Seating your bridal party – Spinoff of another thread

posted 2 years ago in Etiquette
  • poll: How did you seat your bridal party?
    Head table with only bridal party : (23 votes)
    21 %
    Head table with bridal party AND bridal party's SOs : (15 votes)
    13 %
    Bridal party seated with SOs, separate from bride and groom : (56 votes)
    50 %
    Something else. Will explain in the comments : (18 votes)
    16 %
  • Post # 61
    Member
    559 posts
    Busy bee

    Far out, my fiance was best man in a wedding once & I knew nobody but people in the bridal party. He sat at the head table & I sat alone with a bunch of strangers. I was fine. 

    Post # 62
    Member
    559 posts
    Busy bee

    In New Zealand if your SO is in the bridal party, you sit away from them. I have been to so many weddings & only ever seen this. 

    Post # 63
    Member
    1650 posts
    Bumble bee

    I guess my question is this. When you make seating charts, do you generally try to put people with people they know, or do you mix them up? If it’s the former, why is that courtesy not extended to the SO of someone you care enough about to make part of your wedding party? 

    This doesn’t apply if the SO has other friends you can sit them with. But if as you place them on your seating chart you’re like “hmmm they don’t really belong anywhere nobody knows this person”, doesn’t it feel a bit weird to insist on splitting them? 

    Post # 64
    Member
    852 posts
    Busy bee

    View original reply
    trishthedish23 :  We broke tradition and did the following: 

    “Head table” had us (bride, groom), our parents and our siblings. Siblings were all bridesmaids & groomsmen. 

    Table #1 was non-sibling bridesmaids, groomsmen and their significant others and/or parents. My mom and I are really close and I couldn’t imagine not sitting with her on my wedding day. And I didn’t want a huuuge “head table”–I essentially wanted the head table to be a similar size to the other tables. 

    A sweetheart table also wasn’t my first choice, because I wanted to be with the people and I don’t like to feel like I’m on display. 

    Not all of our wedding party has a significant other, so the seating just didn’t make sense. I think everyone was happy with our arrangement. 

    Parents were happy to be with us. 

    Siblings were happy to be with us. 

    Non-sibling wedding party were happy to be with significant others & each other. 

     

    I don’t think the non-sibling wedding party folks were upset they weren’t at the “head table” with us, but they’re also low-drama and go with the flow. Plus I don’t think any of them see themselves as “more important” than our parents, haha. 

    Post # 65
    Member
    729 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2016 - Montego Bay, Jamaica

    My husband was in a large wedding/wedding party and was seated at a special table up front with the bride and groom and the rest of the wedding party during dinner and toasts. I was at a table with the bride and groom’s parents and a few random other people who I didn’t know. It was awful!!! 

    Post # 66
    Member
    1132 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: June 2019

    We will be sitting at a sweethearts table. Not sure if we want to put all of our bridal party plus their guests at one table, or put them at different tables (family, friend, etc). I’m shy and wouldn’t be too happy to be sitting alone at a wedding, especially if I only knew my Fiance

    Post # 67
    Member
    350 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: July 2017

    People can claim that separating wedding party and SOs is some kind of official etiquette, but does that really matter when nobody enjoys it? I’m glad the head table concept is dying.

    Somewhere someone made the valid point that official etiquette is to separate ALL couples to mix things up and provide new conversation partners, and if the entire seating plan is based around that concept then that’s cool with me. Seating all couples together EXCEPT your nearest and dearest (wedding party) is just awkward and annoying.

    Post # 68
    Member
    1059 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: June 2019

    View original reply
    trishthedish23 :  i think it depends. If the SO doesn’t know anyone else at the wedding I would seat them together, I think its a bit mean not to. But if there’s plenty of mutual friends I wouldn’t worry so much. My bridal table will be all relatives except one person. This person didn’t seat SOs and bridal party together and no one cared so I don’t think she’ll care either. But I might ask her and seat her to her preference. 

    Post # 69
    Member
    1598 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: November 2017

    We had a sweetheart table, and I specifically separated out my bridesmaids to sit with their SOs and others that they’d get along with. My 2 sisters (and their husbands) were put with extended family and decades long family friends. I sat my Maid/Matron of Honor and other bridesmaid together with their SOs and friends they already knew as well as friends that I knew they’d become fast friends with. Basically, I wanted them to have a good time – but they’re all such lovely women that I knew they’d also make some outliers as well as VIPs feel welcome. Everyone was pleased. 

     

    Darling Husband sat all of his groomsmen (and their SOs) together, and their table next to friends and coworkers. 

    Post # 70
    Member
    2115 posts
    Buzzing bee

    Our table had our siblings and their spouses/dates.  The rest of the wedding party sat with their spouses/dates at tables with people they knew.

    Post # 71
    Member
    1603 posts
    Bumble bee

    We did the sweetheart table thing.  So, we seated our bridal party the way we would any other guests by choosing tables where they would know people and match well.  I think it worked great.

    Post # 72
    Member
    2231 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: October 2017

    Think of it like this, you love these people so much, that you want them in your bridal party. You want them in your pictures, in the memories you’ll treasure for the rest of your life. These people are so special to you. However, your vision for your day is more important than that, so you’ll separate these people from their SOs to accomplish it?  That doesn’t make any sense.

    If I had had a head table at my wedding, my MOH’s spouse would have had to sit with complete strangers that he will never see again. How miserable for him would that have been? He literally knew only me and his wife at the wedding, as she married him only a year prior, so he didn’t grow up hanging out with me and my family like my Maid/Matron of Honor did. Also, my Maid/Matron of Honor is having to live hours away from her husband right now as she’s back in school, so taking even one night that they could spend together would have been cruel.

    As multiple people have said, is it against etiquette to have a head table and separate the people you love who are in your bridal party from their SOs? No. Is it unnecessary, likely to cause discomfort for them, and likely to make people miserable at your party? Yes.

    If you have the choice between your vision and your loved ones’ comfort, which do you choose?

    Post # 73
    Member
    8757 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper

    View original reply
    trishthedish23 :  I’ll be honest that I can’t remember the last time I saw a head table. It’s not common in my circle. We had a cocktail-style reception so it was easy – I didn’t have to figure out seating for anyone! 

    Post # 74
    Member
    1122 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: September 2017

    We didn’t have a bridal party, in part because we didn’t want to create obligations and expense for our closest friends, but if we had, I would not have had a head table. We did have a sweetheart table, and the closest tables to us had our immediate families. We only stayed at our table for dinner and the toasts, and then went around and greeted all our guests at their tables while they were finishing their food. Then we were mingling/on the dance floor/at the s’mores station the rest of the night.

    I guess I don’t exactly think it’s rude to have a head table, but to me, the point of etiquette is to make others comfortable. Your bridal party and guests have traveled to be with you, the ceremony is for you and the reception is to thank them. I think people can mingle and get to know new people during the cocktail hour, or the dancing, but when they’re eating dinner it’s nice to seat them with the people they know or people you think they’ll hit it off with, and in most cases, couples would rather not be split up.

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