The Great Debate: Round tables vs. Banquet tables

I know this seems like a trivial detail but it honestly takes up a lot of time in the day of an Event Manager or Wedding planner. Deciding the details of your wedding reception takes time and thought. A lot of time and thought especially when deciding where and how all your guests will be seated. Hopefully this can provide you with a little information to help you make these decisions.

There are pros and cons to both styles of tables and depending on the style and flow of your event depends on what suits you best.  Let's start with Round Tables…

Round tables

Round tables tend to feel more traditional than the banquet tables and while yes they do seem more social as you can see everyone seated at your table technically, however, you are seated further away (it has been measured) from each person. The distance between people sitting opposite each other on a round is quite large and almost impossible to talk (especially over music and people). So the theory that it is easier to talk to every is not entirely true. Round tables for some reason in the event industry also seem to be deemed as more formal. So depending on the style of your upcoming wedding to whether you want a more formal feel. I don’t entirely agree with this but it seems to be the general consensus.

I agree that they do seem more traditional perhaps but this also depends on the placement and styling of your whole wedding. There are a couple of benefits that you get with a round table. Firstly if you are inclined to a larger slightly more extravagant centerpieces then having a round table is definitely more useful as there is more room in the middle for these centerpieces. The other distinct benefit of a round table depends on your venue. If your reception hall or room is oddly shaped or there are random pillars throughout the room, a round table tends to fit more people into an odd shaped rooms, however they do take up more space overall so be conscious of the size of your venue as it fills up very quickly. Another thought on the round table to keep in mind is the costs. Traditional round tables and round tablecloths are more expensive to hire due to the transport and storage of these items. So if you are driven by price this could definitely steer you away from the round table.

Banquent / rectangle tables

On the other side of the debate is the banquet table (or rectangle table). While round tables are seen as elegant and formal by some and banquets more casual - I disagree. I challenge people of these perceptions to have a look down a perfectly set and aligned banquet tables. There is nothing more elegant than lines of charger plates and pristine wine glasses, glittering cutlery and your decorations placed down the centre that would send any perfectionist to heaven. Don’t underestimate the ability of a perfectly set table. It will be your photographers dream. Realistically speaking a banquet table is more social, your quests are seated closer together and it is easier to talk through all the noise of a wedding.

Practically speaking these tables are more space conscious as you can fit more people and allows for more guests at your reception. As mentioned above, round tables are more effective in an odd shaped room and sit around pillars and corners to fit more tables into that space. But if you have a nice square or rectangular room banquets work a treat for fitting in those extra people. Banquets can close in a space and make it feel more intimate which can impact the flow of movement around your reception. This is the only real con I can think of for the banquet tables but you if have a good floor plan this can be avoided, talk to your venue manager to see if they have preferred floor plans that could help.

Now a point that will really get people on board the Banquet table train is costs. Traditionally banquet tables are cheaper than round tables even up to 25% cheaper (depending on your hire supplier and choices). This may be up to a variety of different reasons such as easier to transport and store etc. but it is something that you can benefit from. This also leads into the cost of decorating banquet tables, they tend to be cheaper to decorated as most people do not opt for centerpieces as these can be rather expensive instead you can decorate the banquet table with beautiful greenery and accented with sparkling seed lights or floral blooms. Not only are the banquet styles very on trend but they offer more variety of styling options for your reception from beautiful linen covered tables to rustic wooden tones that can really set off the theme of your reception

Ultimately whatever the style of your wedding you can make the type of table suit. But being informed about the pros and cons of each style of table can definitely help you make these choices.

Rose Lunn
NOSH Event Manager