Seating Style Arrangements for Your Event

It’s not just brides who spend time grappling with seating plans! The way in which you set out your spaces can have just as much impact upon the atmosphere and effectiveness of your event as the venue, your speakers and your content. Here we take a look at the various options for event seating and to give you some inspiration for ways in which a few small tweaks to your seating arrangements can transform your event!

If you’re hosting a party or awards bash, you can take your pick from banquet style seating, cabaret style seating or even long tabled ‘family’ style-seating. At Tobacco Dock, we generally recommend 10 people to a table in circular banquet style seating, meaning that there’s no one left awkwardly sitting alone at either end of a semi-circle.

Of course, the advantage of cabaret-style seating is that no one has their back to the stage if you have speakers or entertainment. The most visually impactful and on-trend seating style for this type of event is the family-style long table arrangement. This means no one has their back to the stage and also really helps to create a bustling and intimate atmosphere, but it does necessitate a large amount of space.

We’re seeing an increase in the number of standing receptions for social events, allowing for greater guest flow and higher capacities. This creates a far more informal atmosphere and opens the way to creating imaginative and

When it comes to business events, there are a multitude of different seating arrangements for you to choose from. While it’s tempting to ‘go with what you know’ our top tip is to swap things up a bit and prepare to be flexible. Perhaps in the past your conferences have always taken place in a cabaret-style layout, but sometimes a simple change in layout and format can really make a big change.

Theatre seating might be a better layout for your delegates to take part in the main plenary, while a change of scenery to a classroom or cabaret layout can help to break the day up and to maintain engagement levels from your attendees. Our Great Gallery can accommodate up to 1470 in theatre layout, and our many smaller and flexible spaces provide terrific scope for creative conferencing.

While many event organisers feel that a cabaret- style layout will provide the ideal set-up for their delegates, we have found that theatre style seating in fact saw higher levels of audience engagement. Cabaret seating means that delegates are able to use the table in front of them for note taking and any beverages however, it takes up a great deal of space and means that many more guests will end up a very long way away from the stage.

A multi-space event, featuring a range of seating styles means that your attendees will benefit from increased opportunities to network as well as breaking up the day to keep them refreshed and focused on your content! Our flexible spaces lend themselves to an infinite number of layouts and set-ups, depending on the size and format of your event. For example, one of our returning clients, the Festival of Marketing, use the Great Gallery for their keynote speakers, the Little Gallery for large scale lectures, the East Mall and Quayside Breakouts for content and stage sessions with the North and South Vaults serving as interactive experience rooms.

When working on your seating arrangements, it pays to take your audience into consideration. For example, at a recent team-building day, Just Eat opted for a range of layouts, including the use of beanbags to create an informal and relaxed atmosphere for their breakouts.

As well as the more traditional seating styles of boardroom layouts, theatre seating and cabaret set ups, we are seeing an increase in the use of poseur tables for coffee breaks and delegate sign-ins. These are put to particularly effective use in our newly refurbished East Dock conference suite. These tall round tables encourage informal networking, as well as the all-important coffee-cup-resting-points, so that hands can be shaken and business cards exchanged without a struggle.

If you’re planning your next event, we’d love to hear from you and talk you through all the spaces and solutions we have on offer! Call the team today on 020 7680 4001.