What Seating Arrangements May Look Like With Social Distancing
Social Distancing may be the phrase of 2020. As states and regions begin to ease restrictions and we see events taking place again, social distancing (and as we like to call it, physical distancing) will remain top of mind. It will be critical when planning for weddings, events, and meetings to follow local regulations and guidelines to ensure that the floorplan layouts and seating arrangements meet regulations, including proper distancing.
Allseated launched a Physical Distancing Tool to enable an easy transition back to weddings and events. The new distancing tool will calculate distancing guidelines so that guests are situated according to the regulations.
With social distance seating arrangements a popular topic at the moment, we asked event pros to weigh in on what they expect to see at weddings and events in terms of distancing within the layouts and seating arrangement styles in the near future.
Event Seating Styles
Laura Maddox, Co-Owner of Magnolia Celebrates is seeing a few seating options become more popular as we transition back to events. “Smaller seating pods, limiting the number of people per table even if the table can seat more is going to be the way to go. Perhaps we see a resurgence in the one-sided king’s table instead of the traditional estates that we have seen in the past few years. With a reduced amount of people able to sit at each table we may see that venues can’t quite fit the guest counts they normally can. This may work in our favor for this fall as we’ll likely see a reduction in guest counts as well. Having fewer people at each table will then increase the number of tables needed in the room allowing the room to still feel full while we have fewer people.”
Jo Ann Gregoli, Owner/Planner, Elegant Occasions by JoAnn Gregoli, is already working on a wedding layout that includes the use of long tables, single side seating (no on facing each other). “It’s a fun dais style seating.”
Kimberly Morrill, the owner of Your Perfect Bridesmaid, believes we are going to see couples structuring seating assignments based on family groupings, as families who live together can sit closer to each other at events. “Floorplans may include a wider variety of tables such as 48 or 36 inch round tables, in addition to the more commonly seen 60 and 72 in rounds. The variety will allow us to accommodate smaller family groupings, and maintain physical distancing guidelines.”
As a rental company, Heather Rouffe of Atlas Event Rental said that they are staying in constant communication with clients and vendors to work with them on adjusting prior orders if necessary and to meet any revised floorplan and catering requirement needs. “We are seeing an increase in requests for lounge furniture in place of traditional table seating. This can give the event a different vibe but still offer an elegant feel while meeting social distancing guidelines when required. We are also seeing an increase in home weddings taking place outdoors so we are designing the layouts to fit the backyards with various lounge offerings and table seating styles that we can arrange it safely while also meeting the client’s visual desire.
Amber Anderson of Refine for Wedding Planners, believes we may see tables broken down and removed after dinner to encourage further spreading out. She also envisions a possible shift to brunch and afternoon weddings that don’t require seating or a full meal at all. “Once upon a time, the wedding industry consisted of a church, punch, and cookie style soirees. There were no tables or seating. The rooms had chairs, outlining the perimeter of the space, which encouraged guests to mingle. The food was easy to eat without a table and couples found other ways to entertain and enjoy their guests. This may take some getting used to but we can blend modern trends with the timeless desire of just being with those that we love, still having meaningful weddings.”
Sit Down Dinners vs Buffets
Serving styles do impact the layout of a floorplan. If we see a trend away from buffet serving, those tables designated within the layout will not be required.
Kimberly thinks we are going to see sit down dinners become the norm. “I think caterers may move away from buffets, food stations, and possibly even tray-passed hors d’oeuvres in order to keep the food safe in the eyes of guests.”
Jo Ann agrees that the seated dinner may become the standard option for guests at weddings. “If a buffet is really wanted, I would highly recommend a station party, which only an attendant (who is gloved) would serve that item.”
Shannon Tarrant, Founder, WeddingVenueMap.com feels that the shift towards a served, plated meal may help to limit some fears as it will involve less interaction than a buffet. A plated meal may allow more sanitation control from the catering team rather than hoping buffet attendees are following suggested guidelines.
Ceremony Seating with Distancing In Mind
One of the biggest challenges, according to Kimberly, is how to design the ceremony seating. “So far, I am finding that a curved arch design gives the most space. However, I think it’s possible that we will see the trend of smaller, more intimate ceremonies (like family only) followed by the reception.”
As we continue to navigate the return to events and learn more about how event pros are arranging event seating, we look forward to sharing more about how floorplans are created with social distancing in mind in order to best assist others with their seating arrangements and layouts.
To learn more about using Allseated’s Physical Distancing Tool or to learn more about how using Allseated allows you to plan, execute, and book new events remotely, schedule a demo with the Allseated sales team.
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