How to Make Your Wedding Reception Space Feel Bigger

And not too crowded

Updated 11/18/16

Sonya Revell

One of the biggest things to keep in mind when choosing your wedding reception venue is the size of your guest list. You want to strike the perfect balance between having enough room to keep everyone comfortable, but a small enough space that your guest list doesn’t feel too tiny for the square footage. When your guest list is at the higher end of the venue’s capacity, though, there’s always a chance things will feel a little squished. So how can you make it feel cozy, not crowded? We’ve got some expert tips that should come in handy.

Creating a comfortable feeling at your wedding reception, as well as a great flow from one part of the evening to the next, is all about maximizing the floor plan. And who better to talk about creating the perfect floor plan than wedding planner to the stars and Wedding Paper Divas Style Partner Mindy Weiss? “As a general rule, never go over your venue’s capacity — for safety, legal, and aesthetic reasons,” says Weiss. “Instead of just looking at your venue’s maximum capacity, be sure to also ask how many guests can comfortably be seated in the space.” Still on the high end of the capacity?

Follow these tips.

“Test a variety of different seating configurations,” Weiss advises. “Depending on the space’s floor plan, you may be better off with fewer, larger tables instead of more, smaller tables. And don’t be afraid to mix-and-match shapes and sizes!” She never shies away from mixing round, square, and rectangular tables to fit the needs of each part of the space. “Just make sure the tablescapes are complementary to give you a cohesive look,” she says.

“If you’re not married (pun intended!) to a sit-down dinner, opt for lounge seating with cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres or snack stations,” Weiss suggests. “Mix relaxing sofas, upholstered chairs, ottomans, and high-top tables for a chic and inviting vibe.” The best part of this idea is that you don’t have to provide a place every single person to sit at once, so you can leave more room open for mingling and dancing.

Inviting kids to your wedding? “Consider designating a space outside the reception area for the younger ones. Hire a babysitter and provide fun activities,” says Weiss. “You’ll be able to remove a table or two from your main floor plan — and as a bonus, the kids won’t get antsy!”

“If it still feels a little tight, use décor to help give the illusion of a bigger space,” Weiss says. “Avoid linens with busy patterns and tablescapes that are complicated or cluttered. Clean lines and low centerpieces, with a strategic pop of color, will do the trick.”

Related Stories