Wedding Reception Table Ideas + Tips For Deciding What’s Best For Your Big Day

November 10, 2023 | kailey

When planning your wedding, it’s easy to get lost in all the fun details. It can be tempting to dive into dress shopping or fine-tuning your floral arrangements right away. However, it’s important not to overlook the must-haves, such as reception table ideas and chairs. While these might not be the most exciting details to sort out, they significantly impact your design and the overall ambiance of your wedding. 

Selecting tables might seem straightforward, but each unique style comes with its own advantages and disadvantages—which is why we’re putting them all on the table. Whether you’re considering long banquet-style tables or serpentine setups, it’s essential to research your options to find the perfect setting for your wedding style and guest count. We’re here to help you make the right choice for your one-of-a-kind day. 

Round Tables 

Circular tables are a popular choice, and it’s no surprise why. They’re classic and make a timeless addition to just about any wedding reception space. Not only do they make for a stunning decor element, but they also promote conversation. Round tables make it easy for guests to chat with those at their table. Plus– as a crowd favorite–rentals for both tables and linens are easy to hunt down. 

While they are a beautiful choice, they’re not fit for every wedding style and venue. Round tables typically sit between 6-10 people per table. If you have a large guest list, this might not be right for you. For example, if you’re having 200 guests with round tables that seat 10, you would need 20 reception tables. That’s not only expensive but also difficult to fit into some spaces. 

Image by Adrian Steinbach.

Square Tables 

If you’re looking for ways to add a unique flair to your reception, square tables might be for you. While they aren’t one of the most popular choices, they sure are a stunning one. They create a cozy atmosphere, have ample room for lush centerpieces, and can easily be configured to optimize your reception space. 

Depending on the size of your tables, each can fit 4-8 guests comfortably. Perfect for smaller events, this option gives your wedding a more intimate feel—your guests are able to mingle more with others at their table. While this is a perk, keep in mind there are some downfalls of choosing this table style. 

Because they are quickly gaining popularity, it’s can be difficult to find rentals for both square tables and linens. Plus, square tables have a lot of empty, unusable space (corners) that’ll take up room in your venue. So, if you’re working with a small reception space and a large guestlist, square tables wouldn’t be your first choice. 

Image by Franzi Annika. See more of this real wedding here.

Wedding Reception Table Ideas: Rectangle Tables 

Another classic option is rectangular tables. This is a popular choice that can be incorporated into any wedding regardless of the style or theme. They are ideal for celebrations with a large guest list, family or buffet-style catering, or for those envisioning long garland centerpieces. Reception tables are also an easy way to add symmetry to your decor. 

Though this table shape offers ample elbow room for both guests and decor, it also restricts conversation. Having guests spread out during meals limits them to only speaking to those in close proximity to them. Keep this in mind when determining your seating arrangements

Long Banquet Tables 

Maybe the thought of separating your wedding guests into groups and creating a seating chart is overwhelming. Maybe you’re just dreaming of all your favorite people being seated together at one table. Whichever it may be, a long banquet table is the solution for smaller celebrations. This is especially true for those hosting an outdoor celebration with unlimited space.  

Long banquet-style tables are an exaggerated version of traditional rectangle setups. Picture one long table stretching the length of your reception space with your table settings and centerpieces perfectly aligned. But keep in mind that these aren’t always the most functional of options. If you have one long table in the middle of your reception space, it can be difficult for guests to move around. They’ll have to walk around the entire table to reach the bathroom, the reception bar, or even the dance floor. 

Image by Alex Mabrey.

Serpentine Tables

You want something different. Your goal for your wedding day is to make a statement, and your reception tables can help you do just that. Instead of sticking with the classic circle or rectangle tables, go for serpentine tables. By piecing together curved tables, you can create a long, winding banquet-style setup. 

It’s no surprise that this isn’t the easiest table option to execute. But with the right vendors by your side and a whole lot of preparation, it’ll pay off in the end. 

King’s Table 

If you’re wanting to feel like true royalty on your big day, consider incorporating a king’s table into your reception space. This is one small rectangular table that seats the couple, their parents, and usually important wedding party members. The catch is that all members are lined up on the same side of the table. 

Sure, this is an elegant–and, for some– less isolating version of a sweetheart table. But it’s not a very intimate option. With all guests sitting on the same side, it limits the amount of conversations that can be had with those sitting at a king’s table. 

wedding reception table ideas

Image by Courtney Marie Photography. See more of this real wedding here.

Sweetheart Table 

We are constantly reminding couples to schedule alone time on their wedding day timeline. This is the perfect way to do just that. A sweetheart table is a smaller, often more elaborate dining setup designed for the bride and groom to enjoy some quiet time during dinner. It allows them to savor those precious moments together before hitting the dance floor and celebrating surrounded by loved ones. 

Tips For Deciding What’s Best For Your Big Day

If you thought that your table choices wouldn’t have much of an effect on your wedding, think again. The size and shape of your tables play a large role in both the design and overall feel of your big day. Before you settle on one option, here are a few things to keep in mind: 

  • Keep your venue size and number of guests in mind when deciding on a table shape 
  • Be mindful of the wedding style and vibe you’re trying to create—is it cozy and intimate or large and luxurious?
  • Select tables that can comfortably fit your desired centerpieces. 
  • Revisit your budget before picking your tables. Certain shapes and sizes might be more expensive than others. You’ll want to do a little research on rentals and linen prices before deciding. 
  • You can mix and match different table shapes and sizes. 

Once you have your reception tables and chairs sorted, the real fun begins. It’s officially time to start dressing your tables. We’re talking about centerpieces, table settings, table numbers, etc. 

There are a lot of details to keep track of, and we’re just getting started. How are you expected to keep track of it all? You’re not! That’s why we put together a handy wedding reception table checklist to ensure no detail gets overlooked. 

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