To Have or to Hold: The Head Table

Most of my former clients–even the most discerning and savvy–have been stumped by a few things for their event or wedding. The majority of these questions surround anxiety over what to do with their family and wedding party on The Day (or, in the case of corporate or non-profit clients, the VIP table). Personally, I loathe the head table, but some couples–understandably so–must have it due to opinions, cultural reasons, or simply because the kid sister won’t stay away from her boyfriend-du-jour and out of the ladies’ room unless you keep her (and the rest of the wedding party) close. Even if you don’t need to pacify your Ya-Ya or babysit your bridesmaids, sometimes a little spin on the traditional “banquet” table can be done tastefully.

A few simple things to consider before applying the head table:

– How badly do you want to sit with your wedding party? (Most young couples will say “yes” to this one)
– How many members of your wedding party would want to sit with their spouses or significant others and NOT at the table?
– Would your wedding party try to have their dates at the table?
– Are your parents still married? (if not, reconsider seating them at it; if one is deceased and the other single, consider seating the parent there)
– How large is your wedding party?
– Do you have pushy relatives that will try to pressure you into a spot at the head table?
– Can your venue accommodate the space needed for a head table?
– Does your venue charge extra for the use of rectangular tables? Do they have 6-foot or 8-foot rectangles?
– Important: are you having a buffet reception, seated dinner or cocktail-style reception?

Many more questions can come to mind, but if I think of them I’ll add later. Firstly, if you’re young, close with your friends and want to watch the party with them, then by all means have a head table. I like to call this the “friends” table. This way no relatives are ranked–none of them get to sit with you….not event your parents. If you really want to watch the festivities from every angle, my personal favorite is the Vertical Wedding Party Table. This table is located SOUTH of the dance floor, not north, and is placed so that the wedding party are on either side of it. Use DOUBLE the rectangle tables to make the table nice and wide. The bride and groom are placed on the end FACING the dance floor, with round or square (or both) tables on either side and up around the dance floor as well.

This way, mom and dad (whether they’re still married or not) can’t get their feelings hurt because they will be seated just as close to you and your new in-laws, without subjecting your wedding party to Dad’s bad jokes (or bad hearing).  Meanwhile, you and your new spouse will enjoy a perfect view of the festivities without sacrificing your proximity to the dance floor, wait staff or your guests.