We’re back again with the talented Janice of Bellwether Events, here to give us more tips and advice on at-home weddings! Today she’s chatting with us about wedding floor plans. Although this might not sound like the most exciting part of planning your wedding, it is incredible vital to the overall success of your event. Because of this, we suggest you tune in! Take it away, Janice!
Last month I wrote about wedding tents and hopefully I gave you a good foundation of knowledge to begin planning your tented home wedding. Before that, I launched this wedding advice series with a post about guest lists and wedding budgets, so this is a good time to get into detail about what will go into your tent.
I have had clients need to set up 2 tents in order to accommodate both the shape of the yard and the space needed for all their needed items. Your tent vendor should be able to discuss this option with you if it is so needed. This is not a cheap option, as I discussed in this post about the cost of wedding tents, but it may be the only way to accommodate your wedding guest list in your given amount of space.
Most things that need to be accounted for in your wedding tent floor plan are pretty obvious: reception dinner tables and a dance floor. But there is a quite a bit more to plan for which may impact the size wedding tent you rent. You will need space for a bar or two, buffet tables if your meal isn’t plated, a wedding cake table, a coffee station if desired, your entertainment, as well as some service tables to be used by the wait staff to stash water pitchers, bottles of wine, and to use while clearing the food plates. Almost all of these are requirements. There could be other things you want or need in your tent as well such as your guest book, a gift table, a lounge area with seating, some cocktail tables for casual gathering; the list can go on.
Your tables and dance floors
The biggest wedding floor plan demand will be your dining tables. Round dinner tables come in the following sizes: 3′, 4′, 5′, 5.5′ and 6′ and can accommodate anywhere from 2-12 guests. Most couples will be able to set up their wedding seating chart using a majority of 5′ round tables; these seat 8-10 guests each. Note: the 6′ round may not be able to hold 12 if you are using a large charger plate. For every 5′ round table you need a 10×10 square foot area. There should be 5 feet between the edge of each table. This will allow for your wedding guests to sit comfortably while allowing the staff to pass through the space with ease.
If you wish to use rectangular tables in your floor plan, please note that they are slightly less efficient in terms of their footprint. If you plan to have any decor down the center of these rectangular tables, the table should be at least 42 inches wide. 48 inches is better. If you wish to seat 10 wedding guests at a rectangular table, it should be 8 feet long. You will have 4 people on each side and 1 at each end to seat a total of 10. You still need 5 feet between this table and the next on all 4 sides, so this table takes up a total footprint 8.5×13 feet.
The size of your dance floor typically depends on the size of your group and the space you have available. For a group of 120 wedding guests, I find that a dance floor in the neighborhood of 18×18 is suitable. If you are tenting on a hardscaped area such as an asphalt driveway, you don’t technically need to rent a dance floor!
Space for your entertainment
Will you have a DJ or a band? DJs don’t take up all that much space and usually just require one 6′ rectangular table. Weddings bands range in size but usually require a footprint of at least 8×12 feet, plus a small table for the sound equipment. Don’t forget that if you hire a band, you will also need a place for them to retreat to while on their breaks; this is often called a green room.
If you are tight on space, I recommend doing a plated meal for your wedding reception. If you really want a buffet or stations, you can set the food tables on the dance floor. The catering staff can break them down after dinner. This will, however, prevent you from doing any wedding dances before dinner is complete. You can also save a little space by having the wait staff serve the coffee table-side instead of creating a coffee station.
Most reputable tent companies and caterers will diagram a floor plan for your at-home wedding. If not, there is a great free software that you can play with on your own called AllSeated. They offer great tutorials and are quick to answer questions when you are starting your floor plan with them.
And before I forget, if you are using a pole tent for your wedding, plot those tent poles on your wedding floor plan first. The poles holding up the top of your tent are an obstruction that must be worked around. You definitely don’t want them on your dance floor, but you also don’t want to be in a situation where you have to reconfigure all of your reception dining tables due to the poles.
Next month I’ll be back talking about pretty things again, but I hope you found this meaty advice post helpful, whether you are planning a home wedding or not! If you have any questions, leave a comment or reach out to me directly. And if you just can’t wait till next month for more home wedding planning advice, download my free wedding ebook or check out Your Wedding At Home for more tips and planning resources.