Wedding Reception Seating: Misconceptions About Long Banquet Seating


Featured Photographer: Fandl Photography

We often think about the world through shapes. We have circles of friends, square meals, love triangles. While arranging homes and business, aerial views would show configurations clearly dictated by geometry. Our wedding receptions, in turn, follow suit: shapes inform both our furniture choices and their formations.

As we plan our events, the seemingly innocent undertaking of seating configurations can suddenly feel quite complicated. More often than not, we go with what we know, and we gather round. And of course round tables can be fabulous, but…

John Hensel, Senior Event Designer at HMR Designs in Chicago, invites us to keep an open mind, and hopes to dispel a couple common misconceptions about long, banquet style seating, a configuration he feels is too often overlooked – perhaps for all the wrong reasons.

Misconception 1: Guest interaction is limited at long tables

According to John, the opposite is actually true. In closer proximity, guests can more easily branch out to those across the table in all directions.

Skeptical? Consider the numbers alone:

The widest banquet table tops out at 48 inches, and can be as narrow as 36. Compare this to the average round table, which puts anywhere from 66 – 72 inches between your guests.

Long tables can often accommodate larger groups quite handsomely, even gracefully. John helps brides and grooms avoid getting mired in the number of inches, by instead focusing on the overall aesthetic lengthy tables can add to certain spaces. He reminds us that the key is to embrace your space, and make it an asset. The end goal is not just to fit everyone, but also to achieve the right feel for your crowd.

Long, narrow tables also bring your guests closer to your floral and tabletop décor. Put your guests courtside to low, lush centerpieces, or let them relish the sensation of being directly beneath the blooms in larger, lifted pieces. What better a return on your investment than knowing that your guests enjoyed your décor to the fullest.


Featured Photographer: Kent Drake Photography


Featured Photographer: Kent Drake Photography

Misconception 2: Long tables restrict your floral and décor As with round or square tables, long tables are also great for floral and décor of varied heights and styles. For super expansive spaces, you can opt for a long, dramatic décor motif, or a meandering collection of beautifully styled pieces. Regardless of your vantage point, these long stretches of floral and candlelight are truly striking.


Varied materials such as wrought-iron, glass, crystal, or vintage vessels, and floral and lighting elements of varying heights can span the length of a room beautifully, creating a very graphic presentation of repetition and rhythm. Long tables can also be mixed with round, square or oval tables to create a more interesting spatial dynamic.


Featured Photographer: Fandl Photography


Featured Photographer: Tim Walters Photography

Fall into Line In the end, John reminds us to choose a designer you can have faith in. While you hold your vision in your minds’ eye, it will be up to them to whisper it out of you and make it a truly gorgeous reflection of your taste. Take advantage of their seasoned understanding of spaces, and everything will fall beautifully into place.{"url":"","count":4694})