Wedding Etiquette Forum

Wedding Party Seating

     We have a fairly large wedding party, 7 bridesmaids and 7 groomsmen. Luckily 2 bridesmaids are married to groomsmen, but the rest are single or dating people that aren't in the wedding party. What do we do about seating? 
     My understanding is that even those that are single have to be allowed to bring dates by virtue of being in the wedding party. Regardless of this, we don't have enough space for all the groomsmen and bridesmaids, and some (not sure how many yet) dates at one tables. Theoretically it could be up to 24 people. Is it completely horrible to split wedding party members up from their dates? 
     Even 16 seems a bit large for a table, what should we do? We've considered a sweetheart table, but we think it would be fun to be seated with everyone else and we also want them to all get to know each other better since they're obviously all very important to us. 

Re: Wedding Party Seating

  • I think it's called a "king's table" or something.  It's a long table that goes down the middle of the room, seating on both sides, with the bride and groom at one end (needs to be a wide table), and their wedding parties and dates down both lengths.  It's pretty much the only way to fit large wedding parties at the same table, but you'll still be really far away from the people on the other end of the table.

    Or just do the sweetheart table and call it a day.  You're probably going to be going from table to table talking to guests, not relaxing during dinner time, so in the end, it's really more about the room layout and what makes the most sense for the comfort of your bridesmaids and groomsmen.
  • Mica has nice options. I've seen a "King's Table" before and it works out pretty nicely, just weird to have the backs of some of them to everyone for the entire night.

    I like the sweetheart table idea and put a set of bridesmaids/groomsmen/date units at every table (or spread out) so that way every guest has an opportunity to get to know people and that way they can still sit with their dates!
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  • I know most people on here say not to split up the wedding party from their dates, and I completely agree in principle. However, in my situation, I'd have 20 people at our head table if I included the bridal party and their dates/spouses. I orginally was just going to do my fiance, me, MOH, MOH husband, BM and BM wife, then seat the rest of the bridal party are rounds. But when I mentioned this idea they all cried foul, like I just wanted them for the ceremony and not the reception too.

    After much discussion our bridal party told us to do the traditional head table, us and bridal party only. They all said their dates would not care about sitting without them for dinner (45 minutes-1 hour) and they all acted as if I was crazy to suggest otherwise. Plus, all their dates with know tons of other people at the wedding so its not like they won't have anyone to talk too.

    In your case I would probably just do a sweetheart table with your bridal party at rounds with their dates. Or maybe what I was orginally planning with the MOH and BM. Good luck!!!
  • I've never seen dates at the wedding party table. Maybe it's a trend that Ohio hasn't picked up on yet (wouldn't be the first). We're putting our dates at a different table, probably together with some of our friends of the same age.

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  • Nikiandchris, don't blame poor Ohio.  I was a BM in BIL and SIL's wedding in OH last sept.  They sat at a sweetheart table and had a king table for the WP and their dates.

    Splitting up your WP from their SOs is one of the rudest things you can do to them.  Don't do it.
  • I never heard of seating dates of people in the WP at the head table either. We had 6 BM's and 6 GM's and they all sat with us at the head table. Actually one of the BM's and GM's were dating and the rest of the girls did not have dates. On of my BM's husbands was not there but her parents (my aunt and uncle) watched her son and daughter. I guess it really wasn't an issue for us with the rest of the GM bc their SO's either didn't care or they didn't have one.
  • I have also never seen the WP seated with their dates. I have been in 2 weddings and have never sat with my FI thru dinner. I have also been a guest at my fair share of weddings and have not witnessed this. I think its fine, as grown adults I think they can manage to be away from their SO for an hour during dinner!
  • banana468banana468 member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited August 2010
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_wedding-party-seating?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:4c32f35f-f329-408f-9da0-b8d850f3159fPost:dca1c3f6-e002-4cb1-bcd0-0968ef5d533c">Re: Wedding Party Seating</a>:
    [QUOTE]I have also never seen the WP seated with their dates. I have been in 2 weddings and have never sat with my FI thru dinner. I have also been a guest at my fair share of weddings and have not witnessed this. I think its fine, as grown adults I think they can manage to be away from their SO for an hour during dinner!
    Posted by mgietler76[/QUOTE]

    Ugh.  I loathe that logic.

    Of course as a grown adult your BP can manage to be away from their SOs.  As a grown adult I'm split from my husband for most of my waking hours.

    However:
    1) Why on earth should your WP who are quite often your closest guests be treated in such a way that they're actually treated WORST on a day that's about love and togetherness - particularly at the event that's FOR your guests?

    2) If as a grown adult a WP member can be split from his/her SO, then why aren't you volunteering as bride to be split from your husband at dinner?  Presumably you two have the rest of your lives to sit together.  Why not sit with your families or friends?  You're adults and can manage - right?

    3) Why should any portion of your wedding reception be something that you justify with, "they'll manage".  It smacks of knowing that you're doing something rude and that you just don't care.

    4) Your WP may be OK with this but what about their SOs?  I've been on the receiving end of being the SO not seated with the GM in the wedding party - and it was not fun.

    5) As stated above, the reception is FOR the guests.  The duty of your WP begins and ends with the ceremony. 

    6) Stop saying that "it's just for dinner".  Most weddings that I've attended have the WP split from their SOs for the ceremony - which is totally understandable.  Then the SOs are split for the entire duration of the cocktail hour while the WP takes photos.  THEN, if you split them from the WP during the meal, you're talking well over an hour.  I have yet to attend a reception where the time from when the bride and groom entered the room and the toasts began until the dance floor was open was just an hour.  So in the meantime, guests are still seated at their tables in their chairs eating amongst themselves.

    And for those who say, "that's how it's done" can you come up with a reason that it makes sense TO split your WP from their SOs?   I've been waiting to hear that reason since I joined TK.
  • We sat at a sweetheart table, and the wedding party was with their dates at whatever tables it made sense for them to sit at (as if they weren't in the bridal party). Everyone was happy.
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  • Yes, it is horrible to split up wedding party members from their dates.  We also did what kristin did.  We had wedding party spread out and sitting with people they knew.  Members of our wedding party didn't know each other and we'd just be running around doing table visits.  I don't understand why the wedding party needs to sit together.
  • After several months of reading TK for questions/ideas, I've adopted the "banana religion" on WP seating, as all of her points make perfect, logical sense to me. This resulted in a bit of a battle with FI, as he wanted the traditional (what all his friends did) matchy-matchy long head table, where you can only speak to the person next to you, everyone is up on display for dinner, like watching the animal feedings at the zoo. (At least that's what it has always reminded me of.)

    When my logic didn't persuade him, I pulled out the bridezilla card for this one, single thing, as I have made this wedding exactly what his family wanted (which I don't mind in general, as they have always been incredibly generous), and having my WP enjoy our reception to the fullest extent possible means a lot to me. Especially since we have a 3hr dinner (traditional Chinese 10-course wedding banquet), so I wanted everybody to sit with their loved ones.

    As a compromise to FI who was being a little bratty and didn't want "strangers" (my BM's dates) at our head table, we're going with the cluster table like in the pic below. Our decorator and the wedding coordinator at the hotel were both horrified to find out that the head tables will not only be "unusual", but also asymmetrical, since my 3 BMs have dates and the 3 GMs do not. But I stuck to my guns, and we're having the 3 girls and their dates to the table on the right, the 3 GMs on the left, and me and FI on the  stage in the middle.




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  • we're doing a head table.
    our BM and MOH are married, my 2 BMs have no SOs, 1 GM isn't bringing is SO for scheduling conflicts, and the other 1 GM's SO is coming but she knows all of our friends and is sitting at that table w/o any issues.

    everyone situation is different and the "banana religion" as dougie put it doesn't mesh w/ everyone's sitiation all the time.

    do what is best for you, your FI, and your WP.
    no matter what you choose your wedding will be great and you'll enjoy yourself!
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  • I agree that it's awkward to split your WP members from their dates. Why allow them to bring a date only to separate them for what ends up being most of the event? If the date doesn't already know other people at the wedding, even if the date can generally handle being on their own for a while, it's pointless to come to this event to spend time with x only to be separated the entire time. The only way this might be acceptable would be if you seated the date with someone they might hit it off with and gave them proper introduction including what they might have in common. 'This is Shelly and she's also really into mountain biking.'

    I just figure, chill out, seat BP members with their dates and with the people they'll want to hang out with. My bridesmaids I know from college? Will be with their dates and other people from school they'll want to catch up with. My sisters? They'll be with their dates and familly members who live far away and they don't get to see often.

    Really, I'm throwing a party for people I love to get together and have a good time. I can't see splitting our BP from their dates, throwing them all together and being like, "okay, you all be friends and have fun and look like you're having a great time for the pictures." Most of our bridesmaids and groomsmen haven't even met and I'm not sure they'd all hit it off. I'd rather say, "Thank you so much for supporting us and standing up there with us. Now go party with the people you're here to party with!"
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  • Guess I didn't realize this was such a heated issue. I've never in my life seen a wedding party with their dates at the same table. Good thing only one of my party has a date outside the WP and he fully expects to sit with other wedding guests. I'll make sure to apologize to both of them for being so rude.
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  • "banana religion"    LOVE IT!!
  • I don't know about everyone else but I'm not saying it's exactly always rude to put the date elsewhere. It depends on the situation. If the date in question already knows people there, that's one thing. But if the date is going to be marooned with a bunch of strangers he would have very little in common with, that's another.

    The bottom line to all of this stuff is to put yourself in the other person's shoes and ask yourself how you would feel. That and striking a balance between taking good care of your guests and reason. 

    A good date of a wedding party member wouldn't expect to be seated at the head table but if that person knew no one else at the event, I'm sure he would be honored to have the chance to sit with his date.
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