After you and your significant other say “I do,” it’s time for the big party of the night, your wedding reception! Planning your reception includes plenty of details, like hors d’oeuvres, dinner, table layouts, centerpieces, drinks, dancing, entertainment, speeches, cake cutting, and more.
You and your partner will have a long night of greeting guests and enjoying your big celebration as a married couple. You will most likely be busy on your wedding day, and it’ll be nice to take a smidge of time for yourselves during the eventful evening.
While you’re creating your reception layout and deciding how many tables and chairs you’ll need, think about where you and your partner will sit. You can both stay with your wedding party or take some needed time for yourselves and sit at a sweetheart table for just the married couple.
What Is a Sweetheart Table?
If you and your significant other want to sit somewhere for just the two of you, add a sweetheart table to your reception floor plan. A sweetheart table is a small table for you and your spouse. Instead of sitting with a large group of friends or family, you two newlyweds get to have a small moment for yourselves.
The sweetheart table is typically set up at the front of the reception room or space, facing all your guests. Being in the front of the room, you and your spouse can take in the view of all your loved ones there to celebrate your marriage.
The best size for a sweetheart table is a 4-foot round option. Four-foot round tables are also great for displaying your cake, guestbook, and hors d’oeuvres, so you may rent more than one for your reception.
You may not think you need this private place to sit now, but you’ll appreciate it once you have some one-on-one time with your partner. Your wedding day is a wonderful celebration surrounded by family and friends. But you’ll still want to spend time enjoying your spouse’s company.
You’ll have loved ones coming up to you and giving their congratulations, and you’ll spend time dancing the night away with your guests, then suddenly, it’s time to leave. Choose to incorporate a sweetheart table in your reception to get the alone time you and your spouse deserve.
Sweetheart Table vs. Head Table
Leading up to your wedding day, you’ll need to decide whether you and your spouse want to sit at a sweetheart table or join your wedding party at the head table. Sometimes, you get so caught up in organizing wedding details that cater to your guests, you tend to forget about yourself and your spouse. But this is your day, and it’s essential to plan out all the details revolving around you and your partner to have a special celebration.
Ultimately, you can decide to sit wherever you want. There are no set of rules for your reception’s seating because it’s your wedding. You can choose to sit at the head table with your bridal party, sit with family members or opt for just you and your partner to sit at a sweetheart table.
Which one is a better choice? Both have their pros and cons. Either way, you’ll make the decision that works best for you and your spouse to enjoy your celebration.
The pros of sitting at a sweetheart table include:
- You’ll have some needed alone time as a newlywed couple and enjoy an intimate dinner.
- You don’t have to worry about hurting friends’ or family’s feelings if they aren’t sitting at the head table.
- You can have fun decorating and designing the sweetheart table.
- You’ll get more photos of just you and your spouse during the reception.
The potential cons of sitting at a sweetheart table include:
- You might feel uncomfortable with all the attention on you and your spouse.
- You may feel isolated from your guests, depending on your venue’s layout.
If you choose to sit at the head table with your wedding party, the pros include:
- You can spend time with your bridal party during dinner.
- You’ll be close to your maid of honor and the best man for speeches.
The possible cons of sitting at the head table include:
- You might find it harder to converse with other guests or family members during dinner.
- You should include your wedding party’s significant others to sit at the head table, potentially complicating your seating plans.
Whichever seating arrangement you choose will be great for your wedding day. Take your personal preferences into consideration when you decide between sitting at a sweetheart table or the head table.
Sweetheart Table Ideas
When you create your reception space layout, add a sweetheart table to get more adorable photos of you and your spouse during the reception. Make those photos reflect your dream celebration with careful design ideas.
You can design this table with all the details you want for your special day. Couples can find many sweetheart table decor ideas online to start planning what materials to buy for decorations.
You can go all-out for your sweetheart table decorations. Design a unique centerpiece from what’s throughout the venue, rent special chairs or a loveseat and use charger plates and glassware exclusive for you and your partner. For more inspiration, check out some bride and groom table decoration ideas to find what designs match your style.
You may have to rent table linens or purchase your own, or your venue may provide linens for your reception. Choose to rent special linens for your sweetheart table to stand out during the celebration.
Instead of using white or off-white linens, you could choose your accent color or rent a lace table runner. Gorgeous linens can spice up your sweetheart table before you place any additional decorations or a centerpiece.
A stunning backdrop can showcase you and your spouse during your reception. When you’re thinking of a background for your sweetheart table, consider your wedding theme and style. You can have a backdrop of flowers, a wall of greenery, a neon sign of your last name, balloon arches, and other beautiful designs you can rent or make yourself.
Take the floral arrangements you’re using for your other centerpieces but make them bigger and better for your sweetheart table. If you aren’t using flowers throughout your venue and want to focus on certain areas, put a stunning floral display on your sweetheart table. Extravagant florals make your private seating memorable, so consider:
- Stringing a flower garland on the front of the table or across the runner.
- Placing a short yet stunning arrangement as the centerpiece so your guests can still see you and your spouse.
- Sprinkling petals over the table for a romantic feel and a pop of color.
Adding texture to different parts of your sweetheart table design can tie your decorations together nicely. Use details similar to your wedding dress and elements of your wedding theme with ideas like these:
- Use a lace table cover or lace details around vases if your wedding dress has lace details.
- Add cozy elements to your chairs like furry blankets or soft decorations for winter weddings.
- Rent velvet chairs for a soft pop of texture at your sweetheart table.
You can also incorporate texture into your decorations with candle holders, table runners, and other miscellaneous touches that suit your wedding theme.
Elements of lighting can transform your entire reception venue, and the same effect applies to your sweetheart table. Lighting decorations can help create an intimate vibe for your seating arrangement. Decorations like string lights, marquee letters, candles, and twinkle lights transform your sweetheart table into a magical display.
Instead of using the chairs from your venue or the same rental chairs, all your guests are using, get cozy with your spouse on a loveseat! Rental companies have various loveseats that will match your wedding theme and look stunning at your sweetheart table. You can also buy a loveseat to use for the sweetheart table or bring your own to have an element of your home be a part of your special day.
Arbors and Drapery
Make you and your spouse the center of attention with a gorgeous arbor dressed with delicate drapery. You can also add flowers, lights, and other decorations to your arch to add more to your bride and groom table. Place the archway as a detailed backdrop or use it to provide a bit of shade for an outdoor reception.
Signs and Letters
Show off your new last name with signs or block letters on your sweetheart table. You can get crafty and make your sign with a chalkboard or acrylic board or find a shop online that specializes in handwritten wedding signs. Hang the sign on the front of the table or behind you and your spouse on your backdrop for a personalized result.
Use your wedding colors in your table decorations to tie the reception venue together. If you have touches of your colors on the guest tables, add more pops of color to your sweetheart table to stand out. Find decorations like candles, chargers, photo frames, lights, flowers, and other romantic touches in your wedding colors or coordinating shades.
Backs of the Chairs
You’re likely focusing on the front of the table because everyone will see it, but don’t forget the back! Decorating the backs of your chairs makes for adorable photos.
Add sashes, flowers, signs, ribbons, and other touches to the backs of your chairs. If you have custom denim or leather jackets with your names on them, drape those over the chair backs for a decorative look.
Private Sweetheart Table Dinner
Couples looking for an intimate dinner who might feel uncomfortable sitting in front of all their guests can opt for a different bride and groom table idea. Instead of eating dinner with all your guests, try a private sweetheart table dinner.
After you take your photos and your guests are sitting in the reception area, have a sweetheart table set up in a secluded area of your venue for just you and your spouse. You can enjoy a nice, quiet dinner and take a break from the hectic day. You’ll have the chance to soak in the bliss of your ceremony and enjoy your meal without interruption from your guests. You can then return to the reception and sit at a head table or among your family and friends.
How to Plan Your Wedding Reception Floor Plan
Once you decide where you and your spouse will sit, it’s time to start planning your floor layout for the reception. Be sure to place tables in your reception area carefully. You’ll need to leave enough space for food stations, bars, dessert tables, the dance floor, the DJ or band, and other elements you may include in your wedding reception. Design your layout with accessibility and movability in mind so there are no issues for your guests, vendors, or yourselves.
If you still have some concerns about how to place your tables and plan your reception layout, follow these tips to help organize your celebration:
Allow enough space to move around
It’s essential to allow enough space for traffic flow to areas like the restroom, dance floor, buffet, exits, and bars. It can be challenging for some guests to move around a room that’s similar to a maze. Make sure guests can easily see important events as well, like the entrance of the newlyweds and wedding party, first dances, cake cutting, and toasts.
Consider dance floor placement
A big enough dance floor is essential for your party. If you’re hosting your wedding at a venue, they will have great suggestions for what size your dance floor should be and where to place it.
Be aware of table shapes
Decide what tables you’ll want your guests to sit at and what shapes will work best with your reception space. You and your partner will have a sweetheart table in the front, and it’ll likely be round. You can decide to place guests at round tables, rectangular ones, or a mix of the two.
Give special attention to any guests of honor
If you have important friends and family attending your wedding, make them feel special by placing them at tables closest to your sweetheart table. Whether they traveled a long way or have been a special part of your life or relationship, these guests will appreciate being near you for your celebration.
Remember the bar
If you include a bar at your wedding, you should place it somewhere with enough space to avoid congestion. Depending on the number of guests you are hosting, consider two bars for a large guest count of 100 or more. If your venue has bars built-in, rework your table layout to accommodate them.
Customize your layout
Every wedding is a unique celebration, and you might have some special surprises for your guests. When you design your layout, consider the placement of elements like photo booths, the cake table, a cigar bar, and other reception details.
Find Your Dream Wedding Dress at Alexandra’s Boutique
Hours and hours of planning go into your wedding day, and some parts are more challenging than others. Your dress shopping should be an enjoyable and memorable experience, and the right dress shop can make that a reality.
At Alexandra’s Boutique, we can help you find your dream wedding dress and provide you with a luxurious dress shopping experience. Schedule your bridal appointment with us, and our stylists will help you find a gown that matches your wedding vision.