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Head Table, Harvest Table or Sweetheart Table?

One of the many decisions that you’ll need to make for your wedding reception is where you and your fiancé would like to sit during the meal at your wedding reception. This could seem like a tiny decision, but it defines how an important part of the reception will be enjoyed and remembered.

Head Table

The term “head table” generally refers to a long, narrow table with the bride and groom sitting next to each other in the center. Everyone generally only sits on one side of the table facing into the room so the people seated at the head table can look out at the wedding guests.

Advantages

  • Because the table is long, it can provide a large focal point.
  • It’s a very popular arrangement, so your venue should be very used to setting it up in a way that works perfectly for the space.
  • You can comfortably talk with your new spouse and your best man or maid/matron of honor.

Disadvantages

  • Because the table is long, it takes up a lot of space in your room.
  • Usually the bridal party are the only people seated at the head table, so they often end up not being seated with their significant others or families.
  • Because you are facing out, and the table is such a focal point, some people feel overly “on display” as they eat.

Harvest Table

I will draw attention to a notable variation on the head table: the harvest table. This is also referred to as a kings’s table or a baron’s table. Usually, the harvest table is a rectangular table that is larger than the other tables in the room. The bride and groom normally sit at the head of the table. Everyone is seated all around the table, instead of only one side. Wedding party members’ significant others can also be invited to sit at the harvest table if you would like.  The same general idea can be used with family members if you don’t have a wedding party, and it can be scaled down to a regular table in the middle of the room for smaller receptions.

Advantages

  • You get to avoid the somewhat awkward feeling of sitting across from nobody. It’s a more natural way to enjoy a social meal, and it’s much easier to talk with members of the wedding party that are not seated immediately next to you.
  • Since the harvest table is at least twice as wide as a head table, you have more room to use larger, more eye catching table décor. The harvest table is generally placed in a central location in the room, so you can make it a focal point.
  • It is more unique than a traditional head table.

Disadvantages

  • It does not provide the opportunity for a dramatic backdrop the way a head table does. It generally has slightly less visual impact.
  • As with the head table, the bridal party is often unable to sit with their families.

Sweetheart Table

Then there’s the sweetheart table. This is the simplest arrangement, and it’s a popular one for good reason. The sweetheart table is a small table at which only the newlyweds sit. It is placed in a focal point of the room.

Advantages

  • Couples are often surprised at how little time they get to spend together on their wedding day. Many of your guests will be excited to chat with you, and it can be hard to carve out a little alone time for the two of you. Sitting by yourselves at dinner is a nice way to ensure that you get to focus on each other, and the food that you so carefully planned.
  • If you have a wedding party, they are free to sit with their dates or families.
  • Because the table is small, you may feel less “on display.”

Disadvantages

  • This is the least social option. Not only are you not sitting with your wedding party, but guests may be reluctant to interrupt the two of you when you are alone together, so people dropping by your table to chat will happen less frequently.
  • It will have the least visual impact.

The best piece of advice I can give is to make the decision yourselves, and don’t allow someone to make it for you. Do not agree to a seating arrangement because that’s the way your catering manager or wedding planner “always does it.” As you have seen, there can be clear advantages to any option. As a couple, you have unique preferences and desires, and a specific vision for your event. You’ve spent lots of time deliberating over the meal and spent a solid chunk of your wedding budget on it. Enjoy it with whatever seating accommodation suits you best.

Thank you to Weddings by Chris Sherburne PhotographyAccent Photographics, and Kelly Brown Weddings for the phenomenal photos!

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