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Sweetheart Table vs. Head Table: What Are the Differences?

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Arranging a wedding can be a daunting task. You are caught between making your wedding a success and doing your best to impress your guests.

It can be easy to focus too much on your guests and forget to celebrate yourselves as a newly wedded couple. One place where you can choose to focus on yourselves is the seating arrangement.

Should the bride and the groom choose to have a sweetheart table or a head table? What are their differences, pros, and cons?

Elegant sweetheart table at a wedding

What Is a Sweetheart Table?

A sweetheart table is a small, intimate table for the bride and groom to sit at during their wedding reception. The newlyweds get to sit together while facing their guests and family.

How to Set Up a Sweetheart Table

There are many ways that you can decorate and style your sweetheart table.

Depending on your preferences, you may choose to decorate it with flowers, candles, or other wedding décor items. You could also have it customized with things like embroidery or even family heirlooms.

You should remember that your sweetheart table will appear in most of your wedding photos, so you need to consider its decor wisely.

Consider the background of your sweetheart table so the cameraman can have great shots. You do not want “Bathroom” or “Kitchen” signs or your DJ appearing in the background!

Why Choose a Sweetheart Table?

During your wedding, you will be the center of attention. The two of you will get married, have photoshoots, and interact with friends and family. Everyone will want to talk to you, especially guests who may have flown in from afar.

A sweetheart table will give you a much-needed break and give the two of you some time together. You will also be in a vantage position to see all your guests.

You will also find that you will have an even more memorable moment with your partner during your meal as you talk about your wedding day.

The sweetheart table will also allow your bridal party to sit with their own loved ones at the wedding reception. This way, they won’t feel separated from their loved ones and can enjoy the company of their friends.

Disadvantages of Choosing a Sweetheart Table 

Guests may find it hard to come to mingle with you as they may feel you have isolated yourselves. To remedy this, you may have to eat before or after everyone else and mingle with them as they eat.

You will feel like you are on display while seated at a sweetheart table because the separate table makes it hard to blend into the crowd. This won’t be a problem for couples who love attention, but if you are uncomfortable having all eyes on you at the reception, then a sweetheart table will not be a great choice. 

The Head Table at a Wedding Reception

What Is a Head Table?

This term typically refers to a large table that is placed at the front of the reception hall, near the dance floor. It is where some of the most important people will be seated, including the wedding party and the bride and groom. It may also include some honored guests.

How to Set a Head Table During the Ceremony?

The head table is a long rectangular table typically set such that the bridal party, partners, and spouses sit on only one side. This way, the bride and groom can easily see and be seen by everyone in attendance.

The head table should be set up with enough room for your family and wedding party. This beautiful setting allows you to be with your friends. This arrangement works well if everyone seated at your table is single.

If you decide to include a head table but don’t want the seats only on one side of it, you have a few options. One is to use a head table that is placed in the middle of the room instead of at the front so that guests can see and interact with the bride and groom from all angles.

Another option is to set up your head table as a buffet or food bar. This way, guests can walk up and enjoy a conversation with the bride and groom as they eat.

Who to Seat at Your Head Table?

The bride and groom should be seated at the head of the table, with the wedding party and honored guests sitting around them. You should have guests seated by importance, with higher-ranking guests sitting near the center of the table.

If you do not have assigned seating at your reception, you can choose to have a fun “open” head table where guests are free to sit wherever they like.

With an open head table, make sure that there are enough seats in the room for everyone and your guests will decide where they want to sit. For a formal head table, make sure that a place is set for every guest at your reception.

Wedding dinner table at reception

Why Choose a Head Table

Unlike the sweetheart table, the head table helps you mingle.

You will be in the company of your closest supporters. They will help you wind down from the ceremony and prepare for a fun-filled evening. Your guests will feel close to you, and you will be able to talk and laugh with them.

When you talk and laugh with your guests, they feel part of the celebration, and there won’t be any perceived divide between you and your guests. Your family members will feel honored to sit with you on your wedding day.

Disadvantages of a Head Table

It is hard to include your bridal party’s significant others with this arrangement. The partners of the bridal party may feel alone as they sit away from the head table, especially if they don’t know anyone.

Guests seated at the head table are limited in terms of who they will interact with during the reception meal.

When the wedding has many members, the head table will look too busy and cluttered. This arrangement will also not work well when the families of the bride and the groom are not on good terms.

The younger children in the bridal party may not feel comfortable if their family members are not at the head table. 

In Conclusion

Would you like to be the center of attention? If you love attention and alone time with your partner, a sweetheart table will be the perfect option for the two of you.

However, if you would like your family and the bridal party to feel special, a head table will be the perfect option.

If you work with a wedding planner, they can help you determine which table arrangement would work best for your event. They will listen carefully and provide valuable information about what will work best regarding the space for the wedding venue and what looks good.