Seating Trend: The King's Table

Mar 23, 2015

Our clients often come to us asking for new ideas on how to seat guests. One trend we really love right now is the King’s Table. Instead of the traditional eight- or 10-top round, picture a long rectangular table with guests facing each other along either side, much like a king holding court with his knights and ladies (or here in Hawaii, an ali‘i sharing a feast with his favored kane and wahine).

“There’s a natural majesty that comes with a long unbroken stretch of settings – it just looks regal.”

And by long we mean loooooong. Anywhere from six to 20 or even 30 per side. Recently we chatted with Melissa Blake about the perks of a King’s Table. “There’s a natural majesty that comes with a long unbroken stretch of settings – it just looks regal,” she says.

The long narrow treatment also lends itself to impressive centerpiece ideas, from miles-long runners and low woven florals to a series of high bouquets that create a sort of canopy over guests. “We’ve created some jaw-dropping lighting along a King’s Table that actually did double duty as a centerpiece, by suspending varying levels of bulbs from a track installed along the ceiling,” Melissa says. “It’s fairly easy to do but the effect is tremendous.”

A King’s Table also results in a different conversation dynamic. “Picture ‘Downton Abbey,’ with dinner guests focusing intimately on the person to their right or left. Mini-debates crop up across the table, and pockets of animation occur throughout the evening. We’ve also found that the transition from dinner to whatever activity we’ve scheduled for post-meal is much more dramatic when guests are seated this way.”

Hosts are generally positioned at the middle of the table; another option is to have hosts stationed at either end. “It’s a powerful point in the evening when the host rises to make a toast,” Melissa says. “No one is forced to swivel in their seat or turn their chair around. Instead all eyes travel along the table to the person addressing the guests.”

For seating that makes everyone feel like royalty, think outside the round.