Rubbing elbows may well be the goal of many parties, but don’t take it literally. Overcrowded and difficult to navigate spaces are neither enjoyable nor safe. At the same time, a venue that’s too big relative to the number of guests makes your event feel sparsely attended. So, you can see why calculating event capacity is such a critical step in planning!

Always consider the usable space available, not just to the overall dimensions of the venue. Don’t include the area behind the bar, for example, and exclude any other space that’s unsuitable because of table shape or poor sight lines. 

There are plenty of online event space calculators to help you with this process. I’ve included a table below to give you an idea of the space requirements for various scenarios. Just multiply this by your number of guests and add up the different space requirements to discover your event’s minimum space requirement. Consider any extra space available a bonus!



Sq. ft per person

Cocktail Party Standing Room


Head Table


Dining 8′ Rect. Table (8-10 per table) / Dining 6′ Rect Table (6-8 per table)


Dining 5’ Round table (8-10 per table) / Dining 6’ Round table (10-12 per table)


Seating theatre style (allow at least 30” from chair back to chair back and a 4’ central aisle)


Dancing (usually only about 30-50% of guests hit the dance floor!)

5 per person dancing

Buffet Table 8′

75 per table

Buffet Table 6′

50 per table


32 per member of the band