Wedding party head table- do we have to invite their dates to sit with us?

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BrookeMeredith Posts : 1 Registered: 3/19/07
Wedding party head table- do we have to invite their dates to sit with us?
Posted: Apr 30, 2010 1:06 PM

So at our reception, we would like a head table of just the wedding party sitting together so we can sit with out best friends:) However a couple of the people from our wedding party are bringing a long term girlfriend/boyfriend. Do we have to have their dates sit with us at the head table too? Our wedding party is 10 people so including us that makes it 12. If we invite their dates to sit there too, thats 14 and would be way too crowded. So what do we do for seating of their dates???

Thank you for your input!


MsDenuninani Posts : 3,962 Registered: 3/16/07
Re: Wedding party head table- do we have to invite their dates to sit with us?
Posted: Apr 30, 2010 1:29 PM Go to message in response to: BrookeMeredith

No, you don't have to, but virtually every time I've been the guest of someone in the wedding party, I've dreaded not sitting with them during the reception. Luckily, I've never been asked to.

Often that's the only person the guest knows, and she/he will feel awkward not sitting with their significant other. Additionally, the members of your wedding party have done a lot for you -- you should show them you appreciate it by allowing them to sit next to their girlfriends/boyfriends.

You mentioned you wanted to sit with all of your friends. Well, if your wedding is anything like the ones I've been to (including my own) you won't really be sitting with them anyway. You'll probably have a small time to actually eat, and the rest will be up and about, chatting with your guests or dancing.

So I suggest you let them sit next to eachother. But no, you don't have to.


"I'd hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, or insanity, but they've always worked for me." Hunter S. Thompson


myras Posts : 396 Registered: 2/26/10
Re: Wedding party head table- do we have to invite their dates to sit with us?
Posted: Apr 30, 2010 2:50 PM Go to message in response to: BrookeMeredith

As Ms. D say, you probably will not be sitting very much anyway. You don't "have to" do anything--you don't even "have to" have a head table. In fact, the only thing you "have to" do is to be a gracious host. So, think about it. What will make your guests the happiest campers they can be? Probably, sitting with their dates. So, if you put others' happiness first, then the answer is, yes, seat them with their dates. If that means considering a different seating arrangement, so be it. Perhaps you'll have a smaller table, for just the two of you and your closest honor attendants. Seat the rest of your party at another table or two near you. Or, sit with your families, if you enjoy being with them, and mix your wedding party in with other guests. Or have a sweetheart table for the two of you but, again, very close to your wedding party. In any case, you'll be up mingling, dancing, etc. In the end, it won't matter to you with whom you sit, but it will matter to your guests if they're isolated from their dates.


MrsCP3 Posts : 456 Registered: 4/21/08
Re: Wedding party head table- do we have to invite their dates to sit with us?
Posted: Apr 30, 2010 3:56 PM Go to message in response to: BrookeMeredith

I'd also like to point out, that the difference betwen 12 and 14 people is not that large. It would be completely different if all 10 people had dates, but since it's only 2, is it really that big of a deal?

Also, I am always in favor of WP members being able to sit with their dates. Put yourself in their shoes; how would you feel if you were in a wedding but couldn't sit with your FH? Or worse, if your FH was in a wedding where you didn't know anyone and you had to find somewhere to sit without him?

Lastly, we had a sweetheart table. We sat at it for maybe 10 minutes total, including when the other person was dancing with their parent (so we sat there about 5 minutes at the same time. Honestly.) Since you will be seated for much less time than your guests, it just makes sense to me that you would cater to them rather than yourself in that situation.

Just my two cents, hope it helps!





alymar Posts : 100 Registered: 3/2/10
Re: Wedding party head table- do we have to invite their dates to sit with us?
Posted: Apr 30, 2010 6:23 PM Go to message in response to: BrookeMeredith

I just went to a wedding a guest of the wedding party. I sat at a table with some of the family members and the guests/dates/wives of some of the other wedding party. If you are going to be designating where people sit - I would sit the dates or spouses together of the people in the wedding party. This will enable them to have someone to sit with who is in simiular circumstances. Maybe place the table near the head table so they can at least be able to make contact with their SOs. After the dinner was over - our SOs came at sat with us afterwards while we danced and had dessert.

But no you don't have to sit them at the head table.
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CatStandish Posts : 2,766 Registered: 6/20/08
Re: Wedding party head table- do we have to invite their dates to sit with us?
Posted: Apr 30, 2010 7:33 PM Go to message in response to: alymar

We actually had to do a lot of shuffing for our head table, and I would not have it any other way.

There were two members of the party with spouses who were guests:

1. My Flamebearer. Her husband is very shy. He is so shy, in fact, that she had told me he would not be coming to the wedding, but we sent the invite anyway to both of them. Before she sent in her formal RSVP, he asked "would they mind if I changed my mind and came?" She called me. Keep in mind, she had not sent in a formal RSVP and I had invited both of them, but she still felt she needed to okay it before letting him come. I told her OF COURSE he can come. We were both shocked. ANd I also told her right then to let him know he would be sitting at the head table with her...and I let her know that if he was uncomfortable with sitting at the head table, I'd sit her elsewhere....and it would not be because I didn't want her there. I was trying to make both of them more comfortable. We were surprised because he IS so very shy. He knew probably three people there (you, DH, and his own wife). Asking an extremely shy person to sit with people he doesn't know, especially when he had already done something we didn't expect him to do, is just not nice. He was honored we'd let him sit with us at the head table, and also rather glad--because he would have been very uncomfortable alone.

2. Best man. Now... the original plan (and the wedding party at the time I told Holly that her hubs would be sitting with us) was very different. Originally, we had a bridesmaid, a best man, a groomsman and a groomswoman from Vegas. These folks were couples, so they'd be together at the head table -- unfortunately, a month before our wedding ALL of them had to drop out. This was DH's entire wedding party. We could not fault them. All of them were working two or three part time jobs just to make rent, and with the economy there, they were frequently being laid off from jobs at random. Two of them actually were told they could take vacation to do the wedding, but would be laid off if they did. Naturally, we told them to stay there! This meant, however, that DH had NO ONE to stand by him. So we did something that you are always being told not to do... we replaced them. We replaced them with people who we had already asked to do things for our wedding (reading, singing) because we had wanted them in the wedding but didn't want the is wedding party to get out of control either. The best man was DH's brother. He's married.

This is where we had the dilemna. We could ask SIL to sit with us...because afterally, Holly's hubby was up there. And we actually had to have her there because Holly's hubby was there. Like I'm going to snub my SIL the minute I get a Sister? H to the Double L no! (I have no siblings)

BUT... MIL was also there and the only family she had at the wedding (due to economy and other circumstances) was.... Best Man, SIL, and DH. So...I'm to leave the MIL sitting with my parents by herself? She's only in town for the wedding.....came in Friday night, leaving Sunday morning. These also happen to be the two of her children who do not live within driving distance. I can't ask her to sit apart from BOTH of them.

here's now the problem....MIL is at the head table. So, obviously MOB and FOB need to be added, right? Can't. I've got an aunt and uncle in town, and only people they know there are me, my mom and my adding my mom and my dad to the HT means adding an aunt and an uncle.

I knew what I wanted to do...but doing this without my mother's input was not an option. So I called her and started telling her what was going on at the head table. Her response, before I even laid it all out was "you've got to put MIL up there." I said "I know...but what about you?" Then she was like "yeah, but you add us, you've got to add aunt and uncle. We'll be fine. "

I told her that was what I had wanted to do...but that I could NOT and WOULD not do it without going over it with her because she might have had another solution. Had that not panned out, I was going to do a sweetheart table and parse everyone out around the room so that there were wedding party members at every table (the wedding party didn't know each other).

The point should do what is going to make your guests comfortable. Adding two to the head table is nothing. Do you HAVE to add them? No. Would you be a gracious hostess if you did? Yes.

yes, this is your day...and it is also a day where you can shine as a gracious person who has done everything to make sure her guests enjoy the party as much as you do. Did I have the most expensive wedding? No. But my guests each felt very much appreciated. We went out of our way to accomodate our guests...afterall, they went out of their way to spend our special day with us. (They got dressed up and drove out in the pouring rain to witness our wedding....and the only RSVPs who didn't come, despite the awful awful weather, were either sick with swine flue or at their dying mother's hospital bed.)



ArtBride Posts : 4,838 Registered: 5/9/07
Re: Wedding party head table- do we have to invite their dates to sit with us?
Posted: Apr 30, 2010 7:35 PM Go to message in response to: BrookeMeredith

You're only talking about a difference of 2 people. In that case, it seems pointless to seat the guests separately. Two people really don't make much of a difference at a table, especially when it's a long table rather than a round one.

Personally, I hate sitting separately from DH when one of us is in a WP. Even if I know tons of other people at the reception, it's hard not to feel like a 3rd wheel, as everybody else is coupled up. And when I'm the one in the WP and DH is sitting somewhere else, I'm constantly worrying whether he's having a good time or whether he ended up sitting with weirdos. Couples, including people in the WP, enjoy themselves more at weddings if they can spend time together.

There are plenty of options other than a traditional head table with dates seated separately:
1) Sit alone at a sweetheart table.
2) Sit with your MOH and BM (and their SOs). Other WP members would be seated at separate tables with their SOs.
3) Sit with your parents.
4) As you suggested, seat the SOs at the head table. In your case, this should work out well, since you're only talking about two people.

If you decide to seat the dates separately, try to seat them with others that they know. If they don't know anybody else at the wedding, try to seat them with people with whom they'd have something in common. It would also be nice if you could enlist a couple chatty guests to befriend them, so they don't feel awkward (especially during the cocktail hour, which is the most awkward part of being at a wedding alone!) At our wedding, I had one friend attending who didn't know anyone else. She did bring a date (which helped with the awkwardness, I'm sure), but I still wanted her to be comfortable and to have a good time, so I seated her with some other friends with similar interests - and I asked a couple of those friends to chat with her and her date. They all ended up having a great time and making new friends. I've also become friends with people I've met at weddings. If I see someone standing alone and looking awkward, I'll chat with him/her and invite them to join my group, if I'm with friends.

For our wedding, we had a traditional head table. I did not want to do it that way (as I mentioned, I don't like being seated separately at weddings and didn't want to subjugate our close friends to that), but DH really wanted to do it that way. It was one of his only requests for the wedding and (for some reason) very important to him, so I conceded and tried to make the best of it. On my side of the WP, we only had one SO. My MOH was my then-15 year old sis, who did not have a boyfriend. Two of my other BMs were single at the time. The other brought her now-husband (can't remember whether they were dating or engaged at the time), but he knew everyone in our mutual group of friends, so where to seat him was a no-brainer. On DH's side, the BM did not bring his wife (that really bothered me, as I was her MOH and DH was his BM, and we took a week off for their wedding. But whatever.) If she had attended, I would have seated her with her ILs, who were also invited. GM #2 was single. GM #3 brought his they're-not-legally-married-and-never-intend-to-but-might-as-well-be girlfriend. They were also part of a group of friends who were invited, so we seated her with the rest of the group. I don't think either SO thought anything of it, as they were both seated with groups of people that they knew well. Not my ideal solution, but as I said, DH really wanted a head table with only WP, so I made the best of it.

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