Where you sit for your wedding meal is very important! Whether you’re keen on it or not, everyone loves to see the bride and groom on their wedding day, and at dinner time, there’s no exception. Highlighting where you sit is a special and sweet detail, one not to be missed! But which style of seating is best for you?
To me, there are three main styles we’ll hit on: traditional head table, non-traditional head table and sweetheart table, like the one featured here in this gorgeous design shoot by Alicia King Photography and Elite Wedding and Event Planning. Each style is particular to the experience you want to have during your wedding reception. How you experience your wedding meal, toasts and anything else that takes place near your designated seat is significant! And who you share it with effects your experience, too!
Your head table can be shared with whomever you’d like, from just each other, or your maid of honor and best man, to the whole wedding party, to your respective parents– so think about who you want to enjoy your meal with as you decide which experience is best for you. The only other people to think about are your guests: remember, they are at your wedding for YOU! They want to see you, experience your party with you, even if their across the room. So make sure you position yourselves in the room so that your guests feel like they’ve seen the bride and groom on their big day!
The Traditional Head Table
The Traditional Head Table has a seat exclusively reserved for you two, your maid of honor, best man and the bridal party. Many times everyone is seated on one side of the table, looking out at the guests.
The great part is the view, for both you and your guests. There’s nothing blocking you from seeing them and them from seeing you. It also has a grand presentation. The con, if you ask me, is that you’ll only experience your meal with the person to your right and to your left, so your new spouse and likely your person of honor. Which, if they are the only people you want to talk to, it’s a great fit!
A development of this style is adding the dates of the guests and having everyone encircle the table. This would generally be a long table in style, but with your bridal party (and they guests) on both sides of the table. I suggest leaving a gap in front of you two so there’s still a great view to you both, but this way you’ll have the person cater-corner to you to converse with as well.
The Non-Traditional Head Table
I’ve seen so many versions of a head table, these are just some suggestions of ways to enjoy the people you want to break bread with:
- A round table with your honors (a table for say, 4, or 6 with their dates);
- A table shared with your respective parents, aka the hosts;
- A table with your siblings or very closest friends, even if they aren’t part of the bridal party.
With these variations, your bridal party and their dates would sit just as the guests do.
The Sweetheart Table
This is a table just for you two, the sweethearts! This is a great intimate version of the head table, getting to share your first meal as a married couple solo. I love this option so much because your wedding day FLIES by and there are so many people and moments to give your attention to, that a table for two gives a nice chance to reconnect, to slow down, and enjoy the delicious food together!
It can also be a great choice if you have a non-traditional bridal party, have a huge one and would rather they sit as guests (and not in a massive lineup) or you simply like the style of a table designed for two. It makes a nice set up for toasts (especially if you have more than just your maid of honor and best men giving them) and allows you to be very free to connect with visiting guests to your table or to finish your dinner and start working the room.
The biggest con to this version of a head table I find is when my couples want to enjoy their meal with their other favorite people! They tend to feel that their dinners for the rest of their lives will be spent with their new spouse, and this is an occasion to celebrate with others. Fair enough!
Which ever you choose, it’s nice to make your choice on the early side of the design and planning process. I think it helps define your experience and the set up of your reception, which helps the whole process if you make the choice early on. I hope we’ve helped bring light to the what, the why and the who– now it’s up to you! Cheers!