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Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Fine Art of Table Arranging

When we first put together our guest list we did so with a 75% acceptance rate in mind. We were aiming for 100 guests. At our current count if we have a 75% acceptance rate, we'll have 110 guests (including us and the Rabbi).

We'd originally thought we'd have everyone seated on the main floor. Only to learn that we'd been mistaken - 10 60" rounds fit on the main floor and 10 8' banquets fit on the balcony. We'd envisioned a head table flanked by two long tables with six rounds at the back of the room. So that won't work. Back to the drawing board.

Next up was a head table in front of the stage, with 6 rounds - 3 rounds at the edges of the room with the middle of the room open for dancing. That means with buffet, we'd be seating 48 guests on the main floor. A head table (3 - 8' banquets in a row) for the wedding party and significant others and 6 - 60" round tables on the main floor. The remaining 7 - 8' banquets would be in the balcony. That accommodates another 42 guests. We're 10 seats shy of 100, 20 seats shy of 110. And... this plan isn't even accommodating high chairs (the venue doesn't have any so on the advice of a friend who's a parent, we're advising our guests with babies to bring their portable high chairs). Again back to the drawing board.

What we're looking at now are 8 rounds - 4 rounds at the edges of the room, with the wedding party split across two rounds (the rounds situated in front of the speakers so that we won't have to hear complaints from the guests). That means we're still seating 48 guests on the main floor. But we now have 10 - 8' banquets in the balcony which will accomodate 60 guests. Now we have seats for 108, which actually could work as cubes and I will be eating our dinner during Yichud and mingling so we don't need seats. The toasts won't occur until after dinner so that guests seated in the balcony will be able to come down to the main floor.

We can continue to blithely hope that the 8 rounds layout would work, but it won't. It doesn't accommodate high chairs and high chairs take up the same amount of space as a seat. So we're not really 2 seats shy of our estimated guest count, we're actually 6 seats shy - an entire table.

We're still good though - we can place the 9th round on the stage. With this layout we still have an open dance floor so we won't have to flip the room yet again (if you just started reading, we're having the ceremony in the same room as the reception). While not the original family, intimate seating that we'd imagined, we're still going to be surrounded by those we love and who love us.

Were you playing musical chairs trying to find seats for all of your guests? Were you worried that your guests' feelings would be hurt if they were seated in the balcony or in a side room?

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