When planning a function, one of the primary considerations should be the chair and table requirements of your guests. Your chair hire and table hire needs will be based on the type of event or party that you are hosting. Importantly, will your guests be seated, standing, or a combination of both? Purchasing chairs and tables can be an expensive and inconvenient exercise, so consider using a party hire or event hire company for your table and chair requirements to save money and storage space.
Dinner parties, weddings, corporate meals, training workshops, and many more will have your guests spending a large share of the time in their seat, and at their tables. Coming up with a floor plan will help you decide what type of tables to hire, as well as the number of chairs for each of these tables.
Standard rectangular hire tables will usually measure either around 1.8 metres (6 feet) or 2.4 metres (8 feet) in length, and around 80cm wide. Almost all tables are around 70cm to 75cm high – a standard height for dining/working. Rectangular tables are the most efficient shape for seating more people. Rows of tables can utilise a room’s space far greater than round tables. However, this configuration can detract from socialising as it separates line of sight between guests and can limit discussion somewhat.
The number of chairs that can be seated at each table will naturally depend on the width of the chairs being used, but as a decent guide, you should allow around 60cm for each guest. This means that for a 1.8m table, three guests can be seated down each side, and four guests down each side for a 2.4m table. Seating guests at the end of each table is also an option, but keep in mind that you will slightly detract from the available space at each end for those guests sitting on the sides.
There are many sizes when it comes to round tables, though typically they increase in 30cm (1 foot) increments, from 90cm up to 180cm. Round tables are typically used for weddings, and formal occasions. Due to all guests facing the centre of the table, it’s far easier for guests seated at the table to communicate with each other, improving the social aspect of the event.
Deciding on how to space guests can get a little trickier with round tables. Firstly, there isn’t a linear measurement to use as a guide (such as 60cm on rectangular tables) due to the curve of the table. Secondly, the spatial requirements of each guest may differ due to the event (how many courses are there, and what cutlery/crockery will they need), of which the effect is amplified on round tables as opposed to rectangular. Below is a tabulated guide as to how many chairs you may seat around each sized table. Keep in mind that the width of the chairs, and how much space you estimate each guest will need, will play a large role in working out seating plans. If possible, try and set up a table and see what spacings work best, prior to hiring anything.
|Eight Mile Plains||100|
|Fig Tree Pocket||85|
|Holland Park West||80|
|Mount Gravatt East||80|
|Port Of Brisbane||80|
|Seventeen Mile Rocks||105|
|Upper Mount Gravatt||90|
|Wavell Heights North||40|
The type of chair that you hire or purchase for your function will depend on your budget, and the type of event.
Plastic Stackable Chairs
If hiring these from a reputable party hire company, then you can expect these chairs to be of commercial quality and support most people’s body weight easily. Beware of purchasing cheap plastic chairs from large retail chains or discount stores for a reduced price, as these chairs are usually thinner plastic and can become very brittle if left outdoors. Plastic stacking chairs are very popular for hire, and are great to keep costs low while seating a larger number of people. The ability to stack the chairs also makes for easy transportation.
For occasions such as weddings, graduations, formal dinners, or corporate events, the plastic stacking chair might not cut it. Formal chairs usually have a heavier, sturdier frame, and have padded seats. Hiring these chairs can save you a lot of money, but you may need to opt for the hire company to deliver, as they are bulky and don’t stack as well for transport. Many hire companies may insist on delivery, to ensure that their stock isn’t damaged in transit.
Excellent for transport and storage, folding chairs are a great step up from plastic chairs. Americana chairs have become a popular option for weddings, product launches, high teas, and other functions that require a more sophisticated feel. These are typically made of a hard wearing plastic or timber. Steel or metal frame folding chairs are typically used by schools, businesses, and community groups due to their minimal storage requirements.
For formal occasions, chair covers can dress-up an otherwise plain or unattractive chair. When buying or hiring chair covers, be sure to ask what the dimensions of the chair covers are, or what type of chair they were designed to fit. With the exception of some spandex chair covers, there is rarely a one-size-fits-all chair cover. Ask a prospective hire company if you can borrow one cover to see if it fits the style chair that you intend on using. Sashes are also frequently used with chair covers and come in a range of colours and fabrics (such as satin or organza).
Many functions aren’t intended to seat guests at tables, such as home parties, cocktail events, and corporate networking functions. If you’re trying to encourage an atmosphere conducive to socialising, then you want your guests mingling and interacting. If you provide seating, then there’s a tendency for guests to sit and stay in place for the duration of the function! You’ve worked hard on this guest list, and the last thing that you want are clusters of acquaintances keeping to themselves.
Dry Bar Tables
Whether your guests realise it or not, dry bar tables will encourage interaction. They also have a strong tendency to attract people, so strategically place them where you want your guests to gather. There are no specific rules as to how many bar tables are suitable as it will depend on your space and number of guests, however as a very rough guide, one table for every 3 metre by 3 metre area will work well.
Dry bar tables are usually a popular hire item and can come in a few different styles though are all typically around 1.2 metres tall, intended for resting glasses and drinks on whilst socialising. Stainless steel, composite laminate, or glossy timber are the usual choices for the table top material. Bar tables can also come with a second tier, allowing for extra storage of glasses or personal items like handbags. For more formal occasions, table linen or full length spandex covers can be added to dress the tables nicely. Candles also work nicely as a centrepiece on each table (though don’t let wax make contact with the cover, or the hire company will be cranky).
If you’d like to offer some light seating for a ‘standing’ function, bar stools are complimentary for dry bar tables due to their height. When looking at which stools to hire or purchase, consider the following points:
- padded seat
Each feature will improve comfort, but finding a stool that includes all three may be challenging, though most stools will have at least one. Remember – you don’t want your guests to get too comfortable sitting down anyway! Ideally two to four stools around each round dry bar table will be sufficient.
Some Seating, Some Standing
Many functions, events, or parties will feature a combination of bar tables, as well as tables and chairs for seating. Not everyone can physically stand for the duration of an event or party, so make sure that you are catering for these people also. To maintain the social aspect, scattering smaller round tables (90cm or 120cm) with 4 or 5 chairs around each will offer a nice option for those wanting to sit and socialise.
Spacing Between Tables and Chairs
When mapping out your layout, make sure that you leave a sufficient gap between the tables and surrounding chairs, so that your guests can move freely around your event space. As a general rule, leaving 2 metres between each table edge (when chairs are back to back) should give you ample space for people to push their chairs out from their tables, and still allow room to walk between.
Linen is always a classy option to cover your tables. When hiring tables from a party or event hire company, you can reasonably expect that the tabletops will exhibit some wear and tear from repetitive use, transport and handling. When selecting a table cloth, make sure that you are accounting for how much of the cloth you want to hang over each edge. As a general rule, 30cm to 40cm is a good length for your table linen to hang from the edge of the table, if dining at the table. This will allow your knees to sit comfortably underneath the table. Full length table cloths can be uncomfortable and interfere with your usual seating position, and are typically used for display tables (for food, makeshift bars, gifts/registry table, retail display) where the legs of the table aren’t exposed, and/or the space underneath can be utilised for storage out of sight.
If hiring linen, be sure to check with the hire company if they require you to launder it before returning (most will not). Also keep in mind that most companies will hire two types of fabric – cotton or polyester, with the former presenting as a nicer, heavier cloth that can be starched. The latter can not, and is slightly lighter overall.
When hiring tables (or chairs), also consider the surface that these items will be placed on. If they are being used on polished floor boards or glossy tiles, then you may want to consider purchasing some felt circles/squares to prevent possible scratching. Most hire tables will have rubber feet, but sometimes these can drift astray during constant transport and handling.
Tables and chairs are a staple in the successful accommodation of guests during any function, regardless of size or purpose. By taking some time to review many of the aforementioned considerations, and developing an organised and robust floor plan, you’ll be well on your way to organising a successful event!