Getting the Right Tables and Linens for an Outdoor Event

Many events take place outside, either due to the size of the event or due to personal style. For outdoor events, the event’s organizers will need to rent the correct materials from local businesses, from linen rentals to chair covers to round tables, and of course, the party tent that will house all of this. Weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, charity meals or events, outdoor concerts, and more may involve renting a large party tent and enough round table and chairs to accommodate all of the guests. Rarely, if ever, will hosts for such an event actually own or buy enough round tables or linen fabrics for all of this; renting it all is more practical, and can be fairly simple. Renting all of those round tables and chairs means starting with some basic numbers and going from there.

How to Determine Seating and Square Footage

The organizers or hosts of an outdoor event will be responsible for knowing how many round tables and chairs to rent, and how many linens of what size to rent. And, of course, they will need to know the total square footage for any tent that they rent for that event. How to determine that? Square footage and the number or type of tables should not be roughly estimated. Instead, the event’s organizers will start by finalizing the guest list, which is an entire topic on its own. Events such as weddings or bar/bat mitzvahs call for having a list of all attendees, and that final number is a critical reference point.

With the guest count in mind, the event’s organizers may now decide how many tables to get, and what shape or size. Different tables may be round table, square tables, or even long tables that seat many people. The event hosts must know how many people can be seated at each table, and this, combined with the guest list, determines the number and type of tables rented. A large event with 200 guests may need many tables, but an intimate event with just 30-50 people may need just a few, or even just a single long one. This will also dictate not only how many chairs are needed, but what style those chairs will be. Ideally, the chairs will match the table in style and material.

All of this will, in turn, determine the square footage needed. Not only will the event organizers add up the square footage of that rented furniture, but also account for walking space between those tables. That, and there must be room for anyone and everyone to slide out their chair to take a seat or get back up again. On a related note, guests with mobility challenges, such as those in a wheelchair or those using a walker, may be seated at the edge of the event. This is so they are not squeezing between tables and chairs with difficulty.

Once all of that is factored in, the total square footage can be calculated, and it is important for that figure to be accurate. A too-large tent is a waste of money, and a too-small tent can’t even house everyone. Now, the event’s organizers can visit local tent rental sites and look over available tents that are close to their square footage needs (ideally the same or just over the square footage needed). It is important to do this in person, so the renters can check for any rips, frayed ends, or stains on the fabric before renting.


In most cases, especially weddings or bar/bat mitzvahs, the tables and chairs won’t be plain wood; they will have linens draped over them, too. Linen rental is separate from chair or table rental, but the event organizers only need to measure the tables and linens that they rented to know how many linen pieces, and in what size, to rent from a linen rental company. The event’s organizers may choose from a variety of colors and materials for the fabric, such as cotton or silk, and whether or not the linen should have lace on it. Something similar may be done for putting fabric covers on the chairs, to make them more comfortable and festive for the guests.

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