You’re ordering the food, planning the music, and sending out the invitations. It’s a busy time and you need to get everything in place and ready for the big event.
Chair numbers are fairly simple to work out. Everyone needs a seat, so you simply take the number of guests and apply that to the chair order. Depending on the event, you may also need as few spare (maybe for the string quartet or other musicians/entertainers/service staff to eat later?), but for the most part, one chair per person and you’re sorted.
But tables and tablecloths are a little trickier…
We’re often asked about table hire and then we’re asked, “What tables and tablecloths do I need for my event?”. That’s not always a straightforward one to answer without first understanding a few key elements of the event itself.
So, here’s a helpful guide to help you choose which tables and tablecloths you need - along with a sizing guide to help you with your table linen hire.
Start with the head count
Just like the chairs, firstly the number of guests you have will determine how many tables you need, but it gets a little more complicated when you consider the room/space you have.
Clearly, you’ll need one chair per person and that means one place setting per person.
That’s the simple part.
Then you’ll need to work out which tables you need and how many, and this is determined by choice and sometimes (often, actually) by the space.
Work out the space you have to work with
Some event spaces need more thought to work with than others. Not all events have a simple rectangular space to fill, and even standard marquees need a little planning. The most common table for an event like a large dinner or wedding breakfast is a round table and it really does pay to understand the difference in each size and what that means to your space and layout.
Firstly, measure up the room and then plot how the tables will fit in. If you can visit the site or mark up the area where the marquee will be, then it’s often a good idea to lay out newspaper templates on the floor to give you a visual representation of how it will all fit in.
You may find that you’re better off with several more 6 ft round tables, than fewer 7 ft round tables, for example.
Hire your tables
The number of tables you need will then depend on the number of people you need to seat, and the size of table you can fit.
For example, you can fit 12 people around a 7 ft round table, but a 7 ft round table is larger than a 5 ft round. Got a long and narrow space? You might need to opt for more 5 ft rounds than the larger 7 ft rounds, and merely use more of the room.
Sure, you’ll have more tables overall, but you’ll be able to fit them into the narrow space more easily.
The simple way to look at this is either:
- A: Visually in the room with a paper template or even a table if you have one.
- B: On a paper/digital plan where you can see the room top down and then place the tables into your plan.
Both need some expertise, though. Just because they fit, doesn’t mean they’re going to be great for servicing with food and drink. And don’t forget that chairs are pulled out so people can get in.
Planning for this will give the event a far better feel than one that’s merely cramped.
How many people can you fit around a table?
If you’re choosing between 5 ft, 6 ft, or 7 ft rounds, what numbers do you have to work with?
Well, that’s fairly simple, so here are the stats:
- 3 ft round table will seat 4 people.
- 4 ft round table will seat 6 people.
- 5 ft round table will seat 8 people.
- 5 ft 6 inch round table will seat 9 people.
- 6 ft round table will seat 10 people.
- 7 ft round table will seat 12 people.
And then you have square, rectangle, and banquet tables too:
- 2 ft 6 inch square – will seat 2 people.
- 4 ft x 30 inch trestle table - will seat 4 people.
- 6 ft x 30 inch trestle table - will seat 8 people.
- 8 ft x 30 inch banquet table - will seat 10 people.
And then work out the maths of the space you have to work with…
As an example:
- 120 people can be seated on 10 x 7 ft rounds or 15 x 5 ft rounds if you’re working on a smaller, narrower, or more awkward space. You can mix it up too, so if you have an alcove that will only take a 3 ft round but is ideal for your kids’ table, then perfect.
On the subject of children – don’t forget to ask guests with young children whether they need a high chair, and factor this in to the space next door to the guests. This is better off away from a main entrance so people don’t trip over the legs.
Hire your tablecloths
Now you need to choose and hire your tablecloths. Each table listed above is a different size and therefore needs a different size tablecloth. To help you, we’ve created a simple tablecloth guide which we’ve shared below.
Here’s a tablecloth size guide:
- 3ft round table - 90” tablecloth (27 inch drop to floor).
- 4ft round table - 90” tablecloth (21 inch drop to floor).
- 5ft round table - 90” tablecloth (15 inch drop to floor).
- 5ft 6 inch round table - 110” tablecloth (22 inch drop to floor).
- 5ft 6 inch round table - 120” tablecloth (27 inch drop to floor).
- 6ft round table - 120” tablecloth (24 inch drop to floor).
- 6ft round table - 130” tablecloth (29 inch drop to floor).
- 7ft round table - 130” tablecloth (23 inch drop to floor).
Consider the drop of the tablecloth
The next consideration you need is the ‘drop’ of the tablecloth. You can choose to have anything from a 9 inch drop to a 29 inch drop with the tablecloths that we hire.
The drop on a tablecloth mean
s the amount of cloth that hangs down from the table and covers the table legs and under carriage. A longer drop can look more elegant and upmarket and many will opt for a longer drop on both.
Therefore, the bigger the tablecloth, and the smaller the table, the bigger the drop.
But not all tablecloths are created equal!
There’s more of a science behind it, so below you’ll see the size guide and the drop per table, per cloth.
For example: you can have an 18 inch drop on a 7 ft round table if you hire a 120 inch round tablecloth.
And then there’s the colour…
We have loads of coloured tablecloths to choose from to match your event theme, but before you get carried away, don’t forget the process:
- Know your headcount.
- Understand the space.
- Order the right amount of the right tables.
- Work out the drop you’d like.
- And then search for your ideal tablecloth.
We do hope this information helps.
This is by no means simple unless you know what you’re doing, so if you need some more help then please do contact us now and we’ll chat through the combinations you could have for your event.