Sweetheart Table vs. Head Table... say what?

A sweetheart vs. head table… what gives!?  Seating arrangements are a drag most of the time, so when it came to making a decision on where my husband and I sat at our reception, I was clueless!  I honestly didn’t think it mattered all that much, so when I relied on my wedding venue to tell me what was best, they basically did what was best for them (which kinda stinks!).  Well, fret no more, I’m here to give you the skinny on the two options so you can make a decision based on what matters to YOU!   head table vs sweetheart table

First, let’s break down each option with a little description.

Sweetheart Table: A small table setup exclusively for the two of you.

head table vs sweetheart table

Head Table:  You’re setup at a long table with your husband and your whole wedding party.  

head table vs sweetheart table

Sounds simple right?  Ugh, if only that were the case!  The sweetheart table has grown in popularity over the years and is something that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.  It’s what my venue sold to me as a bride on my wedding day and what many of my couples choose to do.  They can be adorable and sweet, but I have to admit that I would not choose this option again if I got married all over again.  Let’s break down some pros and cons of each!  

Sweetheart Table

Pros:  Your venue or caterer can serve the two of you first and not worry about having an entire head table of meals served together.

Cons:  You’re missing out on on enjoying your wedding day with your dearest friends.  It’s a little secluding, honestly!  Also keep in mind that during the Mother/Son dance, you'll be sitting alone.  People will tell you that having a sweetheart day is a little more intimate and allows you alone time with your husband throughout dinner.  The exact opposite happened for me… people kept coming up to us to ‘congratulate’ us when we were trying to eat!  

head table vs sweetheart table

Head Table

Pros:  You have your people next to you.  You can laugh and cry with not only your husband but your closest girls during the toasts.  You have your bff next to you to tell you there’s a giant chunk of arugula in your teeth.  

Cons:  Umm… are there any?  Ok, yes there are.  Anyone in your wedding party that is married or in a relationship, would not be sitting with their spouse or significant other unless they are also in the wedding party.  This sometimes creates tricky seating arrangements if they don’t know other people in attendance at the wedding.  But meeting new people is kinda fun, right?

head table vs sweetheart table

Of course I have photographed some perfectly lovely sweetheart tables, but I must say that I personally feel that selecting a sweetheart table for my own wedding was a mistake.  I would’ve loved to be spending dinner surrounded by my favorite people… and guess what?!  The last time we actually had dinner with some of those friends was at our rehearsal dinner five years ago, which is a little sad to be perfectly honest.  Life happens after your wedding day and families happen and kids happen and it can get… busy.  But do you know how many times I have had dinner alone with my husband?  I can’t even count them- so many! What are my thoughts as a photographer?  I love the dimension and mood created at a head table.  I can typically easily get great shots of both the speaker and the bride/groom, and also focus on getting shots of family members expressions or other members of the wedding party.  Obviously you know that I’m a big partial to the head table decision, but of course I have seen some amazing sweetheart tables too!  Sweetheart tables can be a lot of fun to decorate with some special touches and add to the details of your day, so I’m by no means telling you to not have one.  I do think that where you sit on your wedding day should be a decision that you take into consideration carefully and plan based on what works for you (which might not be what works for me… and that’s okay).  Hey, you’ve made it this far… go get that seating chart started!  

Some good examples of each, so you can make your own decision!  

Sweetheart Table Examples

head table vs sweetheart table

head table vs sweetheart table


head table vs sweetheart table

head table vs sweetheart tableHaubert_10-29-16-3386NDP_4704


head table vs sweetheart table

Head Table Examples

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Did you decide on a sweetheart table or a head table on your wedding day?  Are you happy with your decision or do you wish you would've chosen something different?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments!  As always, if you're currently planning your dream wedding and want to hear more about Nicole DuMond Photography, be sure to submit the contact form - I can't wait to hear your story!


Nicole DuMond is a wedding and portrait photographer based in the rolling hills of Stillwater, Pennsylvania and serving the surrounding areas of Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania, including the Poconos, Lehigh Valley, and Philadelphia areas.  Nicole is also available for limited travel along the East Coast & Worldwide.  For more wedding tips, be sure to follow Nicole DuMond Photography on Facebook: www.facebook.com/nicolemichelledumond


View more weddings by Nicole DuMond: http://www.nicoledumondphotography.com/category/weddings/