"Welcome! Are there 150 of you dining this evening? Would you like reception, plated, classroom, buffet or theatre? One might be safe for you and one might not."
You might be thinking, "She's really lost her mind now!" But this is important information. What I'm referring to are the different types of seating options for events. Depending upon the type of event, you will have to decide which one best suits your needs. I'm really trying to avoid puns here, but we'll see how long I can do that!
Let's say that you're having a wedding reception. Reception style might be what you would assume, but in this case, you would not find a place to plant it! Picture in your mind what it looks like when you're waiting for the doors to open for an event. Everyone is standing around and there might be a few people sipping coffee, others not and you can see a cocktail table or two here and there. That is what reception style is like. Standing is the key word. In fact if you've noticed on the walls a sign that reads "Maximum Capacity 150 people", they are referring to the number of people allowed with the reception style. You would be disappointed if you were thinking it is perfect because you're inviting 150 people to your wedding reception, banquet, fund raising dinner, etc. With Reception style seating think of S.R.O.- Standing Room Only. Taken out of context, but I hope you understand what I'm trying to say.
Now, let's go to plated. More than likely everyone has assigned seating in this situation, but primarily it means that there are complete place settings at a regular table when guests arrive. Do you see how this changed how many people you can fit into a room? At most receptions, it takes 100 square feet to seat 8-10 people around a round table with enough room for people to walk between tables, including wait staff. You would need about the same amount of space for a buffet reception, but you would have to take into account that a buffet line takes up space in a room along with the seating.
Classroom and theatre seating are more common for seminars. Classroom includes shallow tables to sit at so a person can take notes. However, sometimes it is an option for a head table where the bridal party sits, or the board members at a meeting. Theatre seating is more like what you would find at a ceremony with one or more aisles separating the seating areas.
Sorry, but I can't help but think of something we memorized as kids. It goes like this. "Ladies and Gentlebeans! This Thursday which is Good Friday there will be a special fathers meeting for mothers only. There is no admission, just pay at the door! Pull up a seat and sit on the floor." Whatever!