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Setting the mood with seating arrangements

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Seating arrangements help set the tone for an event. Straight rows with squared edges focus attention on a company meeting or conference speaker. Curving chairs around a wedding party helps to create an intimate atmosphere. Using benches can create a community atmosphere by reducing the separation between guests. A reception often calls for using 60-inch or 72-inch round tables surrounded by eight to 10 seats to create small groups of conversations. Some clients choose to use long tables with benches or chairs to create a banquet feel.

One popular trend in seating arrangements is to create lounge areas that encourage guest interaction. “We offer Party CAD drawings to help clients visualize the set up of their event,” says Farrah Slinger, special event and party goods manager of A to Z Event Essentials, Madison, Wis. “A site visit to the venue also helps clients envision their events.” TCT&A Industries, Urbana, Ill., uses 30-inch round tables set on a 30-inch tall base and surrounded by three to four chairs. Tabletops can also be set at a height of 42 inches to create small gathering spots for people to stand and drink. Event Rentals Unlimited, Marietta, Ga., uses white leather sectional couches that can be curved around a low table or broken into smaller chairs or love seats and placed around ottomans and tray tables. A to Z Event Essentials uses chocolate brown sofas and matching oval ottomans to create warm, intimate lounge areas.

When planning the seating arrangements, be sure to check local fire codes, including rules for maximum capacity and emergency exits.

Jennifer Sellers is a freelance writer based in Minneapolis, Minn.

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