musings from the ladies of a day in may events


The Great Debate: Round Tables vs. Banquet Tables

We’re here today today to bust some myths and put the great debate of banquet versus round tables to rest. Ok, ok, so maybe we won’t put this hot topic completely to rest, but our hope is after you’re done reading this, you’ll take away some insightful information that will help you to make informed decisions when creating your wedding reception layout.


Image by Jen Kroll Photography

First things first, while it may appear just the opposite, you are physically further away from more people at a round table than you are at a banquet. For this “calculation” we had to delve deep into the memory banks of geometry and reacquaint ourselves with our old friend Pi, as well as, the Pythagorean Theorem. We created the below illustrations to physically outline the space that each person is technically allocated at the two different types of tables and as you can see, the banquet table is the clear “winner”! If you think about it, if you were to sit down at a round table that’s five feet/sixty inches in diameter while being a guest at a wedding, would you really attempt to talk to the person directly across from you? Chances are, that the answer to that question would be probably not. With ambient music in the background, as well as, the conversations of 100 plus other guests in order to have a casual chat with that person, you would have to raise your voice significantly causing disruption to the other guests around you. Even just to chat with the lovely folks two seats away from you, you would either have to stretch your neck out in front of or behind the person sitting directly next to you in order to talk to them. In the instance of banquet tables, it’s clear from the illustration that you can easily talk to five other guests without having to stretch or yell to converse.

60 inch Round Table Diagram

8x42 Banquet Table Diagram


Now that we’ve busted myth number one, let’s move on to another common concern. The statement that round tables are much more “formal and elegant” while banquets appear to be more “casual”. While we’re sure that we cannot sway your perception, it must be mentioned that there are very few things that make us more giddy at ADIM than a perfectly set, perfectly aligned banquet table. Think of each chair, charger, glass, etc. lined up straight like little tin soldiers. These are the detail photos that your photographer will capture and you’ll look back on and think to yourself “Wow, that room sure looked great!”. Another note to mention is that if you have selected a formal place setting (charger plate, bread and butter plate, water goblet, champagne flute, white wine glass, red wine glass and all the necessary flatware) and your’re placing your guests at round tables, your caterer may end up having to stack your glassware versus the more traditional glassware arch. While this is not the end of the world, it’s something to take note of due to the fact that at a round, each guest’s spatial allocation is a pie shape with square footage decreasing as you approach the center of the table.


Image via Jen Kroll Photography

So by now, you’re probably thinking that ADIM is pro-banquets and completely against rounds, right? Well that is certainly not the case. In truth, one of our favorite things to do is mix the different types of tables together creating visual interest and promoting conversation, while also making the best use of the space that we are allotted. There is a time and a place for each type of table and on that rare occasion that we decide to “get a little crazy” we’ll even throw in squares (just kidding, they too have their place and we love using square tables when space allows and the client is up for it). When creating layouts, we typically start by placing the piece of most importance or what will be the central focus (oftentimes this is the stage/dance floor [if it’s located in the same area] or the head table) and then place all the guest tables around that point. By mixing rounds and banquet tables in varying lengths, we can maximize the seating for the space while being able to work around objects in a more efficient way. We typically allocate 100 square feet of space (10’x10′) for each sixty inch round table which allows for service and guest flow in between tables. For an eight foot by forty-two inch banquet, we would allocate 93.5 square feet of space (8.5’x11′). Banquet tables can also be joined end to end creating varying lengths of tables.


Image via Blaine Seisser Photography

While I think it’s safe to say that we won’t be appearing on the Discovery Chanel with Jamie and Adam anytime soon, we hope that our great debate of banquets versus rounds will help you to create a wedding reception layout that is both functional and beautiful. When meeting with an event planner or venue for the first time, it’s important that you share with them your overall vision for the day including what types of tables you are drawn to. As professionals, they will attempt to make all your dreams, hopes and visions come true, however, if you’re set on rounds and the space just won’t accommodate all your guests, we hope that you’ll be open to banquet tables and the opportunities that they present.