The Complete Guide to Banquet Tables
Your venue’s table stock and selection are almost as important as the amount of floor available for your banquet. After all, the capacity of the room is irrelevant if you can’t provide the best seating situation for all of your guests. This is where it pays to recognize the different types and sizes of tables commonly used for banquet functions. Even if your venue has a limited selection of options, you can always rent the tables you need to complete your vision of the perfect floor plan.
Round Banquet Tables
If you are serving a formal meal, then your best bet is to use round tables. Not only does this allow table partners to converse without having to strain their neck, but round tables typically offer the largest seating capacity on a per table basis.
For functions that feature a guest speaker, some planners choose to remove one or two seats from a round table in order to eliminate attendees from having their backs turned to the stage. This works particularly well with rounds that are six foot in diameter, as they allow you to seat up to eight people with clear views of the stage.
The most common sizes of banquet round tables are 60” and 72” wide (diameter). A 60” table can seat up to eight people all the way around, or six people in a crescent format. 72” tables can seat up to ten people at a round table, or eight if using a crescent formation.
It is possible to find 96” round tables that can seat twelve or more, but few venues are going to have this size in stock.
Also known as multipurpose or rectangular tables, straight tables can be used for everything from classroom seating to buffet displays. Be sure to check the surface quality of the tabletops to determine if you’ll need linen and skirting to hide their appearance. This is almost always a requirement for wood surface tables, but newer tables feature a plastic-coated surface that can be presentable enough without a cover.
Most venues offer a mixture of 60” and 72” long straight tables. Typically these measure 30” wide by 29” inches tall. In classroom seating, with everyone facing forward, a 60” table can seat three across while a 72” table will hold four across. The capacities then double if you choose to have chairs on both sides for dining or group work.
Classroom style seating often takes up the largest amount of floor space per person. One way to squeeze in a couple of additional rows is by using slimmer rectangular tables. Switching to an 18” wide table saves enough space on every two rows to add an additional row. Once again, you will likely have to rent these because most venues do not carry a significant inventory of them.
For standing events like receptions and networking events, pedestal rounds provide the perfect blend of function and decor. The average pedestal table measures 30” in diameter with an adjustable height between 29” and 36” tall. You can also use these tables for food displays, speaker tables, and cashier stations.
The odd dimensions of these kidney-shaped tables make them an impractical choice for use as banquet seating. Most often they are used in meeting rooms to facilitate small group discussions. However, they can be repurposed by the catering staff to add flair to buffet lines and dessert stations. You can align three crescent tables to create a serpentine food station, or combine four of them to make a complete circle with a hollow interior. This is a great way to add more impact to your catering displays.