Seating options for the new Mr. & Mrs.

Dinner is one of the most time consuming activities of your wedding day. Planners and caterers will tell you to schedule no less than a full hour for a seated dinner to be served. Because you'll be spending some serious time in that chair putting thought into your seating arrangements is important. I’ll be tackling creating your guest seating chart in an upcoming post, but for today I want to focus on where you, the bride and groom, are going to be hanging out. 

Bride groom wedding Philadelphia reception

Option 1: Banquet Head Table

This style of dinner arrangement is the most common in the traditional American wedding. I’m sure you have all seen it before and perhaps have even sat at one on a friends big day. They are made up of several long, rectangular banquet tables where the bride, groom and the members of the bridal party sit on one side. Generally all of the bridesmaids will be on the right side of the bride and the groomsmen on the grooms left. Often times the head table will be place on a stage or slight riser, so that all of the guests can easily see the entire bridal party. This style lends itself well to a more presentational style wedding.

The biggest con of this style table arrangement is that it's hard to have a conversation. You can of course easily chat with those on either side of you, but forget saying much to folks 2-3 people removed. A pro of of the banquet head table style is other guests at the wedding can easily come up a say hello to any member of the bridal party. 

Over on Pinterest I've created a pin board for some of my favorite ways to accomplish each of the table styles I'm discussing- check out the banquet style head table here

Option 2: Sweetheart Table 

The trend towards incorporating a sweetheart table has caught on like wild fire over the past few years.  In this option the bride and groom are seated at a small 2 person table, generally round but it dose’t have to be, and the members of the bridal party are seated at one or more guest tables in the vicinity. 

This option is nice for being able to claim a few precious moments alone with your new spouse at dinner. Wedding days are so busy, so many couples like this option to have a few minutes semi to themselves. The biggest con of the sweetheart table is actually the same as the pro, you're sitting by yourselves. On your wedding all of your favorite people are there to celebrate with you, a sweetheart table is going to cut down on the amount of time you have to interact with them. 

Hop over to my Pinterest board for Sweetheart table styles here

Option 3: Captain’s Table 

This third option is the newest trend in wedding party seating. In the Captain’s table style the way the seating is actually laid out can vary, but the main feature is that the bride, groom, the attendants and their plus ones all sit together. Most often with this style wedding party members and their dates sit around all four sides of the table, the variation comes in if there is an open space in front of the bride and groom or if they are on an accessible end. Clearly in most cases this will make for one big table. I’ll be honest that this is my favorite style and what I used at my own wedding. 

The biggest pro for me with a Captain’s table is that you get to talk to lots of friends at dinner. I also really like that the wedding party is able to sit with their dates. I think it lends itself well to a wedding where the bride and groom are a bit older and who’s bridal party may primarily be paired off.  A con of this style is at you will be having such a good time with your best pals you might neglect to spend an equal amount of time visiting with the guests at other tables. 

Here you can find my Pinterest board for Captain's table styles

Each wedding reception is unique and different styles of seating will work better for some couples than for others. Keep in mind how much you want to interact with guests at the wedding and if you will need a little down time by that point in the day. Most importantly, no matter how you decided to sit do make time to enjoy a bit of the food at your wedding!   


Are you dreading tackling the seating arrangements for your wedding? This is an area where a wedding planner can be a life saver. Send me a note, I'm happy to help you explore all of your seating options.