When you plan the layout and guest list for your wedding reception, having a "right-sized" ballroom is vital for everyone to have the best time. If the space is too small, guests will be cramped and may not fully participate in things like dancing. A ballroom that is too large may make the reception seem underwhelming or impersonal.
However, many space calculators often focus solely on guest list size and may not give enough attention to what else you need to have in the ballroom for the wedding to go on. Not sure how to account for other elements beyond dining tables? Here are five key elements to remember.
1. Dance Floor
By far, the largest additional space required for any reception is likely to be the dance floor. Dance floors sizes are based on the number of guests, so they aren't one-size-fits-all. Most experts suggest accounting for about 1/3 of your guests on the dance floor at a time. You should also ask your live band or DJ how much square footage they need nearby.
2. Buffet Tables
Are you serving a meal from a buffet or grazing boards? If so, include a minimum of one buffet table for every 75 guests or so. The bigger issue for buffet tables and appetizer stations is clear traffic paths. Buffets result in long lines, so you'll need to determine where people should stand and leave a clear path around the lines for comfortable passing.
3. Gift Table
Even if you specify "no gifts," expect to receive a few traditional gifts anyway. Small weddings might need a simple square or round table but large weddings may call for one or two buffet size gift tables. This table doesn't need a large traffic path, but for safety's sake, place it where it can be easily seen by helpers and family members.
4. Head Table
The size needs of a head table depend on your preferred layout. If you want to place your entire wedding party and immediate family at the head table, you will need to factor about twice the normal size needs per table. If you plan to use a more simple "sweethearts table," things get much simpler and smaller.
5. Cake Table
Most cake tables consist of one square or round table, although you may need a buffet table if you add utensils and dishes. But don't underestimate the need for free space around the table, though, if you plan to have the cake cutting ceremony. In this case, factor in the likelihood that guests will crowd around the area.
If you account for these additional parts of the reception, your party will be correctly sized no matter where you hold it. Not sure how to do any of the calculations for your particular event? Start by meeting with a wedding ballroom event provider in your area today to learn more.