Long tables allow for the seating of people on both sides and the ends or one side of their length for a party. An eight-foot long, 30-inch wide table will seat eight to 10 people comfortably. When the tables are placed end to end, ten people will be seated per section of the elongated table setting if both sides are utilized. As you plan the seating arrangement, you must decide if guests will be seated across from one another or if twice as many tables may be needed.
Estimate the number of guests you expect to come to the party. This will help determine how many tables you need to set up to accommodate everyone.
Measure the table and seating area of the room or space where the party is to be held. Write the measurements down on a piece of graph paper. Use a ruler to draw the shape of the room or space on the paper using one graph square per foot of space. Cut out pieces of paper to match the size of the long tables to arrange on the graph paper as you plan the table arrangement.
Place the paper table mock-ups on the graph paper to help make the decision as to how to arrange the tables. Try one long series of tables where guests are seated across from one another for a family-style setting. Check to see if an open square or a U-shape is more appropriate for the room and number of guests. As you plan, be aware that you need clearance for the chairs to be placed for seating. You must also plan for guests to have space to walk between rows of chairs. A four and 1/2-foot clearance, which allows the guest to sit and push the chair out from the table, plus a walkway between chair backs is the minimum amount of space you should allow between tables. Another setting choice is a series of tables that are placed end-to-end in rows across the width of the room.
Set up the long party tables according to the plan you have made on the graph paper. When arranging several tables, it is wise to have a group of people to help set up the heavy units.
If the party is an event that honors a person or couple, make sure that the head table is set up to allow the guests a view of them.