Etiquette

Miss Manners - sweetheart table

So this was in Miss Manners today. I found it interesting because it's a bit cryptic, but by my reading, she does not like them and finds them rude. Thoughts/discussion?

DEAR MISS MANNERS: What do you think of the recent practice at wedding receptions for the bride and groom to sit at a small table on their own? Are they afraid of infecting others with their joy?

GENTLE READER: Or are they planning to enjoy a more expensive wine than they are serving to their guests?

http://www.uexpress.com/miss-manners/2017/10/30/avoid-surprising-roommates-with-guests


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Re: Miss Manners - sweetheart table

  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana
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    When I first heard of them (when planning DD's wedding) I didn't like the idea. Now, I do understand the idea of not having the WP sit with the couple and allowing the WP to sit with their friends and SOs. Depending on how the couple handles being at a sweetheart table, I guess it could seem exclusive. However, DD and SIL ( along with others I have witnessed) haven't really stayed at their tables but rather get up and mingle with their guests.
    MesmrEwe
  • Ro041Ro041
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    Under that logic, wouldn't every seating arrangement be considered exclusive?  Those terrible head tables are usually designed to look like a king and queen addressing their public.  Or if they just sit at a table with a select few people, they are choosing those guests as more important than other guests.  

    JediElizabethahoyweddingSP29
  • So how can you not have either a sweetheart table or a head table? My FI and I thought about sitting with his Best man & date and my MOH and date but I decided against having a MOH, as I only have two people in my bridal party. I can't sit w/one and not the other, right? If we included our entire wedding party + dates, it would end up being a 20 person table.
  • cupcait927cupcait927 Western NY wine country
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    How silly. You could use that argument for pretty much any seating arrangement with the married couple. "Well, they're sitting with their bridal party, maybe they're all getting better wine." "Oh, they're sitting with their parents, maybe they're all getting better entrees." 

    I agree that the sweetheart table most likely started as a way to avoid conflict. it's a win-win in my book. Let your bridal party sit with their dates, let your parents sit with whomever they like. And you get to eat a quick dinner with your spouse, because the rest of the day is pretty crazy. 

    Also, jesus, can we just finally get away with saying "bride and groom"? It's not always just a bride and groom anymore! What about a bride and a bride, or a groom and a groom? Damn. 
    The bolded is why we had a sweetheart table. We had no bridal party and a sweetheart table was the only way that we could avoid conflict. We would've either sat with only his family or only my family due to the table set up and that would've caused hurt feelings. It was also SO nice to be able to have 10-15 minutes to spend just with my H while we ate.
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    charlotte989875ahoywedding
  • I think as long as you're not setting up a sweetheart table away from all the guests, who cares?   Does Miss Manners think that the happy couple should sit in a circle with all guests?   It's not computing.

    We sat at a sweetheart table with our bridal party on each side and those tables were in the middle of the rest of our reception seating.  
  • We ended up having a sweetheart table and it was actually pushed on us by majority of WP! We were fine with having whole party at one long table, but they suggested going sweetheart suggestion because they all felt it would be nice for us to have "us" time. At the moment of suggestion, I scoffed at "uh hi we just got married, why wouldn't we have 'us' time?" {ohhhh how wrong I was!}

    In the end it was perfect, because we had private chit chat - "what'd you do when the power went out?" "you look great" "wow everyone we care about in one room" etc - and 'us' time lol
    <iframe width="350" height="240" src="https://w2.countingdownto.com/1982415" frameborder="0"></iframe>
    short+sassy
  • I saw that letter also and side-eyed Miss Manners answer.  I was thinking, "Yes, Miss Manners, it is rude to have different/better wine and entrees for the wedding couple.  Aaannnddd what does that have to do with a sweetheart table?"

    I read the letter on the Uxpress website, where people can also comment on letters.  There were a lot of posts mirroring what we are saying here. 

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    PrettyGirlLost
  • lovesclimbinglovesclimbing Alaska
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    Someone should write in and ask what seating arrangement she things is correct!

    southernbelle0915MissKittyDanger
  • ellamber said:
    So how can you not have either a sweetheart table or a head table? My FI and I thought about sitting with his Best man & date and my MOH and date but I decided against having a MOH, as I only have two people in my bridal party. I can't sit w/one and not the other, right? If we included our entire wedding party + dates, it would end up being a 20 person table.

    **stuck in box**

    I've seen couples sit with their parents or some of the bridal party + dates, usually MOH / Best Man and their dates or more depending on how many people the table sits. 
    image
  • edited November 2
    Someone should write in and ask what seating arrangement she things is correct!
    This is what I'm wondering too.

    To my knowledge, Miss Manners never took a hard line on head tables being against etiquette or that the presence of a head table implied that better food/drink was being served there. Her response seems moody and off here.
    *********************************************************************************

    image
    short+sassy
  • Someone should write in and ask what seating arrangement she things is correct!
    This is what I'm wondering too.

    To my knowledge, Miss Manners never took a hard line on head tables being against etiquette or that the presence of a head table implied that better food/drink was being served there. Her response seems moody and off here.
    I wonder if her only experience is some small table that looks exclusive and off to the side?  I agree it's not making a lot of sense. 
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest
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    edited November 3
    ellamber said:
    So how can you not have either a sweetheart table or a head table? My FI and I thought about sitting with his Best man & date and my MOH and date but I decided against having a MOH, as I only have two people in my bridal party. I can't sit w/one and not the other, right? If we included our entire wedding party + dates, it would end up being a 20 person table.

    We didn't have either. All of our tables were the round 8-10 tops, and we just sat with our siblings and their SOs at a regular table among the other tables. We chose this mostly because we didn't want to be on display at a sweetheart table, and head tables just extend the discomfort of being on display to more people. But there's nothing wrong IMO with a sweetheart table if the couple are comfortable with it, are greeting their guests, etc.

    Anniversary

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    edited November 3
    Had my ex and I married, I would not have wanted our parents to sit together with us because they would barely know each other (they never met while we were seeing each other because they live 1600 miles apart and neither set could travel for health reasons) and based on their personalities would have little in common. While they would have have been polite to each other, I think they would have been stiff and awkward together. Putting them at the same table would have led to very little truly enjoyable conversation for all. It would have been easiest to just let each set of parents host tables of their own family and friends while we had a table to ourselves. We still would have greeted all our guests, either in a receiving line or going from table to table.

    I don't think sweetheart tables are rude and Miss Manners' snarky attitude was unhelpful and unnecessary. I usually agree with her but not about this.
    short+sassy
  • SP29SP29
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    Weird answer.

    I've never thought that about a sweetheart table. I think they are nice to allow the WP to sit together with their SOs (which can also be done with a head table, but that could be very large), or split up the WP to sit with the people they know.

    When I have seen a sweetheart table, the table is close to the rest, so it's not like they are hiding anything. And the couple is often up visiting at other tables.

    We had a head table with SOs. Personally I am a fan of the Kings Table and wanted to do that for our wedding, but we couldn't figure out a way to set up all of the tables while also keeping them off the dance floor (I dislike when tables are set up on the dance floor and are required to be moved or removed for the dance). Our venue space was essentially designed to have a head table.
    short+sassy
  • I went to a wedding once where the bride and groom sat at a small table in a completely different room from the rest of us. THAT was rude. But a sweetheart table? I don't get what the issue is.  
    image
    short+sassySP29
  • I don't like sweetheart tables. I just think it's so odd to invite guests and then choose not to sit with ANY of them. Like most things wedding-related, I picture how this would look if it was in any other situation. Sometimes at big family dinner parties we'll have multiple tables set up, since everyone doesn't fit at one table. But I can't imagine inviting people over for dinner, and seating them all at one table, and me and my husband sitting at a separate table from them. 

    At my wedding, most of the tables were for 8, but we got a bigger size round table to comfortable fit 10, so we could have us and then each have 2 couples sit with us. We didn't have a formal bridal party, so we just picked 2 close friends each that knew each other, so they could talk to each other even if we had to get up and do stuff. Our families were at other tables. 
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    edited November 7
    MandyMost said:
    I don't like sweetheart tables. I just think it's so odd to invite guests and then choose not to sit with ANY of them. Like most things wedding-related, I picture how this would look if it was in any other situation. Sometimes at big family dinner parties we'll have multiple tables set up, since everyone doesn't fit at one table. But I can't imagine inviting people over for dinner, and seating them all at one table, and me and my husband sitting at a separate table from them. 

    At my wedding, most of the tables were for 8, but we got a bigger size round table to comfortable fit 10, so we could have us and then each have 2 couples sit with us. We didn't have a formal bridal party, so we just picked 2 close friends each that knew each other, so they could talk to each other even if we had to get up and do stuff. Our families were at other tables.


    Stuck in box...

    You can't imagine it, but you've never been around my family or my ex-BF's family. We had started talking about getting married before I had to move from NYC to Houston, and his family never got to meet mine.

    Had we gotten married, it would have made for a meal that was very awkward and stiff at best if his mother and my parents were seated with us. (His father's deceased.) They would have only recently met each other for the first time, and his mother has completely different views from my parents on a number of subjects. Also, she is the type of person who decides one day she's speaking to someone and the next day she isn't, and many of her relatives do the same thing.

    And I have some issues with my own parents. I would not want to be sitting with them.

    All this would have made for a wedding day that would have been very unenjoyable for all of us.

    Your inability to imagine couples' not wanting to sit with their families also assumes that nobody's parents are divorced and hate each other. While this is not the case with my parents, I have cousins whose parents were in that situation. Putting them together would have been like bombs going off. And if they sat with one parent, the other would have made such a damn fuss that it was simplest to just have a sweetheart table.

    Until you know all the facts behind a family situation, I would refrain from passing judgment on couples who do it -- because it might be the only option that allows for a semblance of peace and tranquility on one's wedding day. 
    banana468MissKittyDangerInLoveInQueens
  • MandyMost said:
    I don't like sweetheart tables. I just think it's so odd to invite guests and then choose not to sit with ANY of them. Like most things wedding-related, I picture how this would look if it was in any other situation. Sometimes at big family dinner parties we'll have multiple tables set up, since everyone doesn't fit at one table. But I can't imagine inviting people over for dinner, and seating them all at one table, and me and my husband sitting at a separate table from them. 

    At my wedding, most of the tables were for 8, but we got a bigger size round table to comfortable fit 10, so we could have us and then each have 2 couples sit with us. We didn't have a formal bridal party, so we just picked 2 close friends each that knew each other, so they could talk to each other even if we had to get up and do stuff. Our families were at other tables. 
    That's great that it worked for you.   But logistically it's not always possible.   And at a wedding it's so rare for the couple to stay seated the entire time.  

    If you were to compare this to an event in your home, you're also probably seating your guests in one room and running around the place to freshen drinks, pass food, and clear small plates.   When a meal is served you may have multiple tables in your home that seat a variety of guests.    The guest list / size is probably smaller than a wedding and you're not dressed in extra formal attire.   While your guests should be treated well in your home and at a wedding, is it that big a deal? 
    charlotte989875InLoveInQueensSTARMOON44
  • Jen4948 said:
    MandyMost said:
    I don't like sweetheart tables. I just think it's so odd to invite guests and then choose not to sit with ANY of them. Like most things wedding-related, I picture how this would look if it was in any other situation. Sometimes at big family dinner parties we'll have multiple tables set up, since everyone doesn't fit at one table. But I can't imagine inviting people over for dinner, and seating them all at one table, and me and my husband sitting at a separate table from them. 

    At my wedding, most of the tables were for 8, but we got a bigger size round table to comfortable fit 10, so we could have us and then each have 2 couples sit with us. We didn't have a formal bridal party, so we just picked 2 close friends each that knew each other, so they could talk to each other even if we had to get up and do stuff. Our families were at other tables.


    Stuck in box...

    You can't imagine it, but you've never been around my family or my ex-BF's family. We had started talking about getting married before I had to move from NYC to Houston, and his family never got to meet mine.

    Had we gotten married, it would have made for a meal that was very awkward and stiff at best if his mother and my parents were seated with us. (His father's deceased.) They would have only recently met each other for the first time, and his mother has completely different views from my parents on a number of subjects. Also, she is the type of person who decides one day she's speaking to someone and the next day she isn't, and many of her relatives do the same thing.

    And I have some issues with my own parents. I would not want to be sitting with them.

    All this would have made for a wedding day that would have been very unenjoyable for all of us.

    Your inability to imagine couples' not wanting to sit with their families also assumes that nobody's parents are divorced and hate each other. While this is not the case with my parents, I have cousins whose parents were in that situation. Putting them together would have been like bombs going off. And if they sat with one parent, the other would have made such a damn fuss that it was simplest to just have a sweetheart table.

    Until you know all the facts behind a family situation, I would refrain from passing judgment on couples who do it -- because it might be the only option that allows for a semblance of peace and tranquility on one's wedding day. 
    We did not sit with our families! I specifically said "our families were at other tables". Did you read my post?! 
    mollybarker11
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
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    MandyMost said:
    I don't like sweetheart tables. I just think it's so odd to invite guests and then choose not to sit with ANY of them. Like most things wedding-related, I picture how this would look if it was in any other situation. Sometimes at big family dinner parties we'll have multiple tables set up, since everyone doesn't fit at one table. But I can't imagine inviting people over for dinner, and seating them all at one table, and me and my husband sitting at a separate table from them. 

    At my wedding, most of the tables were for 8, but we got a bigger size round table to comfortable fit 10, so we could have us and then each have 2 couples sit with us. We didn't have a formal bridal party, so we just picked 2 close friends each that knew each other, so they could talk to each other even if we had to get up and do stuff. Our families were at other tables. 
    That's great that it worked for you. Not everyone is in the same boat. My MIL lives in FL, and really wanted to sit with her step-family and friends. My parents really wanted to sit with my mom's family and my dad's best friend.
    We only had a MOH and a BM. My friends and my husband's friends didn't really know each other. Not well enough that we would sit them together. If we were to sit with friends, how would we choose? 

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    edited November 9
    MandyMost said:
    Jen4948 said:
    MandyMost said:
    I don't like sweetheart tables. I just think it's so odd to invite guests and then choose not to sit with ANY of them. Like most things wedding-related, I picture how this would look if it was in any other situation. Sometimes at big family dinner parties we'll have multiple tables set up, since everyone doesn't fit at one table. But I can't imagine inviting people over for dinner, and seating them all at one table, and me and my husband sitting at a separate table from them. 

    At my wedding, most of the tables were for 8, but we got a bigger size round table to comfortable fit 10, so we could have us and then each have 2 couples sit with us. We didn't have a formal bridal party, so we just picked 2 close friends each that knew each other, so they could talk to each other even if we had to get up and do stuff. Our families were at other tables.


    Stuck in box...

    You can't imagine it, but you've never been around my family or my ex-BF's family. We had started talking about getting married before I had to move from NYC to Houston, and his family never got to meet mine.

    Had we gotten married, it would have made for a meal that was very awkward and stiff at best if his mother and my parents were seated with us. (His father's deceased.) They would have only recently met each other for the first time, and his mother has completely different views from my parents on a number of subjects. Also, she is the type of person who decides one day she's speaking to someone and the next day she isn't, and many of her relatives do the same thing.

    And I have some issues with my own parents. I would not want to be sitting with them.

    All this would have made for a wedding day that would have been very unenjoyable for all of us.

    Your inability to imagine couples' not wanting to sit with their families also assumes that nobody's parents are divorced and hate each other. While this is not the case with my parents, I have cousins whose parents were in that situation. Putting them together would have been like bombs going off. And if they sat with one parent, the other would have made such a damn fuss that it was simplest to just have a sweetheart table.

    Until you know all the facts behind a family situation, I would refrain from passing judgment on couples who do it -- because it might be the only option that allows for a semblance of peace and tranquility on one's wedding day. 
    We did not sit with our families! I specifically said "our families were at other tables". Did you read my post?! 

    Yes, I read your post. And like everyone else, I'm happy that it worked out for you. But you didn't seem to read anything in my posts besides whether or not your families were sitting at other tables.

    Once again, stop judging other people who choose to do sweetheart tables without full knowledge of the facts behind their reasons for choosing to do it.

    And stop assuming those other posters who disagree with you haven't read your posts. I read every word, and I still disagree with you.


    InLoveInQueensSTARMOON44
  • MandyMost said:
    I don't like sweetheart tables. I just think it's so odd to invite guests and then choose not to sit with ANY of them. Like most things wedding-related, I picture how this would look if it was in any other situation. Sometimes at big family dinner parties we'll have multiple tables set up, since everyone doesn't fit at one table. But I can't imagine inviting people over for dinner, and seating them all at one table, and me and my husband sitting at a separate table from them. 

    At my wedding, most of the tables were for 8, but we got a bigger size round table to comfortable fit 10, so we could have us and then each have 2 couples sit with us. We didn't have a formal bridal party, so we just picked 2 close friends each that knew each other, so they could talk to each other even if we had to get up and do stuff. Our families were at other tables. 
    That's great that it worked for you. Not everyone is in the same boat. My MIL lives in FL, and really wanted to sit with her step-family and friends. My parents really wanted to sit with my mom's family and my dad's best friend.
    We only had a MOH and a BM. My friends and my husband's friends didn't really know each other. Not well enough that we would sit them together. If we were to sit with friends, how would we choose? 
    That's a very similar dynamic to what we had. We essentially sat with the MOH and BM (and their dates), and also another friend of mine and her date that's close with the MOH, and another friend of my husband's and his date that's close with the BM. That way the MOH would be able to talk to her friend, and the BM would be able to talk to his friend, and no one would feel left out. It does help that these particular friends are very social, I guess. 

    Again, we didn't formalize the wedding party, but this is basically what it looked like at our table. As I mentioned, we had to work with a venue to make sure we had a table that fit 10, not a table for 8 like the rest of the tables. 


    The biggest rationale people have for doing a sweetheart table seems to be that their family/friend relationships are oh-so-complicated that they simply can't choose who to sit with. I just find it so odd that you invite your nearest and dearest to this event, and then say "I choose to sit alone!". I think there are an ENDLESS number of choices you can make about who to sit with that, to me, are a much better choice than sitting alone. 
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
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    MandyMost said:
    MandyMost said:
    I don't like sweetheart tables. I just think it's so odd to invite guests and then choose not to sit with ANY of them. Like most things wedding-related, I picture how this would look if it was in any other situation. Sometimes at big family dinner parties we'll have multiple tables set up, since everyone doesn't fit at one table. But I can't imagine inviting people over for dinner, and seating them all at one table, and me and my husband sitting at a separate table from them. 

    At my wedding, most of the tables were for 8, but we got a bigger size round table to comfortable fit 10, so we could have us and then each have 2 couples sit with us. We didn't have a formal bridal party, so we just picked 2 close friends each that knew each other, so they could talk to each other even if we had to get up and do stuff. Our families were at other tables. 
    That's great that it worked for you. Not everyone is in the same boat. My MIL lives in FL, and really wanted to sit with her step-family and friends. My parents really wanted to sit with my mom's family and my dad's best friend.
    We only had a MOH and a BM. My friends and my husband's friends didn't really know each other. Not well enough that we would sit them together. If we were to sit with friends, how would we choose? 
    That's a very similar dynamic to what we had. We essentially sat with the MOH and BM (and their dates), and also another friend of mine and her date that's close with the MOH, and another friend of my husband's and his date that's close with the BM. That way the MOH would be able to talk to her friend, and the BM would be able to talk to his friend, and no one would feel left out. It does help that these particular friends are very social, I guess. 

    Again, we didn't formalize the wedding party, but this is basically what it looked like at our table. As I mentioned, we had to work with a venue to make sure we had a table that fit 10, not a table for 8 like the rest of the tables. 


    The biggest rationale people have for doing a sweetheart table seems to be that their family/friend relationships are oh-so-complicated that they simply can't choose who to sit with. I just find it so odd that you invite your nearest and dearest to this event, and then say "I choose to sit alone!". I think there are an ENDLESS number of choices you can make about who to sit with that, to me, are a much better choice than sitting alone. 
    But it's not. My MOH was my best friend since HS. The BM was my BIL. They had never even met each other before that weekend. What kind of sense would it make to seat them at the same table? My MOH did not bring a date, but our group of HS friends had traveled from all over to be at our wedding. My priority was to have my MOH sit with our friends. And that table was full. 

    My BIL lived in Florida at the time and hadn't seen his step-sisters in a few years. He wanted to sit with my MIL and their family. Again, that table was full. There was no point in trying to shove the two of us into either of these tables. They were already tables of 10. My venue did not offer a 12 person table. 

    My H and I sat at our table for maybe 15 minutes, if that. It's not odd to invite people and then sit at your own table. I spent the majority of my day talking to my guests and dancing with them on the dance floor. 

    InLoveInQueenscharlotte989875
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    edited November 13
    MandyMost said:

    The biggest rationale people have for doing a sweetheart table seems to be that their family/friend relationships are oh-so-complicated that they simply can't choose who to sit with. I just find it so odd that you invite your nearest and dearest to this event, and then say "I choose to sit alone!". I think there are an ENDLESS number of choices you can make about who to sit with that, to me, are a much better choice than sitting alone. 
    Sorry, but this doesn't work for me.

    So you think it's "odd" that people with complex family and friend situations would prefer to keep them away from each other to have their first meal as a married couple in peace? That says more about you than it says about the couple.

    Sometimes, one's "nearest and dearest" just don't get along with each other -- and they won't even for the sake of the couple. So it makes sense to seat them away from each other-even if that means that nobody else is sitting with the couple.

    And something else: Just because guests were invited does not mean they are being neglected if none of them sit with the couple.

    First of all, nobody at the wedding, the couple included, spends the entire time sitting down at their tables. They dance and they go to other tables. Those seats are not thrones and the guests do not need to behave like the couple is a king or queen.

    Stop clutching your pearls and judging couples who do sweetheart tables already.

    InLoveInQueens
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