How To Do a Banquet Setup

A banquet setup is a dining arrangement used for large gatherings such as weddings and other special events. There are various types of banquet setups, depending on the number of people attending. Before you decide on your setup, you have to make sure that your venue can handle the volume of people attending the occasion. All function halls have a maximum seating capacity so check with the venue first.

  • Determine the number of people you need to seat. How many guests will you have and how big is the area you will have your function at? You need this information to help the banquet manager or events coordinator to determine the best type of setup to have for your event.
  • Determine what type of event you are having. For most dinner gatherings, round tables are used for maximum seating capacity. For more formal events, a classic banquet style setup is done, wherein long rectangular tables are used. If the dinner you are having involves someone who will be speaking, have a herringbone banquet setup done. Rectangular tables are used but placed at a bias or at an angle. If the event is a luncheon meeting or presentation, you may opt to have a U-shaped set up. This will allow all the guests to see what is being presented. However, this setup takes up a lot of space, so it’s good for a limited number of guests only.
  • Choose your table arrangement. Based on your event type and space, choose how you want your tables and chairs to be arranged. A 72 inch round table can seat 10 people. If you want more intimate groupings, set up smaller tables that can seat six to eight people.
  • Choose your linens. The caterer or the hotel where you will have your event should have a varied selection of linens to choose from. A white overlay on white tablecloth is the most formal setup. However, you can choose red, blue, black or any other color in keeping with your theme. If the caterer doesn’t have the color of linen that you want, check with your events coordinator. You may also rent linens from party and events supply stores.
  • Set the table. Make sure you have the proper utensils and stemware for your event. The blade of the knife should be placed facing the table. For a more formal sit-down event, have table chargers. Your caterer should be able to do this for you. Also, you can ask about different napkin folding styles. As a finishing touch, you can place fresh flowers, candles and a mirror plate as a table centerpiece. As a tip, try to keep centerpieces low, especially if you have a formal speaker in the front. It’s difficult to have a conversation with someone you can’t see.

When you set your banquet area, make sure that there will be ample space for your guests and the servers to move about freely. If you are having a buffet table, stage or dance floor, you’ll have less room for your seating, so be sure to plan your space carefully. Before you bring out the tables, write out a seating plan. A carefully planned banquet setup will lend your affair a more formal air, that will surely be appreciated by your guests.


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