Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Event Services swears by lighting for this purpose, saying, “Uplighting is going to be your best friend, and it’ll create the intimate atmosphere that your client is looking for. You can achieve this with warm tones such as amber and ivory, and candles are the perfect addition to each table.”
“In order to make a room appear full, I would use more tables with less people [to] help with the social distancing rules while making the room appear fuller. I also like to use lounges set around the dance floor and other areas to create sitting areas,” shares JoAnn Gregoli of Elegant Occasions by JoAnn Gregoli.
Following the theme, Jamie Chang of Mango Muse Events adds, “Another way to make a space feel more intimate is by creating sections or areas within a space. Dividing up the event floorplan makes it feel smaller and in turn, more intimate, like the concept of an open-plan house versus one with rooms – even if it’s the same square footage, the open plan feels bigger. And you can use these different areas for different functions like lounging, dancing, entertainment and food and beverage.”
Table layouts, social distancing, and more
Did we mention that you also have to keep COVID-19 restrictions in mind as well? As you’re surely accustomed to by now, social distancing regulations will be key when crafting your event layout, so it’s critical to keep this in mind to uphold guests’ safety.
Prismm recently launched a Physical Distance Tool to transition back to events. The tool allows you to design floorplans that meet distancing guidelines, help with visualizing the layout with distancing in place, and better understand how the new guidelines affect capacity.
According to Jennifer Borgh of Borghinvilla Wedding Venue, “Due to the current protocols, we are doing 50% seating at each table, so four people instead of [the traditional] eight. Couples are seated together, and the other couple would be on the other side of the table. This works for both round and rectangular tables. If the group is very small (under 20), then I like to do one long table.”
“I find that if the goal is to fill the room you’re better served with longer estate-style tables than with rounds. These tables allow for you to take up a bit more space, which then helps the room to feel full. When a room is full, the illusion of a ‘packed house’ is created and no one feels like they are in a tiny wedding in a huge space,” declares Laura Maddox of Magnolia Celebrates.
Better yet, Carrie Darling of Carrie Darling Events suggests: “I love the idea of creating your own restaurant atmosphere for an intimate wedding dinner. You can use a mix of bistro tables and lux, cushioned dining table chairs, all with 2-4 guests per table. It puts off a ‘date night’ vibe which keeps it romantic, and also defines everyone’s space in case some guests are not as comfortable socializing.”
Last, but certainly not least, Janice Carnevale of Bellwether Events says, “Just like you can float a sofa in the middle of a large room to make the space feel more intimate, you can take the anchors of your floor plan – the bar, the dance floor, the stage – and float those off the walls in order to make the larger room feel more appropriately sized to the smaller event.”
As event pros, we might think that this is simply an era in the industry due to a series of unfortunate events. However, the concept of micro gatherings may be here to stay, so we’ll want to be prepared to keep these tips for filling a larger space under our belts for the future.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.
Of Interest: What Seating Arrangements May Look Like With Physical Distancing