of wedding planning. Lets talk tables and chairs(insert tongue out emoji) I know this technical stuff isn’t fun but you know what is worse? Finding out you don’t have enough tables the day before your wedding(big eye emoji) Ok enough pep talk lets get this done. First what tables do I need? Most weddings have guest tables, heat table, cake table, gift table, guest book table. You may also want or need food tables, cocktail tables, a bar or alcohol table, a table for your dj, a dessert table, a champagne table or a table for displaying pictures and memories. I have made a worksheet for you to keep track of what you need. You can download it HERE
First check with your venue does your contract include tables? If so how many and what size are they. Now this is more technical but make sure to ask what size and what are the measurements. Tables are typically long or round. Longs come in 10, 8 and 6 ft. Rounds come in 60in, 72 in, 84in(8ft) . If they don’t know the size ask them to find out or get someone who does. The size is important to know so you can figure out how many people you will sit at each table and what size tablecloth you will need. If you have to provide your own tables it is time to research table rental companies. Google table rental and you will find companies that rent just basic folding chairs and white plastic tables and companies that will rent you beautiful wood or Chiavari chairs and wood tables. The rental company may offer a consultation or they may just take your order and deposit. Before you do any of that lets figure out how many tables and chairs you need. Head table Ok so the most important table is often the one brides forget in their table count. Consider how many people will be at the head table. Just you and your groom? Your whole wedding party? Your kids? Parents or godparents? If it is just you and your groom it is called a sweetheart table and you could do a long, round or square table.
If you plan on having more than just you two you will need long tables. You do not want to put more than 3-4 people per table at the head table. If you put more than that your head table will feel and look overcrowded. I know tables can be expensive but you don’t want to look like you cant move your elbows in your wedding pictures. Cake table Cake! One of my favorite parts of the wedding. Cake makes everyone happy! Ok so this is an easy one. First how big is your cake and what else will be on the cake table. In most cases a long or round table will work. If you are having a large cake you probable want a round table to accommodate the large first layer.
Gift/guest book table You need a place for all of you cards and gifts. Will you be doing a guest book or some other form of a guest book? Lots of people use the same table but you may decide you want two. Decide and add them to your count. Guest tables Ok so here is the hard one. There are thousands of memes dedicated to expressing how stressful it is to get a guest count for a reason. The people you rent tables from knows this but they still need an estimate. First lets consider how many people you invited. Are you requiring an rsvp or not? Take an actual count of how many people you expect per invitation. Industry standard says to expect 85% of the number you invited. I know math. Here is what your equation should be.
Invitation count x .85 = How many people may show up
Lets pretend your invitation count is 200
200 x .85 = 170 guests
This is typically a good estimate but you know your people so don’t forget to take that into consideration. When picking out tables you should consider the Lay out of your venue. What will go where <check out our guide to reception layout here> Depending on the size of your table you can determine how many tables you need.
Ok more math. Don’t take out the wine until you finish the math (trust me). Take how many guests you have divided by how many people your table sits. If you don’t know what table you have just take your guest estimate to your table rental consultation.
Guest estimate ÷ how many your table sits = How many guest tables you need(round up)
In our example we had 170 guests. Lets say I am using 8’ long tables that sit 8. Here would be my math:
170 ÷ 8 = 21.25 (Round up to 22 tables)
Now double check your work and write it on your work sheet. Now you can open the wine.
Desert bar Are you having a popcorn, pie, candy, donuts, coffee, cookie, cupcake, nut or snack bar? Having a dessert bar is a fun trend and if you are having one be sure to include it in your table count.
Vendors, wedding party Here is the one that you may not know you need. Sometimes vendors will require you to provide them with tables. It is common with caterers, djs makeup artists, hairstylists and alcohols services. Usually they make you aware of this upfront but if they didn’t mention it shoot them a quick email or txt to find out.
Other specialty table(favors, champagne, photo display etc) We are almost done! If you are planning on any other table or display add them to your worksheet. Some people have memory tables to remember loved ones. I have had clients display wedding photos of all the couples in their family which I loved! You may want a table for your favors or any other items you are providing your guests with.
Chairs You should have written down your guest count above. Think about any extra chairs you may need. Some brides have extra chairs available during cocktail hour, in the woman’s restroom or in the kitchen. When picking out chairs consider size, comfort(guest will be seated for hours) color and style.
I know its a lot! But doing this work will ensure your guests are comfortable and your wedding will go smoothly