Oblong Versus Round

Understanding The Table Shape Debate


When it comes to your reception, deciding on the shape of the tables is seen as an important choice. We’ve put together an outline of pros and cons so you can make an informed choice.

Before doing that though, it’s important to understand that most venues have a particular style of table available, and changing the table shape will incur extra hire cost. The bigger the wedding the higher that cost. Also, it shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all of your venue decision. Either table shape is workable, and the overall look, feel, food and service offered are far more important. That said, here’s how the alternative tables stack up:


There was once a time when the round table reigned supreme – almost certainly in your parents’ day – but increasingly, oblong tables are seen as more on-trend, particularly if you’re going for the rustic/farmhouse/boho-chic look. That owes a lot also to the oblong tables having attractive woodgrain, if they do.


Round tables really lend themselves to dramatic centrepieces if that’s a look you like. Remember though that guests have to see past them when it comes to speech time or to try to talk to each other. Creating centrepieces on oblong tables isn’t quite as easy as the space between diners is often used for food and beverage service. That said, some great looks can be created, particularly with flower and linen runners giving a contrast to the wooden table top.


This is where oblong tables are the big winner. Once you go beyond small tables of six (10 is standard), it’s difficult to have a conversation with anyone other than the people directly to your left and right.  It’s one of the reasons you never see large round tables in restaurants.  Oblong tables are easy to have conversations with those opposite you as well as those beside you.

Seating Guests

This really depends on the shape of the space. Generally, you can fit more people in with oblong tables, although venues with round tables have long since worked out the configurations that work. If you’re thinking of hiring in alternative tables, make sure you’ve thought through your seating plan for the available space.


With oblong tables you normally use linen runners, which are cheaper than full tablecloths, and will show off the wooden top. Venues often provide their own linen at no extra charge though, which might nullify this as a cost factor. The cost of decorating the tables depends on how elaborate you want the runners or centrepieces to be.

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