Who Sits at the Head Table at the Wedding Reception?

Head Table at Wedding Reception

This stunning head table for a wedding reception was styled by the talented designers at LA Botanicals

The traditional head table remains the most popular seating arrangement for the bride and groom and their bridal party at wedding receptions. The head table (or top table, as it is called in the UK) is typically a long rectangular table positioned in a focal area at the  reception. The table accommodates the bride, groom, all of their wedding party, and often (but not always) the parents – and where space permits sometimes even grandparents.

Traditionally, occupants of the head table are seated along one side of the table only so that they are facing the guests. This traditional seating plan makes you the focal point of the room for toasting, etc.

The downside to the head table?  It keeps your wedding party separated from their dates (significant others and escorts of bridal party attendants should either be seated at tables up close to the head table, or with their family or friends – whichever will be preferable to them).

Also, it’s not that easy to engage in conversation with those not seated directly beside you with this type of seating arrangement. Nonetheless, it remains the most popular seating option for the bridal party at wedding receptions, although some other options exist.

Who Sits at the Head Table?

The head table, also known as the bride’s table, bridal table, or in the UK, the ‘top table’, includes the bridal couple and members of the wedding party.  When there is sufficient room, parents are also seated at the head table. When there is not adequate space at the head table for parents, they are seated at a “parent’s table” in front of the head table.

In accordance with proper etiquette, spouses, live-in partners, and fiancé(e)s of bridal party attendants should be seated at the head table with the bridal party whenever space will permit.

If that is not possible, they may sit with friends.  If partners of the bridal party do not have friends in attendance with whom they can sit, a special table should be made up for the partners of the attendants so that they may mingle and get to know one another, and will enjoy some common ground.

Seating at the Parent’s Table

As mentioned, when the head table lacks sufficient space to accommodate the parents of the couple, they are seated at a special parent’s table directly in front of the head table.  Both sets of parents are seated at the same table, and if space permits grandparents, god parents, and other close family members can be included at this table as well.

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