Floor Plans and Seating Assignments

Happy Tuesday Everybody,

I always ask my clients what is the one thing that they are having the most trouble with or what they dread doing the most during event planning, and 50% of them say the floor plan and seating chart.

I absolutely love designing floor plans. Floor plans are like huge puzzles, you have to figure out what is the best set-up for the client, venue, and vendors. When designing floor plans I usually do it in 5 steps:

Step 1: Go to the venue with the client, measure, take notes, and do some rough design work

Step 2: I design the room layouts on a floor plan computer program

Step 3: I create 3 to 4 options based on the notes I had taken with the client

Step 4: I present the floor plan options to my clients and we tweak the floor plans until they are exactly how the client likes

Step 5: Based on the final floor plan we create a back-up rain plan if needed

After the final floor plan is created my clients seem to struggle with seating arrangements. Although it seems like a daunting task it is pretty simple once you know your options and the pros and cons of each option.

Option 1: Open Floor Plan – This means that you set-up a set number of tables with set number of chairs and let your guests decide on where and who they want to sit with. Pros, saves you time on deciding where your guests are going to sit, it creates a more relaxed atmosphere, and it is a great option when having a buffet or stations for food. Cons, you can not have a plated dinner, some tables may remain empty (guests will not spread out nicely for pictures), guests who do not know many others at the event will end up sitting alone, immediate family of bride and groom or guest of honor may not get an appropriate seat, and it is more difficult for the DJ to get everyone’s attention when they need everyone seated and quiet.

Although there may seem to be more cons than pros for this seating arrangement, it is the most stress-free and casual option when designing a seating chart.

Option 2: Assigned Tables – This means that your guests have an assigned table, but can sit wherever they would like at that table. This is the most popular seating option. Pros, every guest has a place to sit and someone to talk to, it allows for a plated dinner, important guests will get seats close to the bride and groom or guest/s of honor , it is easier for the DJ to get everyone’s attention, and there is often less confusion from guests. Cons, it is more work for the hosts to organize guests, guests may not like who they are seated with, and you will have to create a table number system.

This is the most popular seating assignment option available to keep the event organized, give your guests freedom, and keep planning stress low.

Option 3: Assigned Seats – This means that each individual person has a specific seat they are assigned to. This is the most stressful option for the host and organizer, but is the most organized and detailed seating option. Pros, every guest is given a seat based on their individual needs, it works for both plated and buffet dinners, it is best for when there has to be an equal amount of guests per table. Cons, it is a lot of work to organize guests, it can seem like a very formal event, and often guests will end up switching their specific seats (which may or may not work during the event).

This option is perfect for the client that wants their event very organized and extremely efficient. But it is often the most time consuming option.

When trying to create a floor plan and seating chart take a look at the pros and cons and what is easier and less stressful for you, and the task of organizing guests and creating a floor plan will be much less daunting!

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