A Place of Honor – How to Seat your Bridal Party

Photo by Chista Elyce Photography on Style Me Pretty

Post by Amy Plass

Planning the seating for your bridal party at your reception may be the last thing on your mind as a bride. After planning out all the readings for the ceremony and the menus, figuring out how to seat your guests of honor can easily become one of those overlooked details. However, how you seat your bridal party can really make an impact on how much both you, and your maids and men remember the reception! There are several options to explore, and all have their benefits.

The Head Table

Above images from Wedding Chicks by Debra Eby

 

The traditional head table is usually at the front of the space, with all of the bridesmaids and groomsmen facing outwards towards the guests. The brides and groom are seated in the middle of the table.

Pros:

  • Your bridal party is given a place of honor.
  • Your guests all get to see you share your first meal as a married couple.

Cons:

  • Some brides and bridesmaid feel like they are on display, which isn’t always fun while you are trying to eat
  • Not having people directly in front of you can make conversations kind of difficult. You and your hubby will not notice this at all, but your bridesmaids and groomsmen might if they don’t know each other that well.
  • Some of your bridal party may have invited their spouses or girlfriends/boyfriends as their date. It’s miserable sitting through an entire ceremony by yourself, and then sitting through most of the reception alone as well when you don’t know any of the guests
  • If you include the dates of your bridal party at the head table, it will be very obvious who is single.

The Sweetheart Table

Left picture from Wedding Chicks by Blair Nicole Photography, top right from Ruffled Blog by Cami Parker, bottom right from Ruffled Blog by Alfred & Emma Photography

 

A sweetheart table is a table just for you and your new spouse. You are seated side by side, facing out towards your guests.

Pros:

  • You and your honey get to spend a little time alone together to soak in the fact that you’re married.
  • Your bridesmaids and groomsmen can be spread out as “ambassadors” at different tables so that the rest of your guests don’t feel left out.
  • Bridesmaids and groomsmen can sit with their dates! This might win you points as the most thoughtful bride ever.

Cons:

  • You are spending a lot of money to celebrate this day with your friends and family, and this is time that you can’t share with them.
  • I’ve been to several weddings were the bride and groom never got to sit at their sweetheart table because guests were too busy congratulating them! That’s a definite con!

Family Style

Images from Valley & Co. Blog by Mosca Photo

 

This is just like you’d eat a Thanksgiving dinner with the fam. Your family sits at the banquet style table, as do your bridesmaids and groomsmen and their dates. Your wedding officiant can also be seated at the head table if you have room. A family style table can often be several tables all pushed together.

Pros:

  • This works well if you have a BIG family. My husband and I both felt that including our parents and our siblings at our head table was very important. Since he has lots of siblings, this was the only way to go.
  • Conversation flows freely when you have people seated across from you, and less guests will come up to you while you are trying to eat. This means that when you drop that meatball on your dress, fewer people will see it.
  • If you want to continue the feel throughout, you can do several rows of banquet tables. Nothing says intimate party quite like banquet tables! If you want to make the “head table” more visible, try adding chargers below the plates on that table only, or adding more fullness to the floral arrangements.

Cons:

  • For the time that you’re eating, you won’t be in the spotlight.
  • Unless you make all the seating banquet rows, at least some people will have their backs to your guests.

Image from Green Wedding Shoes by Gideon Photography

 

There are a few questions to consider when making your plans for how to seat your bridal party. Do you want to share the time with others or have a few moments to yourself? How comfortable are you in the spotlight? How many people you need to include in your guest table, and how well do they know each other? Are your bridesmaids and groomsmen bringing dates?

Keep in mind, any seating arrangement can be adapted or changed to suit your needs. The idea is to be intentional and thoughtful. After all, your wedding party usually consists of your closest friends and family members, so you want them to be able to enjoy themselves!

Happy Planning! If you have any wedding or etiquette questions that you’d like me to write about, please email me at amy@applebrides.com.

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