What is a banquet table?

a rectangular banquet table with place settings for a wedding.

If you’re organising a big event, chances are you’ll have heard the term banquet table bandied about. But what does it mean? If you haven’t heard of them before, it might conjure up images of posh, regal feasts and roasted pigs with apples in their mouths – but really, a banquet table is ideal for all kinds of events. 

A banquet table is a kind of folding table designed to seat a larger number of people than your average table. They’re not just for eating at, though – you can use them for serving food or displaying objects as well.

 

Types of banquet tables

The most common types of banquet tables available are rectangular tables and circular tables. However, you may also consider the less conventional square or crescent-shaped options. As with other folding tables, these banquet tables can be arranged together to form larger tables where necessary – but you can also get different sizes of banquet table. 

So, how do differently shaped banquet tables compare? Well, it depends on how you’re using them. Round tables are great for maximising conversation opportunities between tables, but they’re not so good if you need all your guests to be able to see one part of the room. For events involving a stage or speeches, rectangular tables may be better suited.

It’s also useful to bear in mind how big you want each table to be. If you need to put several tables together to make a larger one, then rectangular tables are much easier to tessellate. However, if you’re serving a multi-course meal involving lots of different plates, round tables will afford more room for each guest.

 

How big is a banquet table?

Of course, there isn’t one uniform size for a banquet table. Commonly chosen sizes are five and six feet – both in diameter for round tables and length for rectangular tables. You can also get banquet tables that are smaller and larger than this, depending on what suits your needs. 

It’s also worth noting that some banquet tables fold in half as well as having folding legs. That is, the tabletop surface folds in half to make for easier storage and transportation. 

 

How many people can fit around a banquet table?

To some extent, how many people a banquet table can seat is dependent on the event. Varying decorations and plate settings can affect the number of people that can be put on a single table – and you should also consider how many plates they’ll have at the end of the meal, not just the start. 

As a general rule, a round table will seat more people than a rectangular table with the equivalent length. For example, a six foot diameter round table usually sits about 10 people, while a rectangular banquet table that’s six feet long will serve six to eight people. 

Remember, how many people a rectangular table will seat depends on how the tables are arranged. If your rectangular tables are put next to each other end to end, then nobody can sit on the ends. For the six to eight seater example above, that would mean the table can only fit six people rather than eight. 

 

How to choose the right banquet table

There are many things to consider when choosing banquet tables for an event, some of which we’ve already touched upon. You’ll need to decide which size and shape is best, but bear in mind that your event may benefit from a mix-and-match assortment of tables. You may also find that some banquet tables are better suited to certain uses. 

For example, rectangular tables can be better than round ones for food service because they allow for catering staff to be on one side and the guests on the other. However, a round table may be better suited for displays in the centre of a room, so that people can gather round and view the display from all angles. 

One important thing to consider when choosing your banquet tables is the venue space for your event. If you don’t have a lot of room, using a few large tables could make the space feel small and cramped. Using lots of smaller tables gives the illusion of more space. It also makes things easier for servers and waiting staff if there is space between tables for them to move in.

Naturally, the number of guests you’re expecting will affect the tables you choose. Consider grouping guests together according to personalities or interests before you choose your tables – ideally, your table choices should fit your seating arrangements, not the other way around. And don’t forget to check the sizes of your banquet chairs to make sure they fit!

And finally, the best way to choose a banquet table for your event is to plan it out beforehand. Using a digital tool can help you to visualise the space available and try out different options without committing to anything – you should be able to see whether rectangular, circular, or a mix of both tables are best for your event.