I have toured many different venues. Each venue has a “Banquet Room Capacity” listed in the brochure. Once I get into the room and look around, my first reaction is “there is no way 400 people can fit in the room.”
What can I do to confirm that the capacity of the room meets my event layout?
You are not alone. A room that is empty looks and feels totally different than one with tables, chairs, decorations. Here is a fool-proof way to guarantee you have the proper amount of space for your guests.
- Get out your paper, pencil, calculator and measuring wheel* (Every planner needs one, see info below)
- Take note of any non-usable space such as columns, stage, risers, dance floor and/or buffet areas. It is always a good idea to take a photo of the area for future reference.
- Measure the room width and length.
Most hotels and convention centers use round tables; therefore, I will stick with that configuration. Ask your venue contact to confirm the size of the table; 60”, 66” or 72” rounds.
To determine how many rounds can fit in a room, follow the following steps:
- Allow five feet between each table; this is sufficient room for chairs to be placed around each table and staff to provide service. For instance a 60” round will require 10 linear feet of space, because a 60” table is 5 feet in diameter.
5’ table + 5’ (additional space between tables) = 10 linear feet of space needed.
- If you are having a buffet service you only need to allocate 2.5 feet for each table, not 5’.
- Take the room’s length and divide it by each table’s linear foot measurement. (See chart below)
- Take the room’s width and divide it by the table’s linear foot measurement.
- Multiply those two numbers together to get the number of tables that will fit in the space.
Example: At venue ABC the length of the room is 75 feet and the width is 50 feet.
The tables used are 60” (or 5’) rounds, and since dinner will be served (not buffet), add an additional 5’ of movement space to equal 10 linear feet of space that will be needed for each table. Therefore:
75 ÷ 10 = 7.5 tables (round down to 7)
50 ÷ 10 = 5 tables
5X7 = 35 tables can fit in that room
Subtract the number of excess tables that need to be removed to allow for staging, buffets or rear projection.
Multiply the number of tables by the number of chairs for each table
60” Round = 8 to10 chairs
66” Round = 9 to 11 chairs (not very common)
72” Round = 8 to 12 chairs
Example: A total of 35 tables can fit. Subtract 4 tables needed for a stage, for a total of 31 tables. Then, multiply 31 tables times 8 guests per table. The result is that you can have 248 guests in that space.
(35 – 4) x 8 = 248 guests
*Uline.com sells a great 4″ Measuring Wheel for about $35.00. It has a telescoping handle easy to carry in a tote bag or briefcase.
Now it’s time to start on the fun details. Good luck on your event!
Darla Arndt is a professional event planner with more than 20 years’ experience. She is currently the Director of Event Sales at Club Auto Sport, where she oversees all aspects of event planning from initial booking, to creating and developing memorable events, to negotiating contracts, marketing strategies and staying at the forefront of industry trends. “Dear Darla” is a guide to great events, that Club Auto Sport created to better serve our customers.