Rhode Island Wedding Guide

Reception Head Table

Seating arrangements for your guests can be tedious and painstaking, but have you given much thought to where your first seat as a married couple will be? After your grand entrance into the reception and dancing your first dance as Mr. & Mrs., you’ll then take your seat. The traditional head table may pop into your mind as the only option – but there are many options to seating you and your bridal party.

< Image at Belle Mer, Newport, RI

Traditional Head Table – the traditional head table consists of the bridal party along with the bride and groom. The bride is typically seated on the right side of the groom. (If you are left-handed, you may want to sit to his left!) The bridal party can be separated by bridesmaids/maid-of-honor on the side of the bride; groomsmen/best man on the side of the groom (this can be disputed that the best man is beside the bride – but don’t you want your head girl beside you?). Or simply alternate bridesmaid, groomsman, bridesmaid, groomsman, etc. Depending on your bridal party size, the shape can vary:

Sweetheart Table: this table accommodates just the two of you and can be found either at one end of the reception room or in the center of the room, surrounded by guests’ tables. You may face each other or sit on one side. If sitting on one side, facing into the guests, you will want this table to be located against a wall or window backdrop. Optional: include your maid of honor and best man at this small table. The bridal party will then sit at table(s) to your immediate left/right or directly in front of you.

Community Table: (for smaller weddings) – one table that fits the two of you, your wedding party and all your guests. The table may be a round table, rectangle table or square table. Check with your reception site to ensure they have a table – and space – to accommodate you and all your guests.

Other Considerations:

Children: as young children often need assistance from an older adult, they should not be included in the head table. If you have a ringbearer or flowergirl in your wedding, you should seat them at a table close by with their parents. Parents in the wedding? Consider asking a close relative or friend who know the children well to sit and assist during the meal so that the parents can join you at the head table. Junior bridesmaids should be seated at the head table with the entire bridal party.

Parents: parents, unless a member of the bridal party, should not sit at the head table. Have a close table be designated for the parents and grandparents. Many will have one table for the bride’s immediate family and grandparents; a second table for the groom’s immediate family and grandparents. These tables should one of the closest tables to the Head Table. The family of the bride should sit on the side of the bride; the family of the groom should sit on the side of the groom.

Massachusetts bridal makeup artistsTip: If either of you have children, create a table for your new, immediate family. Similar to the sweetheart table, have the remainder of your bridal party sit at separate tables nearby.
When considering where you will sit, keep in 'all eyes' will be on you. If you are uncomfortable being the center of attention, you may want to opt for the sweetheart table or U-shaped table. If you love the attention, the two-tiered table is just right for you as you'll be the focus of the reception floor!
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