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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.

Get the Party Started with Table Topics

Questions for conversations from Table Topics

 

 

Whenever we meet with clients and we ask what is one of the most important things for you for your wedding, a majority of all our couples say “That our guests have a good time”.  This can be some what tedious when you have a large number of guests from different areas, backgrounds and periods of your lives.  Enter Table Topics.

Table Topics allows your guests to start conversations with cleverly crafted questions from the table topics cubes.  Ranging in many topics including decades, dinner party, and even a gourmet and more, your guests will meet and get to know each other in a comfortable way.  The cards are also available en Espanol.  The small chic cubes includes 135 cards in swanky designs—which could be used on your cocktail tables during your cocktail hour to encourage your guests to open up. 

 

party topics place cards converastion starters get guests talking at wedding

 

If you would like to carry the party on to dinner, opt for these place cards (which could also serve as escort cards)!

Overheard At Your Wedding “I Hate the Head Table”

 

 

It doesn’t matter how gorgeous your head table or wedding is, as seen above, you risk isolating many of your guests and close friends by obligating them to a head table.  I am so happy when I see couples opt out of the antiquated tradition, and look to sweetheart tables instead.  At a recent wedding,  I was pulled aside by a guest who asked to speak with me about the seating arrangements.  The first words out of her mouth were, “I hate the head table”.  As we talked more, I learned that she was the fiancée of one of the groomsmen, and she was seated at a table far from him with a group of gentleman that she didn’t know. “It was so uncomfortable”, she said.  “They all knew each other, but I knew no one there”.  Her fiancé later joined the conversation and agreed that he, too, felt bad that she was alone and he couldn’t be with her.  I was given specific instructions to tell all my brides to “ditch the head table”. 

No one likes to fee that way—isolated, uncomfortable and far from those that you have a connection with or know.  This is what you risk doing with a head table, as well as a “bridesmaids’/groomsmen’s” table.  Your bridal party will have been together all day with getting dressed, as well as extended pictures before and after the ceremony.  Is there really need to have them away from their significant others an additional hour during dinner?

Of course, ultimately my suggestion would be to avoid the head table altogether and have a gorgeous sweetheart table that you can embellish and adorn for you and your new Mr.  Just like your bridal party needs this time to “come down” and reunite with their wives, husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends and children—you will need this time, too.  The rest of your evening, albeit fun, will be filled with structure and activities.  Having a semi-intimate dinner with your new spouse will allow you a private moment to take it all in and slow down to get a bite to eat.

If you are absolutely dead-set on having a head table, then you need to include the significant others of the bridal party at the table. This, in turn will make your head table larger and possibly distort your optimal design for your reception.  You could opt for separate bridesmaids?? and groomsmen’s tables, but again—be sure to include their significant others. 

 

Remember, your wedding is a celebration of your day, but should not be a sore note for your guests and bridal party.

 

Photo :: Michael Steighner

How Much Alcohol Do You Need for Your Wedding?

My answer: Lots.

The truth:  It depends.

 

image

Real Simple has developed a wonderful online wine and liquor calculator for your wedding to help you figure out how much alcohol you should buy for your wedding.  By selecting choices that pertain to your wedding such as full bar or wine, beer and champagne only, the calculator will help you determine how many bottles you should purchase.  These numbers will vary depending on your number of guests as well as the time of day of your reception. 

Look at some of my favorite signature drinks or these Southern Cocktails as you make your decision for your bar. 

We Likey: Canditto

It is no secret that I am a geek. I love gadgets—I just can’t help it.  When I was introduced to Canditto, I was super excited for brides who wanted to get the best, fun and candid moments from their wedding.

So what exactly is Canditto?  Well it is no secret that with the influx of digital cameras (whether they are point and shoots or SLRs), your guests will be on the prowl getting shots of them with you, of you, or of other moments that you may not see through out the course of your day.  While your fabulous wedding photographer (because I know you have chosen a fabulous wedding photographer after taking my impeccable advice) will document your day from their eyes, you also want to see what it is like from the eyes of family and friends.  So now you can see the pictures of your college roommates reuniting and laughing over dinner or your grandmother lovingly holding a newborn family member moments before the prelude.

 

 

Simply plug Canditto into an outlet in a convenient area during your reception, and your guests can slip in their media cards from their digital cameras to download their images of your wedding for you to retrieve later.  You will receive two thumb drives to download all of the images.  What’s great is that Canditto will only download copies of your guests’ cards from the last 8 hours, to ensure that you get the pictures you want. So no more digital cameras on tables with the hopes of catching great pictures.  Speaking of which…

 

Canditto is now having  a fabulous program:  if you bought disposable cameras (see these many reasons as to why disposable cameras will not do your wedding any justice) for your wedding to collect your guests’ pictures, Canditto will buy them back from you when you use their machine and apply it to your rental!

Overheard at Your Wedding: “I’m Starving”

So not cool.

 

 

Not sure if you know this or not—or read it one of the three thousand wedding glossies you’ve bought, but I’m your girl. You know I’ll tell you.

 

People come to weddings to eat.

 

They get your invitation, skip right to the RSVP and begin salivating at all of the wonderful things they will taste and experience at your wedding (and expense). Don’t worry, they’re excited about seeing you, too.  Who wouldn’t be? The perk is definitely the succulent food you will grace them with during your reception.

 

So, imagine their surprise when they arrive at 6 p.m. to your cocktail hour to be greeted with a cheese and cracker tray and ornate display of strawberries resting in a well-carved watermelon.  No worries, they think—you are just cleansing the palate before the true feast begins.  Lo and behold, they arrive to “dinner” which is either stations of hors d’oeuvres for six year olds or a plated meal with such scant portions that only a butterfly could be satisfied with.

 

They start to get antsy.  They start to get bored.  They start to drink more.  Dinner started at 7 p.m.  At 7:03 they are ready to go.

 

Now, don’t get mad at me.  If that is all you can afford, then that’s okay.  What is not okay is not planning accordingly or letting your guests know ahead of time so that they can make adequate arrangements for food prior to the wedding.  Here are some helpful tips to spearhead the thundering stampede of guests leaving during your cake cutting to graze on the lawn of the reception venue:

  • If you have limited funds, as always—consider lowering your guest count.  You can do more for less, than vice versa.
  • If you choose to keep your large number of guests, consider having a brunch or tea reception with a limited menu.  Of course, you could also have a late evening wedding, with your ceremony beginning at 7:00 or 8:00 in the evening and an even later reception.  At this late hour, your guests won’t be expecting a heavy meal.  In this instance, you could get away with a heavy hors d’oeuvres menu.
  • Be sure to spread the news on your wedding website, and if necessary and/or appropriate on your reception cards. You can never give your guests too much information.  Far better to let them know in advance than to hear them (and their stomachs) grumbling about how they wished they had known about the food.
  • Another reason why a lot of guests walk away hungry is that they feel the menu is too exotic or something they just won’t eat.  While at your tasting, remember, you are accommodating a large guest list, not just you and your future spouse.  Uncle Bob may love foie gras all day long, but Aunt Millie would refuse to eat it.  Try to find a common ground.  The same thing can be said for wedding cake; choose a basic failsafe flavor options that will ensure you don’t have an entire cake left behind.

 

 

Photo :: Source

Odd Man Out: Inviting Guests to Your Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

Going to weddings can be a lot of fun for people.  For others– not so much.  Why do you think that is?  Well, if you are the significant other or spouse of a member in the bridal party or a guest, chances are you’re in unchartered territory.  New town.  New people.  Lots of Travel.  It’s always nice for the bride and groom to extend invitations to the SO’s of the bridal party for events that include the bridal party.

For example, if you’re having a rehearsal dinner, make sure you invite your Maid of Honor’s boyfriend or fiance…especially if they have flown in to spend this time with you.  Nothing is worse than hearing “Hey honey, I have to go to the rehearsal and then to the party afterwards. You stay here in the hotel room”.

Yep, kinda awkward.

If you cannot afford to invite significant others to the rehearsal dinner– then seriously reconsider the type  of rehearsal dinner you want to have.   And definitely don’t make the mistake of allowing one and not the other.  If you aren’t hosting the rehearsal dinner, talk to the person who is.  You can either pad the budget or assume the event yourself.  Besides, do you really want to risk slighting those friends and family who have agreed to stand up with you and have shown their support both financially and emotionally?  It could make for awkward or even ill-feelings the next day, which should be the most important and stress free day of your life!

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