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Ask the Wedding Pros: Should You Sit with Your Wedding Party?

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Sweetheart table or head table? There is no right or wrong answer, and the decision is ultimately yours! There are so many pros and cons to either. However, we do recommend making the decision early on with your venue as your wedding decor, florals, linens, design etc., will be dependent on your choice. Whether you’re getting married in Virginia Beach at The Lesner Inn, or at another venue elsewhere, these are the questions you should ask yourself when deciding between a head table and a sweetheart table.

What is the Difference Between a Head Table and Sweetheart Table?

Knowing the difference between the two types of tables is essential. A head table is a larger table (likely rectangular) that sits the married couple and their wedding party. This table may also hold immediate family members. On the other hand, a sweetheart table is a table where only the newlyweds sit.

How much space can your venue provide you for a head table?


Before you commit to a head table vs. a sweetheart table, consult your wedding venue! Your guest count may or may not require you to max out the space with a head table. In addition, your guest count may require you to set up a head table in a specific location in the ballroom. So, find out your options first, then weigh all of your answers to these questions before deciding.

How many people will you sit with at your head table?

Will it be just your Maid-of-Honor & Best Man or your entire Bridal Party? Will they be allowed to have their plus-ones sit with them? Or will you require their plus-ones to sit elsewhere?

At The Lesner Inn, a traditional head table is a 14-foot long table on the dance floor along the railing. This table will fit 7 people on one side – so any additional guest would either have to sit on the ends of the table or on the opposite side of the table. This means if you have a 14-person head table, you may have people placed in front of you and your fiancé. Think about whether this bothers you or not and discuss with your venue & fiancé.

If the space isn’t large enough to hold your entire bridal party at one table, an alternative idea to sitting with the head table that we see the most often is a sweetheart table for you and your sweetheart (aw!) and a separate head table (or two!) assigned for the wedding party.

Is it important to you to have alone time during your dinner?

Cat Deline Photography

An opportunity for some alone time with your fiancé can happen during dinner. If you value that romantic alone time, a sweetheart table is totally the way to go. While we can’t promise that you won’t be approached by guests (especially since you are the center of everyone’s attention), you will have a better chance of eating & cherishing the moment at a private dining table. Alternatively, if you hate the idea of being the center of attention during your meal, a head table is DEFINITELY the way to go!

Speaking of your meal… what type of meal will you offer your guests?

A head table perfectly pairs with a formal sit down. Whereas something more casual like wedding stations or a traditional buffet can go well with either a head table or a sweetheart table!

Do you prefer to socialize & mingle with all of the guests during your reception?

Choosing a head table almost always forces you to sit with your head table during main meal, and this means a couple of things. Firstly, you will have the chance to sit down for about an hour of the reception (which will feel nice after an entire day of standing). Secondly, you will get to catch up with your bridal party (and/or immediate family) for that hour. So, if you choose to do head table but want to mingle during that hour, we recommend making sure your hired day-of-coordinator reminds you to socialize with the rest of your guests. When there’s a will, there’s a way!

On the other hand, a sweetheart table offers more flexibility in how you choose to socialize, and it gives your bridal party a chance to mingle with the rest of the guests too.

Lia Everette Photography

Still don’t know what you prefer?

Here at The Lesner Inn, we offer both options for your Wedding Reception. We recommend speaking with your sales manager or day-of coordinator and talking through these questions. Together, you all will come up with the best solution for you!