If you’re planning an event but aren’t sure which type of event seating plan is right for you, here are some questions to ask yourself before you decide which arrangement will work for your event:

  • How many people will be attending your event?
  • What is the purpose of the event?
  • Are there any restrictions due to the type of venue selected for the event?
  • Will the guests need to interact with one another at any point during the event?
  • Are there any special activities or circumstances that need to be taken into consideration?

Safety Regulations For Your Event

The event seating plan you select has to respect all safety regulations. For example, what is the maximum capacity of the venue and are the exits easy to find and fully accessible?

Depending on your venue, there may be additional regulations that you need to be aware of so ask the venue manager or owner about venue specific guidelines.

Number of Guests

The number of guests affect your event seating plan. You must ensure that you have not exceeded the maximum occupancy of the venue (for safety purposes).

From there, you will need to make sure that your event seating plan can accommodate the number of guests you plan on having — in the most effective way possible.

If you are planning a large event, you will also need to consider the flow of traffic. This is very important and often overlooked.

Event Seating Plan

By taking each of these elements into consideration, you will be able to select the perfect event seating plan for your event.

Styles and Layouts

There are many different event seating styles and layouts that can be used and these may have to be customized depending on the needs of your event or the venue space available.

But, by taking these basic layouts, you can come up with something that will work for your event.

Which Event Seating Plan To Choose?

Theatre Style

The theater style layout is used when the guests are purely an audience and little or no interaction is required. It is excellent for events with a large number of guests, but not a good selection if food is being served or if the audience will have to do extensive note taking.

When setting up for a theatre style there are a number of variations that can be applied to suit the needs of your event. Here are some options:

  • Circular rows
  • Semi-circular rows
  • Straight rows
  • Angled rows towards the events focal point
    Some other special features you can implement that can make a difference to your guests include the following:
  • You can offset the rows from one another so that the guests will have a clear view of the focal point.
  • Leave some room between each chair if banquet chairs are being used as these are typically narrower than the average person’s body.
  • Allow for a minimum of 24 inches between the rows to make it easier for the guests to get in and get out of their rows.

You will only be able to implement these features if your venue has adequate space.

U-Shape Seating Layout – A series of conference tables are set-up to create the shape of the letter “U”. The chairs are then placed on the outside of the “U”. This is an excellent style when there are few guests and they have a focal point such as a screen or TV. This is commonly used for directors meetings, discussion groups, or other types of committee meetings.

This type of layout is excellent for groups of 25 or less and where note-taking and interaction may be required.

Classroom Style Seating – As you can see in the picture, there are rows of conference tables and the chairs that face one direction towards the front of the room.

This event seating style got its name because of its popularity in classrooms and test-taking situations. As a result, it is excellent for events in which a person will need to take notes, receive handouts, or use devises such as a laptop.

This is also a good layout if it’s a long event, such as a conference, because it allows the individual to have room for refreshments. However, this is not the best layout if interaction between guests is required.

Conference Style (also referred to as “Boardroom Style”) – Given the name, this event seating style is used a lot for board meetings and other committee meetings because it encourages interaction between the guests.

One table or a set of tables is combined to create one large table in the middle of the room with chairs around the sides and the ends. This is not a great set-up if there is a presentation because it can be difficult for the guests to have a good view.

Banquet Style Often used for weddings or gala dinners, this is an excellent option when food is being served. The caterers use round tables throughout the room with chairs around each table.

Keep in mind that some of the guests will have to turn their chairs in order to see the presentation or head table.

Festival Seating – this type of event seating allows attendees to select their own space in an open area. In these types of events, like open air theaters or music festivals, there are often no chairs provided or not enough chairs for the number of guests planning to attend.

General Admissions – often used at rock concerts, this type of event seating allows the guests to choose their seat and can be used for any of the seating styles listed above.

Reserved Seating – Here, you can either use a place card to assign guests’-their seat or you can provide the guest with a ticket to designate each chair to each of the participants or guests.<.p>

Now, I’d love to hear from you.

In the comments below, let me know which type of event seating plan you use the most and why.

I look forward to hearing from you!


  1. Bea Bianca Dela Cruz at5:23 pm

    What seating style would you recommend if I wanted a long-day convention with a buffet served? I don’t know what to choose between a classroom vs banquets. This is a medical convention from 7 am-5pm/7am-10 pm

    1. Melanie at7:18 pm

      Banquet allows pepople to talk and meet others. Classroom is less interactive. Both have tables so eating won’t be a problem but the vibe with classroom is not my prefered choice since they’ll feel like they’re eating alone and it’s harder to interact.


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