Creating the perfect reception layout for weddings is definitely something that gets me excited. I love to create them and love even more to see them come to life. Below are a few of my secrets to keep in mind when creating your reception layout:

1 // If you’re top priority is dancing, place the dance floor central to the space and arrange your seating all around. This will literally ensure the dance floor is the center of the party and also keeps it accessible and within view of all tables. Pro tip: place the stage and the dance floor first when creating your layout.

2 // Arrange Tables Thoughtfully. Before you stress about who sits with whom (and who doesn’t sit with whom), consider the arrangement of the tables themselves. Avoid positioning tables right next to the speakers for the band or DJ. Ideally no one is too far away from center stage, but keep in mind the elderly guests who might want to be within eye-line of the dance floor, just not direct ear-shot.

3 // Double check the size of the dance floor and the stage correspond. For example, having a small DJ table next to a big dance floor can make the DJ look like an afterthought and affects the energy in my opinion. If placing your DJ next to the stage, consider amping up your DJ’s presentation a little bit by giving him a backdrop, a great DJ booth or whatever makes sense with your existing event design. If you have a stage for a band, size the width of your dance floor as close as possible to the width of the stage. It helps to make the guests and the band feel like they’re all celebrating together.

4 // Don’t be afraid of lounge furniture. Give your guests an opportunity to catch their breath, but still enjoy the party by placing lounge furniture directly off your dance floor. It won’t pull people away from the party, but still lends a place to relax!

5 // Keep the bar in mind. Wedding guests ALWAYS linger around the bar, so keep one close to the dance floor so as to not draw them away for too long. We recommend one bar for every 100 guests, so if you have more guests, have two bars flanking the stage.

6 // Bride and Groom should be front and center. The two of you should be in a central location where you can see all of your guests (and the band), and all of them can see you.

Below are a few of my favorite layouts, followed by photos of them in execution. Enjoy!

Sydney & Ray’s Wedding // Ojai, CA

Photography // Steve Steinhardt

Sarah & Jack’s Wedding // Chagrin Falls, OH

Photography // Steve Steinhardt

Samira & Lauren’s Wedding // Palm Springs, CA

Photography // Lauren and Abby Ross