The Many Lives of a Banquet Table
While preparing your banquet if someone were to ask you what purpose the tables serve, you would probably answer, “To give the guests somewhere to set their food and drinks.” It’s true the guests need a place to enjoy their meals, but if you look at how the tables fit into the overall success of the evening you’ll see they serve many purposes. The tables actually have many lives and functions which contribute in an important way to how well the event goes.
During the evening your guests will spend most of their time at their table. Their seat assignments become their “home base” for the evening. They will store their coats and purses there and return regularly even if they drift off to chat, dance or make their way through the buffet line. You should strive to make their “home base” comfortable and pleasant as well as elegant and professional looking.
There is an important social component to the table the guests dine at during the banquet. Friendships as well as business relationships are forged throughout the evening among the guests at each banquet table. Assemble the tables and place settings so the guests can converse and interact across the table with ease. You may even want to take this into consideration when preparing the seating chart in order to promote the formation of relationships and conversation. This would be especially true in a corporate setting or if one of the missions of the evening is to facilitate introductions among the guests who don’t know each other before hand.
The social and “home base” functions of the banquet table are important but, of course, a high priority should still be placed on the table as a place for guests to eat. Ambiance and presentation are just as important as the quality of the food. Make sure the tables and chairs are spaced sufficiently apart so the servers can accomplish their jobs without disturbing the guests. Spacing on the table itself is important as well. Avoid covering every inch of the table with glasses, silverware, napkins and centerpieces so the guests are able to dine comfortably.
These are just a few reasons you’ll want to put creative thought into the layout and decorations of your banquet tables. If you find the right style and approach, your tables will go a long way toward making the evening delightful and your banquet an unqualified success.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cheri Brennan is an avid banquet and event planning enthusiast. She has planned many events for friends, family and corporate settings.
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