How many wedding guests fit at a table?

How many guests can fit per table? I get this question all the time – because how are you going to build a seating chart if you don’t know anything about wedding tables? But, as with many of the questions my clients ask me, I respond to them with a question of my own:

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Photo by Deb Lindsey

<Tl;dr: take me to the eBook>

What Table Sizes are Available to You?

Either your venue or your caterer will provide the tables, and we need to know what sizes they can provide. There are two basic shapes of wedding tables, round and rectangular. And there are different sizes of rounds and different sizes of rectangular (rec) tables. For the rounds, they are measured on the diameter, and you typically have access to 5-foots (60 inches,) 5-and-one-half-foots (66 inches) and six-foots (72 inches.) For recs, typically there are 6-foots and 8-foots. Unlike round tables, recs can be set end to end to make larger configurations.

The Alexandrian Hotel wedding reception Alexandria Virginia in the Courtyard al fresco - table sizes advice - how many guests fit at a wedding table -
Photo by Deb Lindsey

How Many Guests Fit at a Round Table

At round tables, you can seat 7-12, depending on the diameter of the table.

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And there are caveats. If you have a wide chair (more than 20 inches), you need to stay on the lower end of the range. If you have a charger plate (or large base plate), you need to stay at the lower end of the range.

Other things to know: When you bump up to a 72-inch diameter round table, you should tell your floral designer. The footprint in the center of the table is much larger and you might want to upsize your centerpiece. If you are doing a family style meal, you will want as much space as possible for the food platters. This requires larger tables, fewer seats and decor with a smaller footprint.

The Showroom Washington DC wedding reception - table sizes advice - how many guests fit at a wedding table -
Photo by Vicki Grafton

How Many Guests Fit at a Rectangular Table

Recs can be easier and trickier to explain. The easy part: rectangular tables can seat 4-10, depending on the size. Pretty straightforward, right?

<For exact seating details, buy here!>

Here is the tricky part: You also need to consider the width of your rec tables. A standard table is only 30 inches wide – barely wide enough for folks to sit on each side. Why? Because when you consider a 10-inch dinner plate and then a few pieces of glassware as a part of the table setting, 14 inches of depth is the bare minimum you need on each side of a rec for a place setting. If your table is only 30 inches wide, that leaves about 2 inches for decor.

What does this mean? You need to rent a wider table if you have a lot of decor – or food platters – planned for the middle of your rec dinner table. Talk to your floral designer and your caterer to make sure you get the correct table size in place. If you want to seat guests at the ends of the table, err on the wider side, and stop your decor at least 14 inches from the end of the table.

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Photo by Matt Mendelsohn

I would never lie to you. This post about how many wedding guests fit at a table has been very popular—so much so that I’ve identified it as a possible source of passive income. I am indeed gatekeeping the nitty-gritty details behind a $1.99 paywall. But when you buy the PDF, you will also get my top tips on how to lay out your seating chart so that it is most helpful to your wedding team.

<For all of the seating details, buy here!>

Like this wedding advice post? I’ve got more where it came from! How about an explainer on hotel room blocks for wedding groups, TKTK, and how to write your own wedding ceremony.