Ask The Expert:

7 Tips on How to Arrange Seating for a Mitzvah Celebration

Mitzvah season is upon us and whether you’re planning a celebration for 50 close relatives or 300 friends and classmates, expert TPS planner, Rebecca Halpin is giving us her tips for how to arrange your guests’ seating at your upcoming party.

Photography: Kerry Corcoran

While planning out the seating for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah may not be as challenging as arranging seating charts for weddings or galas (and making sure Cousin Harry doesn’t sit near his nemesis Aunt Alice), it poses its own set of issues. Do you need a seat for every kid? Will small children sit with their parents or with the teens? And do I really need to assign seating for the adults? 


1. Large Rounds

While the trend is moving away from providing a seat for every adult guest (see further below), many older guests may feel more comfortable having a place to put down their jacket or purse for the night. The classic move is tables of 8-12, and as a rule of thumb, a 48″ table will seat a maximum of 8 guests comfortably, a 60″ table for 10, and a 72″ table for 12. Any more than that, and guests will be clamoring for more elbow space.

Photography: Kerry Corcoran

2. To Assign or Not to Assign

If you simply must assign seating to make sure your mom group is seated together or to keep those bickering relatives apart, you can always embrace the theme of the evening and use the seating cards as a fun way to incorporate it seamlessly. For a soccer-themed party, display the cards inside a mini soccer net, or for a theater theme, use show “tickets” to tell guests where to sit. (You can even do this for kids to let them know they’re sitting in the kids’ “VIP” section).

Photography: Kerry Corcoran

3. Chairs

Banquet chairs, while comfortable, can be woefully out of style or in a color that doesn’t go with the theme. While the flowy chair covers often used at weddings may be too fussy for a teen party, sleek spandex chair covers can be used to create a more modern look. Just be sure to allow for the extra time of stretching them over each chair and removing them at the end of the night! 

Chair Covers + Rentals: Linen Lenders // Lighting: AB Elements 


4. Banquet Tables 

If your space allows, it can be nice to seat the kids at long banquet tables, by putting 6′ or 8′ tables end to end. Just make sure to position them to allow for the teens to easily get to the dance floor so they don’t have to go all the way around a 24′ long table when their favorite song comes on.

Photography: Robin Aronson Photography // Long Tables + Rentals: Hillcrest Party Rentals

5. Lounge Furniture

It’s become quite trendy these days to recreate a “club scene” for teen guests, with a mix of rented lounge furniture positioned near the dance floor. Since it’s easiest (and usually least costly) to rent simple white vinyl furniture as they are much easier for rental companies to wipe down after parties, you can always add throw pillows in the color scheme to seamlessly incorporate these into your party decor. And make sure to throw in some coffee tables and side tables to round out the vignettes and provide a place for teens to put down their plates.

Photography: Gary West Productions // Lounge Furniture: Arcade & Party Rentals by GEMS

Photography: Kerry Corcoran

6. Stand-Up Tables

Since teens rarely sit for more than 15 minutes at a time at Mitzvah parties, it’s nice to give them the option to hang out at smaller tables, especially stand-ups located near the teen activities (dance floor, teen bar, activity vendors, etc.). Just make sure to have extra staff on hand to clean up after them so others can use the table when they’ve moved on to the next thing.

Photography: Stephanie Waisler Photography // High Tops + Stools: Premiere Party Rents // Linens: Hillcrest Party Rentals // Florals: Wild Flora Design // Balloons: Balloon LA


7. Cocktail Style

It’s a kids’ party, after all! Get rid of the stuffy feeling of a seated meal by allowing guests to move around as they please, alternating among high-tops, sofas, and small rounds. It encourages guests to get to know each other (maybe your best friend from high school and your boss’ wife will become BFFS!) and encourages them to spend more time where they truly belong at a Mitzvah – on the dance floor!

Happy Planning and Mazel Tov!

Xx The Planning Society

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