Wedding Reception Seating
Who Sits at the Head Table?
At some point in wedding planning, every Latter-day Saint couple has to make the decision about who is going to join them at the head table at their wedding reception. There’s no “right” way to do things, but here are some of the most common head table seating scenarios at LDS wedding receptions:
Wedding Party at the Head Table
Traditionally the wedding couple sits in the center of a U-shaped or long rectangular head table, the bride on the right flanked by her bridesmaids and the groom to the left flanked by his groomsmen. Ushers, flower girls, ring bearers, and so on do not sit at the head table.
This formal arrangement looks best when there is an even number of groomsmen and bridesmaids. It’s ideal if most of your attendants haven’t got dates, or will at least be comfortable sitting apart from them for the dinner hour.
Bride and Groom Only: The Sweetheart Table
What if your wedding party is really big or really small, or if you have a lot more female attendants than male ones (or vice versa)? Or what if you have wedding party members that need to be seated with their dates but you have reservations about accommodating everyone at the head table? Try a sweetheart table for the bride and groom.
Wedding Party Plus Dates at the Head Table
If you’ve got a very small wedding party, you can “fill out” the table by seating dates or spouses next to your wedding party members at the head table. Adding a place setting for dates breaks up the visual continuity of the head table (all the matching groomsmen and bridesmaids), but sometimes it’s what works best, logistically speaking.
Usually this type of seating arrangement is chosen when most of your wedding party members are married or have dates, particularly if the dates don’t know other reception guests and may feel awkward being seated alone.
The sweetheart table is for the bride and groom only, and can work just as well for a formal wedding as a casual one. Elevate the table slightly to differentiate it from the other reception tables, and make sure that is appropriately sized. A sprawling table is no good for a sweetheart table.
Family at the Head Table and Other Non-Traditional Seating
If you have family members that you especially want to honor, you might consider seating them with you at the head table. Some couples sit with their parents and their honor attendants at the head table. Others may want to include a grandparent or other relative who is especially important to them.
Just remember that everyone you love can’t sit with you at the head table, and be mindful of divorces or other circumstances that might make this type of head table arrangement a sensitive issue.
If you really want your family members to sit with you at the head table, the easiest solution is to invite them to be in your wedding party. No rule says that the groom’s dad can’t be his best man or the bride’s aunt can’t be her maid of honor.
When it comes down to it, every wedding is different. What works for most couples may not work for you. Don’t worry as much about choosing the “right” head table seating as choosing the one that makes the most sense for your wedding reception.
♥ Jenny Evans
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