friend is having a head table…

posted 6 years ago in Reception
Post # 107
578 posts
Busy bee

When my Fiance was in a wedding and I was left to sit a close table with the other plus 1s, I was really worried since I didn’t know anyone either. Well it ended up being so fun! I met some really hilarious guys, and we all cracked jokes and told stories during the dinner and toast part. In fact, the Bridesmaid or Best Man and Groomsmen would get up from the head table to come “check” on us, when really they were just curious about why we were having so much fun! It was a blast. It’s all about attitude. I certainly survived just fine without my Fiance for a couple hours. 

It is not rude to be traditional

Post # 108
398 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2015

FWIW, I went to a wedding a month ago where I didn’t know anyone except the couple, and they seated us at a table with the wedding party’s dates. (The Wedding Party was at the head table.) Everyone at our table was meeting for the first time, and we still managed to have a good time. 

Post # 109
920 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@daniellemc:  M Darling Husband was a groomsmen in a weeding that had a head table. He was very upset that he didn’t get to sit with me as well as the other guys. He just grabbed a chair and joined our table after the toasts (Which were first on the reception agenda). No one seemed to mind. 

Post # 110
1987 posts
Buzzing bee

As at least one other person has mentioned, the proper practice according to every reputable etiquette manual that I have read (dated through at least the first half of the 20th century (see citation #3 for one example)), and a practice still defended by modern authorities such as Miss Manners (see citation #2), is not to seat married couples together.  This is because these authorities understand being in society as extending oneself beyond one’s intimates and consider the phenomenon of being private in public to be rude.  However, these seating discussions also assume one large table where the couple is separated, but still somewhat proximate to each other (see citation #1). 

While I guess I can somewhat understand the complaints of those couples that are at actual separate tables instead of merely separated, I guess I have two thoughts: first is that at any event where one member of a social unit is honored, distinguished, or otherwise separated out from other guests, there has to be the expectation that the more traditional and formal head table might come into play (see citation #1).  My second thought is that while there is a slightly larger burden to be borne when at a separate table and not merely separated by a couple of other guests, the principle of being social remains the same.  I see the host-guest relationship as reciprocal.  Yes, the host/ess bears the duty of attending to the food, drink, physical comfort/access, and cultural respect needs of his/her guests, but the guests, when accepting the invitation, are accepting that they are going out in society.  I would think of myself as being horribly rude to my host/ess if I was unpleasant or refused to engage other guests because I did not like where I was seated, even if I didn’t know the other guests–or didn’t like them–and thus created awkwardness or acrimony that would have the potential to upset my host/ess, who I must always assume worked very hard to seat me with people that s/he felt I could engage with and worked to avoid seating me with people who would cause me tremendous discomfort. 


3. (Post’s 1922 Etiquette–the sections on seating are far down.)

Post # 111
8688 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

I never see any of my friends with a head table. I always see sweetheart tables. We had a sweetheart table. I would never want my bridal party to have to be separated from their date/guest. They are already separated half the time because of all the other activities.


Will they survive? Yes, obviously but why do that?

Post # 111
455 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2015

I’ve been to weddings where I didn’t know anyone and Fiance was at a head table. I ate my meal, made polite conversation and enjoyed the atmosphere. I don’t see sitting by yourself for one meal as that much of an ordeal.   Fiance is close to them. They wanted to celebrate with him. They didn’t know me so it makes perfect sense to not give me a seat at their table. 

Post # 112
2750 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2007

I’ve never been to a wedding that didn’t have a head table. When Darling Husband and I were engaged, he was in the wedding party when his good friend got married. I barely knew them and I was at a table with my DH’s ex and her bf and the bride’s ex. It was super weird, but after the meal my husband came and sat with me, so NBD. 

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