Setting Up Your Seating at a Speed Dating Event

By: Paige Tuesday December 4, 2018 comments

Probably one of our more boring topics, yet one of the most complex, and a crucial one to the success of your event: how should you setup your seating? The answer is nuanced, and it will depend greatly on your individual event’s turn-out, attendance, the layout available based on your venue, and other factors.

In our previous blog post, we’ve discussed ways to make checking in guests easy. But what happens next? There are a few variables you should consider when drawing up how people will be seated.

Who sits, who moves?

The first thing you should decide is who sits, and who moves. This decision is best made by considering your gender ratio. Whichever gender has more guests should be the ones to “move” from person to person. It’s easier to have a “waiting area” as people wait their turn to begin their speed dates, and an area for people to mingle after they have finished.

In this example, there may be more men than women. As such, we allow the women to take their seat, and the men will rotate with each date, filtering in and out of the “bar” as they complete the cycle.

Do you want to create suspense and separate the men from the women?

While this question is mostly specific to heteronormative speed dating events, your guests may enjoy being separated from the opposite sex at first. Everyone can grab a drink and relax a little before the fun begins, and it keeps a bit of mystery of who they might meet!

Do you have a large speed dating event with segmented groups?

A common theme we’ve found is grouping people by age. Most people prefer to date within their general age range, so this makes sense. However, it creates some additional complexity for you. You’ll need to consider how to keep these groups separate in real life - whether you just move some tables far apart, or literally have different rooms.

What about LGBTQ daters?

ZippyMatch will only show compatible people to everyone. This means a straight woman would not see a gay man in their list. You could have everyone talk to everyone, which complicates your event a bit (and will certainly make it longer), or you could setup two rotations: one for "straight" people, and another for LGBTQ.

Obviously, speed dating events are more complex to setup than simple mixers. When it boils down to it, your events are about having fun and meeting new people in a different way, so most people will go with the flow! If you are a large venue hosting a speed dating event, and need professional assistance with your venue setup, feel free to contact us.

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About the Author: Paige

Paige Schartz is a software engineer and entrepreneur. She enjoys photography, traveling, Amazon shopping, and leading an organic way of life. After growing up and attending college in Chadron, Nebraska, she moved to Fort Collins with her information science degree in hand to pursue her dreams of being an engineer. She wound up co-founding AllProWebTools, and gained years of business and technical experience in doing so. Today, she is pursuing a life of travel and serial entrepreneurship.