St. Simons Wedding Planner :: Island Destination Weddings | bridal party
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The Trouble with Head Tables

We’ve talked about this before— to have a head table or not to have a head table?

Increasingly we’re finding more couples looking to do head tables, but are amazed at the blow back from either their budget or from family and friends when they make this choice. I’ve seen some mothers insist things like “You two will have the rest of your life to sit alone. You should sit with your friends who paid all that money to be in your wedding.” Point taken.

Just so you know, I’m completely biased. I am Pro-Sweetheart Table.

There is some truth to the mom’s theory– you will have the rest of your life to sit together alone, and there has been a significant investment your family and friends have expended to participate in your wedding.  Yet, sitting down for the first time after being a bundle of nerves, taking a thousand pictures, making it through your ceremony and sitting down and having a moment together is equally, if not more, important. Besides, how close are you going to get to the person sitting at the end of your head table?

8.3.

That’s how many hours your groomsmen’s girlfriend spends alone.

That’s the rehearsal, hanging with the guys, getting ready, pre-wedding photos, post wedding photos, etc.  She’ll spend another hour alone during dinner if she doesn’t really know those  with whom you’ve assigned her to sit.  Likewise your groomsmen may want to get back to their significant other after being primped, prodded and posed all day.  And to be fair, the same can be said about your bridesmaid’s boyfriend!

When couples opt not include their bridal party’s significant others in the head table, either by choice or dictation of the budget, it can create an awkward situation for that person.  After being alone all day, they then have to make forced conversation with, at times, people they don’t know while their better half is put on display.

I also hear some brides say “I don’t want every one staring at me” as a refusal of the sweetheart table– to which I make a note to immediately begin researching a private bunker to hold the wedding ceremony.  You’ve already been on display, everyone has already stared at you– remember that whole walking down the aisle thing?  Standing up in front of everyone trading rings? See…it’s not so bad!  Besides, you can get a quick rest, enjoy a bite to eat with your honey and then go from table to table to speak with guests and avoiding the dreadful, antiquated receiving line.

Okay. Still not convinced?

In addition to the consideration factor, also be mindful of cost and size of a head table.  You may take up precious real estate out of your wedding’s floor plan if you have 5 or more in your bridal party on both sides, plus their significant others.  This means more linens and more tables since you can only sit on one side of the table.  Additionally, you’ll also need more centerpieces/decor to perfect the appearance of the table.  Just remember to allocate for these when doing your floor plan and making your orders.  If you can’t, or choose not to have the significant others sit with you, consider having them all at their own special table.  You can even be super nice by planning an activity for them to do pre-wedding to establish a relationship so that they won’t feel so alone.

Keeping Them Gorgeous

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Your bridesmaids have spent mucho dollars to come to your wedding– the airline tickets, the hotel stay, the gifts, the dress, the hair and makeup, the jewelry….I could go on, but we both know, I don’t have to.  It’s not that often that your gal pals can get together at a gorgeous spot, all decked out and have an awesome photographer to document it all. Arrange with your photographer to snap a few shots of your girls alone and give those pictures to your maids as a gift. If you have an awesome photographer like Scarlett, George, Mark, Jasmine, Chris, or Spencer— these will be ones that they cherish!

But let’s dish first–If you decide to do this, you want to make sure it is something your girls can appreciate and you feel are worth the investment. 

What to consider:

Everyone wants to look good in photos– especially really good photos. If you have hired a stellar photojournalist, this is the next best thing to having a fashion photographer build a portfolio.  So you want to make sure that you are picking something flattering.  Because I love you, I’ll share this with you:

1.) Consider your girlfriends’ coloring when selecting their dress color— some colors don’t look good on fair girlfriends, other colors make our olive and sepia toned girlfriends look sallow.  Remember, you can pull a Jenna Bush, and have each girl wear a varying shades of a color. This adds dimension and style. Just please don’t copy Barbara’s wreath. 

2.)  Consider your girlfriends’ shape when selecting their dress— this is so crucial.  I have seen weddings where the bride chose a nice merlot colored strapless number that was probably gorgeous on the model, but "notsomuch" in real life.  What did it was that the bride had girlfriends in varying shapes and sizes; some were a size 0, some were a size twenty.  As a former well endowed woman, strapless dresses can make even the most demure damsel curse like a sailor, and at times, depending on the cut of the dress, it just doesn’t look flattering.   Again, find a dress that will flatter all shapes, or really– don’t be afraid to give your event some personality.  Let each bridesmaid choose their own dress (or you could pick for them).  You want them to feel and look like rockstars, not miserable clones.

PSA:  You shouldn’t discount anyone that you love from being in your bridal party based on size or coloring.  These are people, not Barbie and Midge.  But you’re not that petty. That was for those "other" brides.  Moving on…

3.)  Consider the shoes— If you have shorter girlfriends, avoid putting them in shoes the same color as their dress. This immediately shortens the leg.  Choose a nude or clear shoe to elongate the leg.  Make sure they are a comfortable height and design. 

4.)  Hair and Makeup– I have seen some bridesmaids have an actual wedding uniform. All of the women in the bridal party that had to have the same hair, nails, makeup, dress, jewelry and shoes. That’s taking it to an extreme that could quite possibly leave you friendless at the stroke of midnight on your wedding.  It’s not fun to have your personality and style taken away from you– but most friends will do it because they love you and it’s your day. 

Ok, here are some tips you might want to pass along to your girls to help them prepare for their "shoot". Remember, they won’t have a lot of time, but if you set this up with your photographer ahead of time, it should go smoothly (provided you get started a little earlier and can go right into your pre-wedding shots).  They will love you and thank you for it!

{Photo: Source}