78 responses

  1. Diana
    October 8, 2012

    My brother did a sweetheart table at our wedding, and it wasn’t so terrible. When the food came, everyone kind of understood that it was time to eat.

    Plus, I feel like with a little bit of humor over a mic you can get everyone to keep their distance while the bride and groom eat their dinner. πŸ™‚
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  2. Kat
    October 8, 2012

    G and I had our own sweetheart table. It was important for us to have our own time to chat and eat…but honestly we were busy saying hello to other people and chatting so it really could have been a head table anyway πŸ˜‰
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  3. jael
    October 8, 2012

    My husband and I sat down with both sets of parents…

    • Kristy @ Kristy’s Health Revolution
      October 8, 2012

      This is how we are doing it! I was so happy to come to that conclusion, because I want to spend some time with our parents and dinner seems the perfect time to do it.
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      • Allison
        October 8, 2012

        This is what we did too and I was so happy with the decision!

  4. Lindsay Margaret
    October 8, 2012

    We did a sweetheart table, it was great. We got our dinner first and we were able to eat and make it around to the other tables to chat with family and friends. It also allowed us a private conversation/private time. Several of our wedding party had kids there so this also allowed for them to sit with their families.
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  5. Grace @ Grace Dishes
    October 8, 2012

    All the weddings I’ve attended had a sweetheart table option. The head table looks nice but probably less realistic than the sweetheart table. I think it’s great to have alone time for the new couple!
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  6. Katie @ Peace Love & Oats
    October 8, 2012

    My brother and sister-in-law did a head table, except it was just another round table like all the others at the reception. Since the bridal party was only 6 and only 2 had dates, the dates were included in our table. I like the idea of a head table best, but I think it depends more on who is in your bridal party and who their dates are, because I can see that being super awkward if you’re a date and don’t know anyone at the wedding!
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  7. kirsten
    October 8, 2012

    I did a sweetheart table and it worked out very nicely. My husband has been in two weddings that had head tables and I got stuck at a random table with people I didn’t know, so I am very anti head tables.

  8. Mo
    October 8, 2012

    We did the head table & still did not have a chnace to eat dinner!! I LOVE the look and feel of a sweetheart table.
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  9. Ari @ Ari’s Menu
    October 8, 2012

    We had a sweetheart table and it worked really well! We had plenty of time to enjoy our dinner, and while some people did come to our table, most people were enjoying their dinners as well, and they seemed to give us more space since we were alone. I think you’ll be really happy with your decision!
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  10. Jena
    October 8, 2012

    We had a sweetheart table – my wedding planner acted as a buffer. She made sure we ate before we were bombarded. We only sat at the table to eat, and for two toasts.
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  11. Brittany @Berries and Barbells
    October 8, 2012

    My best friend just had her wedding this summer. I was a bridesmaid. She only had 3 bridesmaid and 3 groomsmen in her wedding party. She opted to have our dates sit with us at the head table. It worked out fabulously and was a lot of fun.
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  12. melissa
    October 8, 2012

    I’m actually thinking, neither. I’ve seen a family table a few times, where the parents, bride and groom and grandparents (depending on size of family) sit together. That’s what I am leaning toward, but it’s way too early to really know.
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    • Kristy @ Kristy’s Health Revolution
      October 8, 2012

      This is what I’m doing too! I’m so excited about it because I think it’s the perfect time to have some family time during the reception.
      Kristy @ Kristy’s Health Revolution recently posted..Saturdays are for Rest, Right?

      • Courtney
        October 9, 2012

        This is what I’m doing. Our parents love the idea of sitting with us for dinner and then the bridal party can sit with their dates.

        Everyone wins

  13. natalie @ will jog for food
    October 8, 2012

    I went with sweetheart too. Then the bridesmaids and groomsmen can enjoy their dates. Plus, the only time we actually sat at the table the whole night was for the speeches and dinner. We were up dancing and socializing the rest of the time πŸ™‚
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  14. Melissa
    October 8, 2012

    I’m getting married next year and we’ve decided that we’re doing neither – for all of the cons that you mentioned. I think the sweetheart table is awkward and honestly.. kind of silly. And having experienced the head table from both sides – as a bridesmaid and as a date of a groomsmen – I know it sucks to be separated from your date and have to be pushed into random conversations with strangers. We know it’s non-traditional but it seems so much more simple. We’ll sit at a normal table with his parents, my parents, and his sister/brother-in-law

    • Kristy @ Kristy’s Health Revolution
      October 8, 2012

      I thought that I thought of this, haha! Now I’m going through the comments and it seems like a more popular option that I thought. I considered all options and this one seems the most…right to me. I don’t like separating the bridal party from their dates, and I do kind of agree that the sweetheart table is a little silly (although it works for some people — just not my thing!), so this seemed like the natural option to me.
      Kristy @ Kristy’s Health Revolution recently posted..Saturdays are for Rest, Right?

  15. Jess
    October 8, 2012

    I think another great option is to sit at a regular table with the couples your are closest to (ie your best man & his wife, sister & her date, etc)… Then you don’t have the issue of dates not being able to sit with wedding party, but you still don’t have to sit alone either!
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    • Lisa
      October 8, 2012

      I did this…it was us, MOH and husband, BM and wife, and two other bridal party members who came internationally. I like the idea of sitting with your parents, too.

    • Bethany
      October 8, 2012

      This is what my sister did too. It was the bride and groom and their siblings and dates at one table mixed in with all of the other tables rather than at a head table in front of everyone. There was one other non-sibling member of the party that sat at a different table with his date and that was kind of a bummer but I think it’s better than splitting up couples, right? While the B&G got to walk around a lot during the meal I think their proximity to everyone else (as in not off at their own table or in front of everyone else) also helped with people not coming over to the table while they were eating.

  16. The Linz (Linzi’s Life on the Run)
    October 8, 2012

    We had the same reservations about doing the head table, as we did not want the dates of our bridal party to feel isolated at a different table. So we also opted to do the sweethearts table. I loved the fact that we were able to have one little moment together eating our dinner just the two of us. And honestly not too many people interrupted us while we were eating as they were all still going through a buffet line. So it worked out perfectly!
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  17. Kristy @ Kristy’s Health Revolution
    October 8, 2012

    I had the same reservations about the head table, because our bridal party has significant others that they will not be able to sit with if we do a head table, so we are doing something a little unique. The bridal party will sit among the guests so they can sit with their dates, while my fiance and I will sit at a regular table with our parents. We thought about it a lot, and since our parents are helping a bit with the cost of the wedding, we thought it only appropriate that they sit with us as a “host” table. This way, we get a chance to sit and eat with our family before partying the night away with our friends.
    Kristy @ Kristy’s Health Revolution recently posted..Saturdays are for Rest, Right?

  18. becca
    October 8, 2012

    We actually did option C – We had a round table that included our MOH, Best Man, My brother (a groomsman) and my hubbies sister (a bridesmaid) and their dates. We loved this setup because we got to sit next to those closest to us and they still had the comfort of our dates. Then the rest of the bridal party was at another round table next to ours, with their dates.
    Another set up that I’ve seen, when my husband was in a wedding, is that there was a head table, but instead of just sitting on one side of the table, the Bride, Groom, Bridal Party and their dates all sat at the table, going all the way around. The Bride and Groom sat in the middle of the side that faced out towards everyone. I thought this was a cute idea, and nice of them to allow the dates to site with the BP members.
    Another recommendation sort of related – if you do a bridal party dance, let them dance with their dates instead of having them dance with their bridal party “partner”.
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    • Katharine
      October 8, 2012

      This is exactly what we’re doing! We’ll sit at a table with the best man, maid of honor, matron of honor, and their dates, with the rest of the bridal party and their dates at tables right next ours. I think it solves the problems that both the head table and the sweetheart table can create! I’ll report back πŸ™‚

  19. Erin
    October 8, 2012

    We had a small wedding party so we just had everyone’s dates sit with us at the head table. That worked really well for us!
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  20. Amanda from Ms Giggles
    October 8, 2012

    My cousin just had his wedding. I loved how they did it. It was a head table, but it was in the middle of the room. So instead of it being a “head table” it was a long center table. I loved it.
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  21. Shanna, like Banana
    October 8, 2012

    I have a thing against hearts (no clue why) so I didn’t want to do the sweetheart table. Weird I know.

    We actually did a King’s table and it was awesome. Instead of all facing your guests (which I think is supremely awkward), you sit at a huge table with all of your wedding party AND their dates AND you parents. I loved loved loved it!
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  22. Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers
    October 8, 2012

    we did something totally different and i LOVED it. we did what i think is called a “feast” table where my husband and i sat at the head of the table together and the wedding party and their dates sat together along the long table. it was set up in the center of the room so we were surrounded by our guests. i felt like we were surrounded by love. πŸ™‚ you can see pics of it here since i know i’m doing a pretty shabby job of explaining it: http://www.pbfingers.com/2011/01/03/wedding-recap-the-reception-part-i/
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    • Meghann
      October 8, 2012

      I really like that idea, but it wouldn’t work with our reception site. All of the tables are different shapes, so they wouldn’t piece together nicely. It’s one of the reasons we’re not doing a head table, I’ve seen the head table set up and the tables looked off lined up next to each other. πŸ™‚

    • Nina
      October 8, 2012

      Julie, I LOVE what you did at your wedding! I’m copying it for my own upcoming wedding! :-p

  23. Kashi @ Cape Island Runners
    October 8, 2012

    we did sweetheart b/c did not want to separate BP from their dates. Like others, mostly people gave us time alone as they were also eating their meals. I did not expect to be able to have a few minutes to talk with hubby over dinner and that was actually a really nice side benefit!
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  24. Brie
    October 8, 2012

    We did a head table but invited everyone’s dates to sit with them, too, so they weren’t stranded. We also put people on both sides of the table so it didn’t look like a painting of the Last Supper, ha.
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  25. Leslie
    October 8, 2012

    We also did neither of these.. I hated the idea of both! The head table makes for little to no conversation amongst the bridal party and the sweetheart table just seemed to be a waste, couples are rarely sitting at it, save for the toasts! We sat with my maid of honor, her significant other, my husband’s best man and his significant other, and our siblings and their significant others. It worked out perfectly.

  26. Lindsey d.
    October 8, 2012

    I’ve only been to ONE wedding with a sit down dinner. I have no idea what the bridal party did, but it must not have been a head table since my brother and sister-in-law were at our table, despite being part of the bridal party. I really don’t think that full meal wedding receptions are all that popular here in Louisiana. In fact, sit down receptions are so uncommon here that no one realized until much later that there were actually table assignments.

    Receptions are usually a buffet with heavy appetizers and carved meats or jambalaya. Everyone eats when they want, including the bride and groom, who, frankly, usually don’t eat. In almost every case, as soon as the bride and groom arrive at the reception hall the first dances start, while others eat (respectfully) during that period before they start dancing and the bride and groom party and visit with everyone.

    The reception hall or a bridal party member boxes up some food for the couple in their hotel room after the wedding. No tables/seating assignments to worry about and lots and lots of socializing/dancing instead. I’ve heard so many stories of brides and grooms who say the only bite they ate at their weddings was the bite of cake they fed to each other.

  27. Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers
    October 8, 2012

    I chose a sweetheart table because I didn’t want to feel so on-display. However, we did tons of small bites instead of one sit-down dinner. Perhaps that would make a difference to some people.
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  28. Dana
    October 8, 2012

    Neither…we sat at a table amongst our guests.

  29. Melissa
    October 8, 2012

    We had a sweetheart table. We really wanted the alone time because we knew that people would come up to us a lot during the reception. We actually didn’t get many people bothering us during dinner and were able to eat. We sort of compromised for the bridal party by putting them at tables with their dates but having those tables right up near us.
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  30. Heather
    October 8, 2012

    We did a sweetheart table with two additional chairs and had the DJ tell our guests to come and join us for a bit during dinner. Over the course of our meal we had a number of people come up and sit a chat.

    This meant that we actually got a chance to eat and it was nice to have a small intimate discussion with our guests. It was almost as if we got to sit at multiple tables during dinner.
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  31. Rachel Wilkerson
    October 8, 2012

    Of the two options you presented, I lean more toward a sweetheart table but I definitely prefer the idea of just a normal table with couples or family like a lot of other commenters suggested! I am not a fan of the loooong head table with everyone on the same side; it just feels so awkward to me. I’d prefer to be able to see everyone’s faces!
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  32. Stephanie
    October 8, 2012

    We actually had a head table that was big enough that all the members of our bridal party could have their dates sit next to them so no one was alone. I wanted the statement of a large head table, and the benefits you mentioned above, but having been a lonely date to a groomsman before, I wanted everyone to be able to sit with their date/spouse as, it worked out amazing, but was an absolutely massive table!

  33. Margo
    October 8, 2012

    I didn’t want a head table because I hated the idea of separating my wedding party from their significant others for the whole reception. I didn’t like the idea of a sweetheart table because I wanted to sit with my loved ones and neither of us were big on that much attention. We ended up sitting at a regular table with two groomsmen and two bridesmaids and their dates. It was the perfect compromise for us!

  34. Cher @ Weddicted
    October 8, 2012

    We did head table which was set up like this: one round, one rectangle, one round. We had a big wedding party with three bridesmaids, myself and my husband, six groomsmen, and our master of ceremonies.
    If I could change it I would definitely go the sweetheart table route. I say, do not let anyone sway you differently. I hardly saw/spoke with my husband at our wedding. Looking back, a sweetheart table would have been a great way for us to be able to spend some quality “alone” time.
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  35. Juli D.
    October 8, 2012

    Who says the dates have to sit elsewhere? We did a head table and the dates sat there too. πŸ™‚ We would never have wanted to separate people and it worked out great!

  36. Danielle @ Itsaharleyyylife
    October 8, 2012

    i want a sweet heart table but then two long tables on either side for the rest of the bridal party… best of both worlds!
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  37. Danielle
    October 8, 2012

    I love the idea of sweetheart tables. Imo, seating the bridal party at one table seems really old fashioned to me.

  38. Cara @ I Don’t Believe in Diets
    October 8, 2012

    For my wedding (in Brazil) there was no bridal party or sweetheart table, but a family/close friend table (the friends who flew from the US to Brazil). But what I found is that I never ever had time to eat anyway. I blame the fact that the photographers just wanted photos the entire wedding, and never let me truly enjoy it all until the last photos were taken. But that can be easily solved. If that is, then, I think the sweetheart table makes more sense for everyone, but I truly have no idea if that is true. haha.
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  39. Sneakers2Sandals
    October 8, 2012

    We did something unique…we had a head table with my husband and i and our parents! It was nice because they didn’t have to decide who to sit with… so it looked like an extended sweetheart table with A’s parents to his left and my parents to my right πŸ™‚
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  40. Kelly
    October 8, 2012

    I can’t say I’ve been married. πŸ™‚ But I was just at a wedding this weekend with a sweetheart table. Because there was a cocktail hour before hand the bride and groom used that time to circulate amongst the guests so I really didn’t see that many people approaching them at the dinner. More it seemed they got up because they wanted to say hi to people. Also, I know they had given the catering staff instructions ahead of time to make them plates of appetizers so they got a chance to try everything and the same with the meal – what wasn’t eaten was boxed up for them.

    Honestly it seemed like the biggest culprit of my friend not eating more was her dress being tight and also the nerves and excitement whipping away her hunger. That said, I love all the creative options suggested here. Since I’ve only been a guest, the head table has never been that appealing from my perspective. When I’m in the wedding party I appreciate being at a table with my date/friends.
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  41. Hillary
    October 8, 2012

    I haven’t been a bride yet, but I think I’ll go with the sweetheart option. As a bridesmaid, I enjoyed it when the bride and groom has us (the wedding party) sit with our dates!

  42. Heather
    October 8, 2012

    We did long tables, so we sat at one of them with our siblings + spouses and parents. We liked being with our family, and it went with the family style meal plan. I’ve never been to a wedding where there was a separate head table. Maybe not as common here.

  43. Katie
    October 8, 2012

    I honestly think whether or not people will approach you during dinner depends on your guests and not necessarily the table set-up. At our wedding we chose to have a sweetheart table so that we could have some alone time like you said. We did not have a problem with people coming up to our table and were able to enjoy our dinner together. However, I’ve been to some weddings where guests were constantly approaching BOTH sweetheart tables and head tables as the couple was eating and didn’t seem to realize that maybe they should wait until later.
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  44. Amanda
    October 8, 2012

    I’m going for the head table at my wedding. If I don’t eat I get cranky. It won’t be a pretty sight if the bride has a meltdown because she’s hangry. Plus: even in my best of moods I can be a tad anti social. I need that break away from people to center myself.

  45. Janna W
    October 8, 2012

    You bring up a good point. This is something no one tends to think about until it’s their wedding. I didn’t want a head table. Almost the entire wedding party was married and I didn’t want the spouses to all be left alone. The venue’s wedding planner suggested a “high bar” table. It was the best idea and I’m so glad she suggested it. We ate and sipped drinks while family and friends would come up to us as we finished eating to wish us well. It was so nice to remain in my seat but still be the same height as our guests. It made usch a difference because we were already on their level to talk and chat and have some personal time with guests. When we weren’t talking with well wishers, we got to look around and watch everyone having such a great time. A lot of the mental pictures I have of the reception are from that moment.

  46. Anne
    October 8, 2012

    I have heard that the sweetheart table was awkward from my friend that recently got married. She said it was if everyone was talking and having fun and the bride/groom were seperate. I know time with the new hubby is important…but time with all the people you love just sounds so much fun! I would also invite the dates of the wedding party, that just seems polite!

  47. Elisabeth
    October 9, 2012

    I’ve been in 2 of my best friend’s weddings (and soon will be in the 3rd), and all of them were with a table for the whole wedding party. I’ve actually never been to a wedding where people have done the sweetheart table. I like the idea that a couple other posters mentioned – a family table! πŸ™‚

  48. Anne @strawberryjampackedlife
    October 9, 2012

    Since my husband absolutely HATES attention, and I didn’t want to separate the wedding party from their loved ones, I decided to do a regular ol’ table. We sat at a regular 8 person table along with my maid of honor, matron of honor, best man, and their husbands/dates. We weren’t bombarded by anyone and got to eat. Not sure how big your dress is, but I didn’t realize how full my skirt was until I sat down and saw how far away my new husband had to sit. πŸ˜€
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  49. Natalie @ Free Range Human
    October 9, 2012

    I had a sweetheart table and it was actually really nice. John and I hadn’t really had any private moments to ourselves. It was nice to have just a few minutes with each other to catch our breath. Don’t worry-even with sweetheart tables you people don’t stay away from you for long!
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  50. Laura
    October 9, 2012

    We didn’t do either option. We sat a normal tables w/ our wedding party and their dates. We took up two tables. The tables were off to the side so we were a little segregated from everyone and this way we could sit with our bridal party and they could still sit w/ their dates. Worked out great!

  51. Amy
    October 9, 2012

    No matter WHAT type of table you choose, you don’t ever eat much of any of the food that is put in front of you! Between pictures, cutting the cake, toasts, and all the wedding “stuff”, I was lucky to get 2 appetizers and my salad in me (and that was only because my MOH snuck me away and made me eat…). So, the best plan is to have sandwiches/fruit/drinks in your hotel room when your “formal” night is over, and you can relax, recap and finally EAT!

  52. Angela
    October 9, 2012

    We did a sweetheart table, but we had a ton of people coming up to us while we were trying to eat. I just chowed down anyway. The thing I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on was guests really enjoyed getting to sit with members of the wedding party (which was not something I was expecting). I’m glad we sat together even if we were interrupted.

  53. Erika
    October 9, 2012

    We had neither actually πŸ™‚ And it was AWESOME!!! We opted to sit with everyone else and not have a designated table or chairs for us. This allowed us to float to everyone and not be set apart from anyone. We also didn’t have a bridal party so that helped too….We loved being able to chat with everyone and mingle…….it was fun, but yet, a little tricky to eat, lol….still worth it to have the time with everyone.

  54. Sarah
    October 9, 2012

    We did option #3 and I loved it: my husband and I sat at a table in the middle of the room with our parents and grandparents. It was a great opportunity to spend some nice time with them on the busy day, and to honor them

  55. Mica
    October 9, 2012

    I had never heard of a sweetheart table until I went to a wedding with one. Initially, I was full of judgment about it (“Really? Don’t you have your whole lives to eat at the same small table?”), but you brought up some good arguments in its favor. Maybe just hire a bodyguard for the table so you can nom-nom your dinner in semi-peace.
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  56. Diana
    October 9, 2012

    We chose to have a sweetheart table and I’m glad we did! We got to enjoy our dinner together..I got a small break from feeling like I had to entertain, etc. I just ate my dinner in peace with my husband. Well not quite peacefully since people still came to our table to congratulate us and talk. But those few moments at the table alone were our only moments together the whole night!

  57. Jessica
    October 9, 2012

    We did a head table. We also had a small enough bridal party that we were able to have dates up at the table with us(well, only one person had a date too so that helped). It wasn’t really a problem for us anyway because the date would have known other people at our wedding anyway. There is no way we could have done a sweetheart table! I hate being the center of attention and all the wedding attention was enough for me without being all alone at the front of the reception hall!

  58. anne p
    October 10, 2012

    We are doing a head table, but it’s a normal round table like the others and we’re including dates. We were going to do two head tables including dates but it didn’t work with numbers so we have one table with us and some of the wedding party plus dates , and then scattered the others around based on where we thought they’d have the most fun πŸ™‚

  59. Katie
    October 10, 2012

    We had a sweetheart table during our wedding reception, and that was perfect for us. We definitely didn’t want to split our bridesmaids and groomsmen up from their dates! We actually didn’t have too many people come up and talk to us – they were all busy eating I think! It was also a time for us to sneak outside and take pictures at sunset with our photographers…so we probably missed out on some of the “classic” things you see during a wedding dinner…like the clinking of glasses to make the bride and groom kiss. Not a single person did that at our reception, for some reason!!!
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  60. Becca
    October 10, 2012

    We did a variation on the head table. We didn’t want to do a sweetheart table, but we also wanted our bridal party to be able to sit with their dates. So we had a long table in the center of the room and seated the bridal party and their dates on each side of table. It worked wonderfully because we got to visit with the bridal party but their dates weren’t flying solo!

  61. Tabitha
    October 10, 2012

    We had a sweetheart table… we didn’t eat. I finally had my wedding planner put my food into a box and I had it when we got back to our food. I was too wound up to eat anyway.
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  62. Molly
    October 12, 2012

    We had a sweetheart table and I would highly recommend it. We only ended up sitting there for about 10 minutes because the night is just so busy trying to kiss and hug every guest, but it was so nice to have 10 minutes to ourselves to just chat and laugh and take in the party around us. I think it was worth it! Plus, I wanted my bridal party to sit where they wanted and have lots of fun.

  63. Gina B
    October 13, 2012

    We did a sweetheart, and literally only sat during toasts. The rest of the time we walked around, chatting at tables and thanking everyone for coming. We thought it was important to enjoy everyone at our wedding during that time, and stole a few moments to ourselves at other times in the evening. Oh, and we ate boxed meals later in the night, since we didn’t get to eat dinner…maybe not ideal, but being with everyone was more of a priority for us. I think it’s definitely about what makes sense for the couple!

  64. Amber
    October 13, 2012

    Neither! My husband and I sat with our parents and then our bridal party sat amongst the guests. It was nice to have a bit of quiet time with both sets of parents during the dinner πŸ™‚

  65. Joanie
    October 14, 2012

    Meghan- my husband and I did a head table at the front if the banquet room angled into the rest of the guests. Wedding party and dates sat at table. I hate being in weddings and having hubby sit at different table. It was a huge table though but we liked it!!!

  66. Christine @ BookishlyB
    October 15, 2012

    We did a head table but allowed out wedding party to sit with their dates if they had them (I had 3 bridesmaids and my husband had 2 groomsmen). It was perfect.
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  67. Ashley @ Hop Skip Jump
    October 28, 2012

    We did a table with bride, groom, my brother and his girlfriend and the grooms sister and husband. It was a perfect table in the middle and would recommend doing it that way if you don’t have too many siblings.

  68. CampingGirl
    November 4, 2012

    We sat at a table like all of the others in the middle of the room. We sat with our parents and grandmothers… it was really nice.

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