Is a head table out of date?

robins143August 2, 2009

We are in the midst of planning my daughters June 2010 wedding. She will be married in the ballroom of a hotel and the reception will follow in the indoor garden pavillion of the hotel. Her wedding party is quite large, 17, and would require a stacked traditional head table. She attended a wedding yesterday and the topic of discussion was that the tradtional head table was out of date. I know she will not go for a sweetheart table, not wanting to be isolated like that. Any suggestions?



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A traditional head table with everyone in the wedding party sitting at it is not totally out of date, but it is no longer the norm when the wedding party is large, like your daughter's. When the wedding party is so large, there are alternatives other than having a sweetheart table. For instance, only the maid of honor and best man might sit with the couple. The remaining members of the wedding party would sit at nearby tables where they can be close to the couple but not isolated from the other guests.

Another alternative is to have the parents sit with the couple and allow the entire wedding party to sit together.

Your guests won't care what you do, so do what works for the dynamics of the wedding party (number with spouses they might want to sit with, etc.) and what will fit in the available space.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2009 at 1:20PM
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We did a Royal Table in 2005. It accommodated the bride and groom and the bridesmaids and groomsmen and their spouses/SOs. The best man was the groom's father, but he sat with his wife at their table with their good friends.

While Sweetheart Tables were common then, we did not want to isolate the bride and groom from their special friends, some of whom had flown in from across the country and they had not seen in awhile. DD said she had so much fun because of the arrangement. And it really worked well with our seating plan for the whole reception. I highly recommend a Royal Table.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2009 at 1:52PM
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I don't remember the last time I went to a wedding with a traditional (people only on one side) head table, maybe in 1998 or so? We used a regular round table and seated everyone with their spouse or date. Most wedding parties would require more than one round table, and that's fine. The wedding party seems happier being seated with their spouses (especially when someone's spouse or date doesn't know anyone else there).

    Bookmark   August 2, 2009 at 11:49PM
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Head tables are still the norm here... but large wedding parties like your daughter's are not.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 5:28PM
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I almost never see any kind of head table or even sweetheart table in our community, but it may be an ethnic difference, with less focus on attendants and more on family. Once the reception starts, the attendants are just like any other guests and do not sit at any special table, just with whomever they would be seated with anyway (e.g., cousins with cousins, school friends together, etc.), with their SOs. The bridal couple sit with their close family at a regular, perhaps a little extra large, table, usually centrally located. "Close family" can mean parents and siblings and grandparents, but if that's too many or if there are uncomfortable divorces or something, people do any variation that works.

If I were an attendant, I would prefer this way, to sit with my own friends or relatives, or at least someone the hosts thought I would mix well with, rather than the groom's college roommate and the bride's niece, with whom I may have nothing in common other than our dress. I don't especially like eating on a dais, either. But if the hosts wanted it that way, I wouldn't mind.

Anyway, as you can see from these posts, there are all kinds of ways to do seating at your reception. So don't worry about what is or isn't "out of date" or what others do, and just do whatever will work the best for your group.

Have fun!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 6:01PM
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I need to clarify. The Royal Table setting was using both sides of a very long table. There were lots of people to chat with and celebrate with, and everyone had a wonderful time. If by head table, you mean using only one side of the table, I don't like that set up. You can talk to the person on one or the other side of you only, and group conversation does not work.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 2:36PM
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