The bride and groom hold the two most important seats at the reception. Their table should be easily seen from anywhere in the room so all the guests can be witness to their expressions of happiness. The following diagrams offer suggestions for seating attendants and family members.
The traditional "sweetheart" table-for-two can make a couple feel isolated and self-conscious. For a modern, equally fair-handed approach, seat yourselves with just your honor attendants and their dates, says Carol Marino of A Perfect Wedding in Fairfax, Virginia. Or have places set at several tables -- perhaps the parents' and the bridal party's -- and sit at a different one for each course. "If you're going to choose this musical-tables approach, the key is for the bride and groom to stay together," Marino says. A potential drawback: Guests seated at those tables will have to talk around the two empty places when the two of you are not there.
This seating arrangement allows the closest relatives and friends of the bride and groom to join them at one table. The wedding party is represented by the best man and the maid or matron of honor. Traditionally, the male-female pattern continues around the entire table.
3. Honor Attendant
5. Groom's Mother
6. Bride's Father
7. Officiant's Spouse
8. Groom's Father
9. Bride's Mother
12. Best Man
If the table is round, the bride and groom should still face the room. The best man is seated to the right of the bride; the maid or matron of honor sits to the groom's left. The remainder of the wedding party is seated outward from the bride and groom, alternating groomsmen and bridesmaids.
Traditionally, the table for the wedding party is rectangular, with seating on one side only, facing out, so the guests can see the couple easily; often the table will be on a dais. The table should be centrally located, and flower arrangements should be kept low so as not to obstruct anyone's view.
3. Best Man
6. Honor Attendant
At the most traditional hosts' table, the bride's mother sits in the center facing out, where she can keep close watch on the party; the bride's father sits directly across from her, and the groom's father sits on her right. The officiant may be seated to the left of the bride's mother. The groom's mother traditionally sits to the right of the bride's father, with the officiant's spouse to his left.
2. Groom's Mother
3. Bride's Father
4. Officiant's Spouse
5. Groom's Father
6. Bride's Mother
It's perfectly fine to divide your attendants between two or three tables. If you'd prefer not to, one time-honored custom is to set up a long, rectangular or U-shaped table at the front of the room; everyone sits facing outward. You and your groom should be at the center, with you at his right. The best man is to the bride's right, the maid of honor to the groom's left. The remaining attendants and bridesmaids extend out from there in a boy-girl-boy-girl pattern. Don't forget to include your bridal party's guests. "Your attendants have done a lot for you. Let them sit with their dates," says Liz Seccuro of Dolce Parties in New York City.
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