The Sardine Effect: 6 tips for creating your OBX Wedding Layout

Spatial considerations to keep in mind in order to properly execute a successful event.


Photo credit: Genevieve Stewart Photography

Venue and rental property maximum capacities may accommodate your 150 guests, but does this include room for your dance floor, bar, and buffet? Every wedding is unique and must be planned with the venue layout in mind. Before you place your non-refundable deposit on a wedding venue, be sure to consider these six necessary special elements of a wedding venue.

Seating space:
Many OBX wedding and event venues carry a high capacity limit; however, you must factor in EVERYTHING you wish to include at your event. Sometimes this means you can seat all 200 guests, but to do so you may have to sacrifice a dance floor. Make sure your guests will not be packed in uncomfortably close by asking questions such as- If there is room allotted for at least three feet between each chair. Ocean Atlantic Event Rental Event Associates know most of the local venues and can assist in creating the best seating plan for your space and unique needs using our CAD layouts and equipment. Our tips and tricks will help you maximize your reception space using round, rectangular and square tables.

Ceremony & Plan B:
If your Outer Banks wedding venue has the perfect dock overlooking the sound for your ceremony, what happens if rains? Be sure to retain a back-up plan, whether it is a tent or the interior of the venue. We recommend hiring an event coordinator to assist with details such as these!


Photo Credit: Genevieve Stewart Photography

There are three primary options for dinner presentation: buffet, plated, or food stations. Buffets necessitate more room for guests to easily maneuver in between tables to approach the buffet. While planning your layout there should be a designated area for the buffet tables. Ensuring room availability on both sides of the buffet tables for two lines will allow guests to progress through the buffet line efficiently. This means everyone can be plated and enjoying their delicious meals in only half the time! Plated dinners present a more desirable spacial situation when dealing with a large guest count in a tight venue. Plating your dinner will reduce the need of room for guests to move about as they will remain seated at their designated tables.


Photo Credit: Genevieve Stewart Photography

Is dancing going to be one of the highlights of your celebration? If the answer is yes, do not forget to factor in room for a dance floor at your OBX wedding venue. Event Associates at OAER will assist in selecting the appropriate dance floor size for your guest count.


Photo Credit: Brooke Mayo Photography


Photo Credit: Genevieve Stewart Photography

Drink me!
Do not forget to hydrate! A full bar can be deliciously fun but requires more room (and a paid bartender!). Some venues equip their own bar, but if not consider a rustic option with wine barrels and a rustic door top.

Check with your caterer, bartender or coordinator about ABC license requirements!

If you are running low on space, consider utilizing galvanized drink buckets for bottled water, soda, or alcoholic beverages as an alternative to a full bar!


Photo Credit: Genevieve Stewart Photography

Ocean Atlantic Event Rentals also offers an 11′ drink canoe that will keep your beverages fresh and chilled.


Band or DJ?
A DJ requires a smaller area than a band. Ask your band or DJ what they need spatially so you can factor that in when choosing your venue. Bands may need staging. Staging size is dependent upon how many pieces make up the band.

Bands and Dee Jays will need accessibility to the appropriate power sources. If they must be stationed where power is unreachable, generators may be an alternate option.


Photo credit: Brooke Mayo Photography

There may be a few other small tables that need to be incorporated as well. Do not forget to consider your bridal or sweetheart table, cake table, and gift table.

Layouts-The Key to a Well-Designed Layout for your Event.
Ocean Atlantic Event Rentals offers computer aided designs of venues if you book your event with us. We currently have an extensive catalog of popular local OBX wedding venues. Two complimentary diagrams catered specifically to your guest count and vision will be provided. Multiple diagrams may be provided for an extra fee. If we do not currently have measurements of your venue, we offer a site survey for a fee. Ocean Atlantic Event Rentals will ensure that you are able to incorporate all the important elements that you have dreamed of for your special Outer Banks Wedding day.


Many thanks to Brooke Mayo Photography and Genevieve Stewart Photography for the photographs used in this blog!