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Wedding Etiquette: Reception Seating Arrangements for the Bridal Party

There are more wedding traditions probably than for any other event in life and etiquette is a big part of traditions. Etiquette is a way of showing recognition and respect to someone. From the wedding ring ceremony to the reception, these are the details that make a world of difference in the total experience.

When it comes to the seating arrangements at a wedding reception showing recognition and respect can be challenging. Wedding stories abound relating tales of horror resulting from being seated next to a person that they had nothing in common with. Especially for the bridal party or head table, care must be given to the personalities of all involved. This table is the focal point for all of the guests and determines how their tables are positioned. Think about the following points of consideration regarding your head table. When you start planning the goal is to organize a seating plan that works for everyone.

The size of the bridal party is the first consideration; how many people including the bride and groom will be seated at this table? Traditionally, only the members of the bridal party are seated at the head table, although recently the significant others of members in the bridal party have been seated with them. If your bridal party is small, for example only a maid of honor and a best man this would not cause a problem. However if your bridal party is large then the seating at your head table could extend the size and create confusion.

The other tradition regarding the head table is that all of the brides party sits to her side and the groomsmen to the side of the groom. Alternate seating is to have a bridesmaid seated next to a groomsmen. The key to making the seating arrangements of the bridal table work is to be sure that there are no personality clashes. Just like the maid/matron of honor and the best man, bridesmaids and groomsmen play an important role in the wedding and it's a great idea to choose your attendants with their comfort in mind. Give them an opportunity to meet early in the wedding planning process.

Decorating the head table is also important; you want to accent the location of the table without making it difficult to move around or overcrowd the area. If you decide on hanging decorations such as balloons, be sure that they are anchored well above head level to avoid problems.

Although table centerpieces are beautiful, keep in low in height so that the view of the bridal party isn't obscured. It's also a good idea to have this table elevated to make it easier for your photographer as well as many of your guests to take photographs. You should also talk to your photographer about the lighting for the head table for perfect pictures.

Should children be seated at the head table. In most cases, this is appropriate if the parents were also a part of the bridal party, otherwise they are seated at their parent's table.  After the head table size and seating arrangements are completed, the tables for the families of the newlyweds are placed in a prominent position. This makes it much easier to arrange for the toasts and speeches that make wedding receptions special.