The vision for your wedding reception is starting to come together in your mind’s eye. At this point, you likely at least have an idea of what you want to include. Snacks and drinks for cocktail hour, dinner tables, of course, a bar and dancefloor… But wait––where’s all this stuff supposed to be placed anyway?

This is where your wedding reception’s floor plan comes in to save the day. Floor plans function as a roadmap for your reception; by deciding in advance where everything should go, you will save yourself from stressing about how to arrange your reception at the last minute.

Let’s break down the steps to creating one!

design wedding reception floor

Choose the Best Venue

The first step to planning any wedding reception is picking the venue. Once you have settled on that, then the rest of the reception’s pieces will start falling into place.

Remember: there’s no such thing as an objectively best venue. The best venue will be the one that’s best for your wants and needs.

If you’re planning on a massive blowout with hundreds of guests, then you’ll need a venue that holds all those people, such as a banquet hall, hotel, golf course, or restored barn. Smaller weddings require smaller spaces, so consider that old house or beautiful backyard dressed up in fairy lights!

There are hundreds of options out there. Hit the Internet and investigate! You never know what gem you’ll stumble upon.

Create a Unique Entry

Decide where the entry and exit points will be for your reception. Depending on the venue, this can be easy if this is already clearly defined in its layout.

Otherwise, the most important thing is ensuring that there is a smooth flow of traffic without any chokeholds. Avoid any clogs of people if at all possible!

From there you can go as decor crazy all you want!

design wedding reception floor
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Incorporate the Dance Floor and DJ/Band

Above all else, a large open space is necessary for a dance floor, and will oftentimes be sufficient for your wedding’s guests. Many can intuit where it will be.

That said, think of your guests’ feet! Your open space might have plenty of elbow room, but is the ground slippery and uneven? That will make dancing difficult, steering your guests away from doing so at all. An actual dance floor made out of a material like wood will make for a more comfortable experience, allowing for spins and twirls. No one wants a sprained ankle (or worse) at a wedding!

As for the actual placement, let the dance floor be in the reception’s spotlight and shine! A dance floor that’s front and center means easy access for your guests, meaning they will feel welcome in participating in the reception’s festivities. You want a lively crowd!

design wedding reception floor
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Consider Table Arrangements

Don’t worry––this isn’t an invitation for you to worry about seating charts and who should sit where and stress over a hundred social dynamics. Before you do that, figure out where to arrange the actual tables first.

There are a ton of different options for table arrangements, many coming down to personal taste. Some couples prefer the flow of circular tables scattered across the reception to encourage mingling, while others prefer the comfort of long rectangular tables. Envision your distinct vibe for the wedding reception first, and decide how the table placements will create that.

While deciding this, there are a few things you want to keep in mind.

Keep tables away from your DJ’s speakers or band, especially ones that will seat older guests. Your guests’ ears will thank you later!

As always, think about foot traffic between places like the dance floor, bathrooms, and dessert and drinks bars. No one wants to have to scoot between cramped tables and guests, so keep your table arrangements open and spacious!

Manage Guest List & Seating

Okay, now it’s time to worry about the guest list and seating, but with a bit of planning, it doesn’t have to be quite a daunting task!

Likely you will have a sweetheart or head table of sorts, and tables for family members. Do this and your loved ones can help you seat everyone else!

design wedding reception floor
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One way to seat your guests is by organizing them into different groups, such as work friends, college friends, family friends, and more. You don’t have to actually sit them this way, but this will at least jog your memory of the preexisting relationships between them.

In addition, consider the common interests of your guests. You never know what friendships will emerge by arranging to seat this way!

Place the Bar

Wherever the booze flows is where your guests will congregate. Expect a lot of traffic near your bar, so be sure to give it the space it needs.

As such, keep the bar away from your entrance and exit. Doing so can create jams at points where people will want to move freely.

Consider placing it near the dance floor. Many of your guests may be more hesitant to dance without a little help. Keeping your liquid confidence nearby can give that extra boost of energy that’s needed for pushing the party all night long!

design wedding reception floor
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Add Food Tables

Some opt for buffets at weddings, and many will have dessert bars for you to nibble at throughout the night. Instead of a sit-down dinner where your meal is served to you, others opt for food stations.

Place your food tables near your dining tables. Juggling between plates, glasses, purses, coats, and more can be obnoxious at best and a spilling hazard at worst. Little bites at cocktail hour are easier for guests to handle, but full meals should at least have nearby seating for convenience.

design wedding reception floor
Photo by Amar Preciado on Pexels

Pro Tips

If you’re still stuck on designing your floor plan, then talk to your venue! Many popular venues will have setups saved from previous weddings they hosted. This will give you a clear idea of what does and doesn’t work for your space.

Wedding couples also love the website allseated.com! Allseated is a website that allows you to create a virtual floor plan for your event. Using their program to create a visual will help you to better envision your reception. Give it a try!