The Wedding Guild Series: Head Table vs. Sweetheart Table


As your big day approaches, you’ll have to make final decisions regarding the seating style of your reception. You’ve likely determined if guests will be seated at rounds, banquets or (our favorite) a mix of these table styles, but have you given much thought to the table at which you and your spouse will be seated?

Brides and grooms tend to get caught up in planning details regarding guest experience and sometimes forget to consider their own experience! Don’t forget about your own seating assignments which includes defining if you prefer to be seated at a head table or a sweetheart table.

While there’s no right or wrong selection when it comes to determining your table style, there are some details you’ll want to consider before making this decision. For example, do you want to sit alongside your bridal party at dinner or would you prefer the presence of your immediate family? To avoid hurting feelings and creating awkward situations, some couples opt for a sweetheart table which eliminates the need to determine who will and won’t be seated at a head table.

Below are some pros and cons regarding the different styles of “head table” seating arrangements. Consider the positives and negatives of each before deciding which style best accommodates you and your guests:

Bridal Party Head Table


  • Allows you to mingle with your bridal party throughout the dinner.

  • The maid of honor and best man are in close proximity to the bride and groom for giving scheduled toasts.


  • Doesn’t offer you the opportunity to converse with close family members during dinner.

  • Could become cumbersome to include your bridal party’s significant others at the table (or you might decide this isn’t appropriate which could create an awkward experience for bridal party members).

Family Head Table


  • There’s no guesswork in choosing who will be seated at the table when sticking with immediate family only.

  • Family members feel included (especially if they weren’t part of the bridal party or other activities).


  • Unique/difficult family dynamics can make this seating arrangement more awkward.

Sweetheart Table


  • Allows you to experience a more intimate dinner as a couple and take everything in.

  • There is no pressure to make everyone in the bridal party and their significant others feel included via a head table.


  • You may feel on “display” without others surrounding you at the table.

  • You may feel a bit isolated from guests and dinner conversation.

  • Your bridal party and families may feel excluded from the honor of being seated at the head table.

Your wedding planner can help you navigate the details surrounding each option in order to help you finalize a decision that’s right for you as a couple. A planner will also  listen to your needs and provide valuable information as to what will look the best with your event design in relationship to what flows best regarding event logistics.  

Keep in mind that no matter what type of seating style you select, it’s important to remember that you will only be seated for the duration of dinner and toasts (pending group size, dinner generally lasts anywhere from 1-1.5 hours at most). Once dinner and toasts conclude, you’ll be bustin’ a move on the dance floor with all in attendance!

EducationEmily Driggs