Party Seating Styles

So the Marquee is sorted, you have a good idea of the space for your party reception. What next?

First things first, before you start worrying about strategic seating plans to identify and address any potential possibilities for personal conflict or matchmaking opportunities, it is worth exploring your options for seating style especially when you are looking as assigned seating.

There may be more options available to make your life easier when deciding on who sits where, than you first thought, based on how you arrange the tables and therefore, the seating. Then you can look at the nitty-gritty and start to figure out who’s table nosy Aunt Edna will go on.

For example, many people tend to go straight for the traditional banquet style seating for weddings and events. This multi-table layout encourages interaction and allows for the VIPs to be in the middle or head of the room, ensuring that they are at the heart of the action. However, this layout needs thoughtful consideration around who sits next to who to avoid potential conversational car crashes. Be mindful of not obscuring the line of sight or blocking the flow of conversation with flamboyant centerpieces unless this is an advantage to the group dynamic! This is one of the more common seating styles and is very suited to a wedding or party marquee.

Looking for a more intimate atmosphere, while making great use of the space? Have you considered family-style seating? This long-rowed table style makes for great photographic opportunities as well as keeping those seating plan choices as simple as possible.

A less obvious seating style but definitely one to think about is the cabaret style. This is similar to the banquet style with multiple round tables however the guests are seated on one side, offering a great view of the action; be that if you are organising a charity event with hosts and performers or a wedding with the top table at the front of the marquee. This style also gives the guests an opportunity for respite if there are any conversational gaps.

Then there is the horseshoe style seating; less commonly seen at weddings and more suited to conference-style events, however, we at Bucks Marquees are seeing a growing trend in this shaping especially for smaller party groups. This style promotes social interaction but if there are restrictions on venue size, then this may not be the most efficient use of floor space as seating capacity is limited. However, with a party tent or wedding marquee, there are far more options in really getting the ideal venue size to suit the seating style of your dreams without having to compromise.

Remember to start building the seating plan after your RSVPs have come in and not before. It is easy to spend time analysing and obsessing over this element of planning a party but until you know who is coming, your energy can be spent productively elsewhere. Guests are seated for around two hours at the most so there will be plenty of chances for them to mingle before and after the meal.

Happy planning!