Whether you are planning a simple dinner party or an elaborate wedding reception, you can easily work cocktail tables into your plans. Cocktail tables come in a variety of sizes, and can be dressed up or down to complement the look and feel of your event, indoors or out.
Cocktail Table Basics
Most cocktail tables are round, and are typically 30” or 36” in diameter, and either 30” or 42” tall. The 30” tall ones are often called “lowboys”, and the 42” tall ones are “highboys” or “high tops”. The low cocktail tables are generally set with four or five chairs. The tall ones are often used without any seating, or may be used with two to four barstools.
Make Your Vision A Reality
Standard cocktail tables typically have a plywood top, so linens are needed to cover them. In almost every case, you will want the linen to be floor length. The linen size needed will vary based on the diameter and height of the table. In some cases, you may want to use an oversized linen, and cinch it around the center column with a sash, if that is the look you want. If you do want this look, make sure the cocktail tables you rent have a center column, and not folding legs.
For a less formal, more contemporary look, consider renting brushed aluminum cocktail tables; these tables are available in several sizes (low and tall), and are designed to be used without linens. The aluminum tables are especially nice for outdoor events as you don’t have to worry about the wind blowing the linens off of your tables.
Another popular idea for outdoor events is to put a tall cocktail table, or two, under one of our 9’ Market Umbrellas to provide a shady spot to relax with a cocktail on a sunny day.
How Many Cocktail Tables Will I need?
We are often asked how many cocktail tables are needed for a typical cocktail reception at a wedding. As a general guideline, we suggest that you provide a combination of enough low and tall cocktail tables to accommodate roughly 25 – 35% of your guests. Cocktail receptions are a time to mix, mingle, and socialize; you don’t want most of your guests to be seated, but it is nice to provide some seating, and some tall tables to provide places for your guests to set a plate, or a drink. The use of bar stools at the tall cocktail tables is very popular; we often use 36” highboys with two bar stools. Typically, two couples will take a table; the ladies usually take a seat, and the men stand.
Some receptions do not include a formal dinner, where there is a seat for every guest; these type of events typically feature a grazing menu with some number of station buffets, each of which feature a different type of food. Events of this type are often designed to encourage guests to mingle and network. While you should plan to have more seating than you would for a typical cocktail reception, you probably don’t want to provide table space for more than 50% of your guests. In these situations, it is best to provide four bar stools at each of the tall tables, as more of the guests will be looking for a place to sit. You may also consider adding some 48” round table of six to the mix, to accommodate a few larger groups.
We Can Help!
The PartySavvy staff will be happy to help you choose the cocktail tables, chairs, bar stools, and linens to make your next event a huge success!
Check out our Cocktail Table Photo Gallery for more inspiration!