Charleston Wedding Planning – Space Requirements for Weddings
So you have fallen in love with the perfect wedding venue and are ready to put down that deposit for your Charleston wedding but a little voice in the back of your head asks “Is this enough space?” When you are determining the space requirements of your venue, whether you are in Charleston, South Carolina, Vancouver, British Columbia or Paris, France, the rules are the same.
Considerations for Charleston Wedding Space Requirements
1. The maximum capacity, which is set by the venue, is usually based on people auditorium seating which requires the least amount of space (7 – 10 square feet per person) It does not take into consideration tables, stages, or any other structures in the room. Venues like maximum capacity because it promotes their space as being able to accommodate a larger number of people.
2. The capacity also does not take into account the dance floor, which is a must have at most weddings.
3. The maximum capacity also does not take into account local, state or national ordinances or codes.
4. Square footage alone does not take into account partial walls, poles or other structural items that may limit set up or views.
5. The capacity also does not take into account where the doors are located. Some venues have multiple doors, which by law cannot be blocked. This can make the set up very challenging.
Guidelines for Charleston Wedding space requirements:
Auditorium Style Seating 7 – 10 square feet per person
School room seating at 6’ tables 7 – 10 square feet per person
Banquet style seating (at 60” round tables) 10 – 12.5 square feet per person
(at 72” round tables) 12 – 14.5 square feet per person
(at 8’ banquet tables) 10 square feet per person
Cocktail receptions 10 square feet per person
Trade shows and exhibit floors 160 – 200 square feet per booth
Looking at just the square footage is not enough to determine if a room is large enough for your Charleston wedding. You must also consider the length and width of the room to determine if you will have adequate room, particularly in a long and narrow space.
Charleston wedding venue South Carolina Aquarium is very long and narrow
A dinner event will require about 50% more space than a cocktail party. For example if a venue is 3000 square feet and has a maximum capacity of 300, you could have 300 people for a cocktail party assuming there aren’t a lot of other items in the room. For a plated dinner party the maximum capacity is more likely to be 240 or less (3000/12.5 square feet). If you add a dance floor to this
(20’ x24’ for 200 people dancing at once) you would use up another 480 square feet, bringing the true maximum capacity to 200.
Plated Meal vs. Buffet vs. Stations at a Charleston Wedding
Maximum capacity also does not take into account the type of food service, if any, that the venue will be used for. When a Charleston wedding reception has a plated dinner the guests remain seated while the servers bring the food to them. Usually there is about one server to every twenty guests. If you had 200 guests there would be 200 people seated and 10 servers walking around. If you have a buffet, and the tables are called, so that some of the guests are in line and some are still at their tables you will still have far more than 10 people standing at one time. Stations demand the most space as you will have 200 people walking around at one time which is substantially more and requires more square footage, not only in the areas around the stations or tables but in between them to allow people to pass through them without having to do so single file. The meat and seafood stations tend to be very popular so consideration should be paid as to where they are located and how much room there is around them.
Seating for a Charleston Wedding:
A sixty inch round table can accommodate 8 people comfortably. In situations where there is a last minute guest increase you can accommodate up to 10 people, although it can be a little uncomfortable and may also require you to decrease the number of items on a table as well as the size of the centerpieces. A 72” round is preferable for 10 people.
A 6 foot rectangular table can also accommodate 8 people when situated by itself. The beauty of the rectangular and square tables is that they can be placed together allowing for many more configurations than rounds which are limited to banquet style. When I have a client looking to increase the seating in their reception one of the first recommendations I make is to switch from rounds to rectangular for more versatility.
Space between tables – The general rule, regardless of the number of tables and whether they are round or rectangular is to allow 5 feet between the tables. Once the chairs are in place this will allow room for guests from all tables to pull their chair out and still have enough room to pass through two pulled out chairs.
Tips for a Charleston Wedding:
1. Make sure you have enough space to do a couple variations in the set up, allowing you more flexibility
2. If you suspect your guest count may go up ensure you have some extra space rather than booking a space that is already your maximum capacity
3. If the venue has any prepared floor plans (which they should) ask to see them. This will give you some idea of their typical setup and also alert you if there really is only one way to set up the room.
4. Avoid the temptation to push those tables closer to allow more seating. Sitting in a reception hall that is too full is incredibly uncomfortable for your guests, a hassle for the servers and may cause everyone to avoid mingling.
5. Of course I am going to recommend hiring a planner! At Tanis J Events we have event software that allows us to do floor plans to scale, and multiple set ups in a very short period of time without having to break out the tape measure.
Call us today if you need help with your Charleston wedding planning!