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Anatomy of a Table: The Head Table

Updated: Mar 20

By: Covesa Kelly

Hey there!

I thought it would be fun to walk through my thoughts out loud about putting together the landscape of a specialty table for an event. In this scenario I'm using a bridal party table AKA head table. If you don't know, the bridal party table is typically at the front of a wedding reception and it's where the members of the Bridal Party sit during formalities and dinner.

The Bridal Party includes the couple, a maid/matron of honor, best man, bridesmaids and groomsmen. If there are ring bearers and flower girls they typically sit at a guest table near the front of the room not at the bridal party table.

The bridal party table has evolved quite a bit over the last 2 decades. It's not always just several long tables spread out across the front of the room anymore. You may have a sweetheart table for just the couple. You could also have several long tables pushed together in a long, wide table like a King Table where you can sit around the table not just on one side of the table. In some instances couples may skip the bridal party table altogether and choose to have everyone sit at regular guests tables.

Here is our picture:

Long wedding table decorated with place settings, greenery, and candles

This bride chose to have 2 long tables on either side of her small round sweetheart table. We had a total of 16 place settings for this bridal party.

This table can truly be the highlight of a room. If you're working on a limited budget you can indulge on the head table and keep the guest tables simple. When I say indulge this is what I mean:

Fancier Chairs

Floor Length Satin Linen

Gold Shimmer Overlay (Sweetheart & Cake Tables)

Satin Napkins

Gold Glass Charger Plates

Gold Trim Glassware

The chairs were an additional fee to rent and deliver to the facility. The other guests were in the chairs that were offered by the reception facility, so instead of paying for 150 of a "fancier chair" the client only paid for the 16 chairs needed at the bridal party table. We used the same concept for the items listed above. The chairs were $18 per chair, so to rent 16 chairs vs 150 chairs kept the budget in line while at the same time gave the bride a beautiful head table. The additional room in the budget allowed us to bring in other items to offer an extra "sparkle" on the head table. I am a stickler about perfectly sized linens - floor length is the way to go. I also believe that every table needs a table linen and if you want to add an overlay it should go on top of the linen to create a finished look. Napkin folds make a difference! We used a pocket fold in this picture to allow their menu card to fit into the pocket for each guest. Charger Plates are fun when they are nice. I hate the plastic charger plates with the chipped paint (sorry not sorry y'all). Gold trim goblets, I mean... WHY NOT?

Pro Tip: A charger plate is a large, decorative base setting on top of which other dinnerware is placed during formal occasions such as catered events, weddings, upscale parties, banquets, or in fine dining restaurants. Also known as service plates, under plates, or chop plates, charger plates are merely decorative, and are not meant to come in direct contact with food. Charger plates provide an elegant way to serve multiple course meals, where each course is served in its own separate bowl or plate, and placed on top of the charger.

To complete the look we added just a hint of a shrubbery runner on each side of the head table that was coupled with the bridesmaid's bouquets (trying to get the most of the bouquets, because once the ceremony and pictures are over, usually so are the bouquets) and small votive candles. The look was super soft and simplistic but elegant and timeless. When I look at the picture above, it could have been for a wedding this past summer or FOUR SUMMERS AGO (where does the time go)? It's a plus when your wedding decorations don't date your wedding.

If I could change one thing about this table, I would have added gold flatware (forks, spoons and knives).

Drop your questions and comments below!




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