On another thread, someone here said they did not like the head table arrangement with bride, groom and attendants there. I was wondering why and what the alternative would be.
At my son's reception there was no head table. The bride and groom had their own little round table in the front and center of the hall. To each side was an oblong table where the attendants and their husbands, wives, kids sat.
When it came time for the toast, the best man stood next to my son at the little table.
Not having a head table is quite common. The couple had what is called a sweetheart table, just for the two of them. It works particularly well when the wedding party is large.
I think I wrote the post you mean. It's just my preference; there isn't anything wrong with head tables. Since you asked, here are my reasons for that preference:
First, as noted in another string, sometimes there are logistical problems with head tables -- do you include significant others? Dates? Will there be hurt feelings if you don't? Will the table be huge if you do?
Second, I personally don't like to sit on a dais. I feel like I am on display while I'm eating, and I can only talk to the people on either side of me; no one is across. But then, I suppose a head table can be a regular table, can't it?
Third, I like to seat people where they naturally will have fun, irrespective of whether they played a role in the ceremony. If I had, say, one table of cousins and another of school pals, I'd rather put my cousin attendant with the other cousins and my school pal attendant with his/her friends -- especially if people live far apart and don't get to be together often. If your favorite aunt is an attendant, she'd probably rather sit with people of her own generation than with your fiance's best friend.
Finally, my personal preference is when the focus is kept on the joining of two families. When the bride and groom sit with their attendants, it just feels more pageant-y, more queen-and-king-for-a-day-ish to me, than like a family life cycle event. In our community, head tables and sweetheart tables are rare (not unheard of, though). The wedding party members are just seated the same as if they were ordinary guests. The bride and groom usually sit at a regular (perhaps extra-large and usually centrally located) table with their parents, grandparents, and siblings -- or some subset of that if there are too many for one table, or if there is an unfriendly divorce, or whatever -- the point is, they sit with close family, not their attendants. So that's the alternative we use. But as I said, occasionally I see head tables and sweetheart tables. One thing that seems almost universally true: no matter what the seating arrangements are, the bride and groom always seem to say that they hardly sat down for a minute at the reception anyway!
Whatever you choose will be fine. Just do whatever works best for your family and friends.
Gellchom, I think not having a head table makes a lot of sense. Seems like when I've observed the wedding party at the head table, no one looked like they were having a good time. Thanks for the idea.