After checking out a bunch of places you have finally chosen that perfect venue that “speaks to you.” Now it’s time to figure out the floor plan.

Stick with me here brides.

I know that the challenge of deciding the layout and floor plan can be enough to make some of you pull out your hair, throw something at your fiancee-to-be’s head, eat a carton of ice cream, make up with your fiancee-to- be, then say “screw  this I’ll put it off till tomorrow” (a.k.a next week…maybe.)

However frustrating the process may seem, there are ways to make this critically important task easier. 

1. Feel free to be creative

Round tables of 8 is not for everyone. Or it might be exactly what you are going for, and there is nothing wrong with that. Just don’t feel like that is the only choice you have. Square and rectangular tables can change the feel of the room and give a different and possibly more interesting dynamic feel to the space. They don’t even have to all be the same shape! Along the same vein not every linen in the room has to be the same color.

Think of the process more like an art/design/interior decoration project instead of a tedious chore and all of a sudden the process is fun again! 

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2. Know the size of the space

Anyone who has worked in the event industry has at least once in their career been handed a napkin or sheet of binder paper with  a hand-drawn scribble on it and been told that this is the lay out.

“I want it to look like this”

“According to your diagram your head table is in the fountain… And the kids table is in a rose bush.”

 Now I know that inspiration can strike anywhere, and we all take our notes to capture our ideas in different ways, but a hand drawn scribble is not a finished layout.  Anything can fit on paper. With out accurate and to-scale measurements the hand drawn diagram is just not very useful. 

Don’t know the size of the space? Time to call in the professionals! Your venue usually will have all of that information on hand and available to you. Your event planner may have already gotten the lay out or knows how to. The caterer and the other vendors who have worked in the venue may have old layouts from weddings past that they can share! Worst case scenario a tape measurer clears up everything fairly definitively. (Don’t forget to measure from the floor to the ceiling!)  

I like to use a program called Sweet Home 3D. Technically it is software for interior design, but its really easy to use, it automatically makes a 3D and to-scale model of what I am doing, and best of all its free. (Yay!) There are also about a thousand websites that will offer free help with layout designs. Just make sure it’s to scale! 

3. Start big then work your way in. 

Get the big stuff out of the way first! How much space will the band take up? How much space does the D.J. need? Is there a stage? How big is the dance floor and where is that going? Where will the cake table go? Are you having a buffet? Where should that go? Is there a bar? ONLY after these big things should you start placing the guest tables. This will help you keep a realistic guest count in mind and help with the flow of everything.

Some things to remember:

  • Flow is important. “Flow” is the term for how people will get around the room.
  • A bar should go near the front entrance as guests usually grab a drink first. 
  • Try not to block entrances or doorways. (Remember the catering staff will have to get through the kitchen doors!) 
  • Make sure your D.J. can see the dance floor and dancing guests can see the D.J. 
  • Try not to place any table to close to any buffets if you have them. You don’t want your guests hanging out in peoples laps while they are trying to get their food. If you have a plated meal remember you need about 3-4 feet between tables so servers can get by and serve the food.  
  • Are you going to have lighting on the dance floor? If you have low ceilings and a monogram gobo or dance floor wash make sure your dance floor is close to a wall so the lights can hit your dance floor.  
  • When placing guests think about the sound in the room. Grandma and those hard of hearing should be near you, and NOT right in front of or next to the D.J.speakers. When music starts she wont hear anything but the dance music! 


4. Ask the professional

Don’t be afraid to ask for advice! Your trusted team of wedding professionals do this EVERY DAY  and it turns out hat they are kinda good at it. Chances are good that they have made at least a hundred for your venue alone! Chalk full of advice and eager to help your friendly wedding professionals are just a phone call or an email away. 

For that matter give me a call or shoot me an email and I would be more then happy to give my advice! Even on a Saturday. 😉  

Just call (510) 500-9908 or email