Wedding Etiquette: Who Sits at the Head Table?

Once upon a time, there was a woman who’s husband was chosen to be best man at a wedding, and she was not invited to be part of the wedding party. (See post on Glamour) Now she’s upset that her husband will be sitting at the head table with the bride, groom, bridesmaids and groomsmen, while she will have to sit at a guest table with people she doesn’t know: “I’ve never heard of a married couple getting split up at a wedding. If the bride absolutely doesn’t want me at her table, fine, but at least let my husband sit with me somewhere else!”

Who is right? The bride or the unhappy groomsman’s wife?

While we totally understand wanting to sit with your husband at a wedding, according to traditional wedding etiquette, the bride is doing nothing wrong. At least in the U.S., the people will sit at the head table are the bride and groom and their attendants (maid of honor, best man, bridesmaids, groomsmen/ushers). Even the bride’s parents and grandparents sit at a nearby table and not at the head table!

In the end of the day, it’s just one dinner that you have to sit through without your spouse/mom/favorite cousin (and there’s plenty of time to mingle, dance, and celebrate besides for the sit-down dinner).

This is, of course, if you plan on being traditional. If you want to have your parents sit with you, or accommodate anyone else who you’re close with, or who’s feelings might be hurt, you can feel free to arrange your head table any way you want to. Or you can forget about a head table altogether, and group your bridal party, friends, and family members at tables where they’d be most comfortable!

Good luck and happy planning!

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