What Tables Do You Need at a Wedding?


Wedding planning is mostly divided into two parts: the wedding and the reception. While you can truly get caught up planning the content of your ceremony, the program and dinner for the reception, do not, at all costs, forget about basics! For example: what tables do you need at a wedding? Read on and discover how to plan the furniture at your wedding!

Photo credit: FestivitiesMN via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

What Types?

There are a lot of things to consider when ordering tables, so review your program, as well as the food and beverage set-up to be sure. The following tables might be thought of as the main or most important tables at the reception:

  • Head Table. This special table is for you and your new spouse, for all of the world to see!

  • Guest Table. Where your guest sit and enjoy the reception.

  • Food Table. Especially important for buffets, this is where guests can see and grab their chosen grub for some real wedding festivity.

  • Cocktail tables for cocktail hour. Anyone is free to grab a drink from this table.

  • A guestbook and/or escort card table. In order to get it signed and collect all the right memories, place it in a noticeable place.

  • A table for gifts. The generous gifts must be visible and presentable for guests to feel the appreciation.

  • A table for your DJs if they need one. Their set-up will be machine heavy and you want you DJ to work till the night.

  • A drink table and bar. This will be a good idea so that people can tell the bartender the drinks that they want.

  • A table for a cake or dessert display. Your towering cake will surely need its own stand.

  • A memory table to remember loved ones. This is especially important and heartwarming for family members. If you want to have a loved one at your wedding but they have passed away, their presence will live on at this table for everyone to remember.

Photo credit: FestivitiesMN via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Round or Long?

Round or long tables? It really depends on your program and needs for what tables do you need at a wedding. Of course, you still have to take into account design aesthetic, logistical feasibility, and whether or not it fits the budget.



  • Will make table seating arrangements very easy to do per group. Work mates and childhood friends might never meet each other, but at least they won’t experience awkwardness at your wedding.

  • Very good layout for a group conversation. Since everyone’s face is visible and their words can clearly be heard, lots of memorable moments with the group can be made here.

  • Easy for people to leave the table. There will be considerable space between people so you can easily leave for a toilet break or phone call.

  • More popularly used and will be logistically easy. Your venue is likely to have their own round tables for use, you’ll only need to provide for cloths and décor.


  • Can take up lots of needed space. The round tables need some smart spacing to truly fit in properly and easily.

  • Needs lots of décor to cover up. Since guests will be eating on the circumference of the table, there’s so much space to fill out. On the flipside, you need to be careful so that the décor won’t block the view of the program.

Photo credit: Wedding Photography by Jon Day via VisualHunt.com / CC BY



  • Space efficient. Long and narrow tables will allow you to add many to the venue.

  • Makes for a close, intimate seating arrangement. Since you have to sit close, as opposed to a round table.

  • Decorating will take up less resource while being streamlined. Running a table liner and adding a few vases will be sufficient.


  • Difficult to leave if the table is very long. Pulling out your chair and winding around the long table can take a while to do.

  • Difficult to make seating arrangement. Your guests might feel awkward because there is a high chance they will be seated beside complete strangers.

Photo credit: FestivitiesMN via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-SA

How Many?

Besides what tables do you need at a wedding, you may also wonder how many tables you’ll need for your wedding. Let us tackle on the factors that will contribute to your wedding table plan.

One important thing to remember is to track the desired SHAPE and SIZE of the tables that you need for each wedding activity.

Head Tables

There should be 1 table for the bride and groom, and a couple of long tables for your sponsors. This is the head of the reception and a place of honor! Plan the rest of the room to be able to have a clear view of the beautiful couple and their sponsors.

Guest Tables

Get the number of guests that you have and your initial idea of the groupings – don’t stress about that yet. Make sure this is the final count. Once you have a general idea of the average number of people at one table, divide that by the total number of guests. Round up that number to get a definite guide to how many tables and seats you will need! Please use the following information for reference:

Round tables:

Table size              Seats

36-inch                      4

42-inch                      5 

48-inch                     5

54-inch                     6  

60-inch                     8

72-inch                     10

Long tables:

Table size                     Seats

24-inch x 60-inch         2

24-inch x 72-inch         3

24-inch x 96-inch        4-5

30-inch x 72-inch         6

30-inch x 96-inch         8

Food Tables

Most receptions employ a great and more efficient way of treating guests through buffet. If this is the case, long tables along the side of the room is definitely your to-go layout. How many tables you'll need should be depending on the number of dishes you wish to serve.

The Rest

As previously mentioned in the first section, table plan really depends on your program and set-up needs. Refer to the list and count how many you will need from there.

Photo credit: Impact Sounds via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-ND


First of all, you need a final count that you can rely on. To be able to determine what tables do you need at a wedding, you need to bother your guests for the RSVPs early on! Be diligent about this and settle for a number you won’t increase or lower any more.

Second, you need to decide the seating. It would be best to give guests a table number instead of assigning them a definite seat – they almost never get followed in the end if you force them into a seat. Let your guests decide where to go on their table!

The best way to solve the table issues is to discuss with your vendor or use apps to make a proper seating arrangement. This will make things much easier. Plan out the definite groups first, and the rest should be considerably easier. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

Photo credit: Wedding Photography by Jon Day via Visual hunt / CC BY