Sweetheart Table: Oasis or Exile?

So. Sweetheart tables are a definite thing in weddings these days.

It's sweet and all, but doesn't it look a little lonely, too? | Image via Style Me Pretty | Photo by Anna Kuperberg

It’s sweet and all, but doesn’t it look a little lonely, too? | Image via Style Me Pretty | Photo by Anna Kuperberg

I’m not sure how I feel about this trend.

On the one hand”¦

If it’s been all day and you’ve just barely seen your beloved during the ceremony and pictures, having a little space of your own probably sounds like a good idea. A time to catch your breath together.

On the other hand”¦

How much time are you going to spend at that table anyway if the whole point of having a reception is to share your day with your guests? And while I love spending one-on-one time with Mr. Road Trip, I’m afraid I’d be distracted by the other tables around us anyway, not to mention wondering what they were talking about!

Sure, it takes care of the who-do-we-sit-with dilemma: parents? bridal party? people we haven’t seen for years who flew across the country to spend a couple hours with us? But I’m not sure it’s the best solution. More like, if I can’t sit with everyone, I’ll sit with no one, and that sounds almost more spiteful than practical. (But, really, I can see where it’s the only sane option if tensions are running high.)

At the same time, if you’re constantly up visiting other tables and trying to say hellos and cutting cake and tossing garters and bouquets and catching various photo-ops, that sweetheart table is just another still-life photo-op in the making. A cute one, but you could stage any two chairs with signs for Mr. & Mrs. and have done with it.

Image via Style Me Pretty | Photo by Miki & Sonia Photography

Wouldn’t this just be amazing?! | Image via Style Me Pretty | Photo by Miki & Sonja Photography

Personally, I love the one-long-table option, but that’s not really practical for all groups or all spaces. And Mr. Road Trip wasn’t really a fan of it, either, when I brought it up one night at dinner. But, then, as is usually the case, Mr. Trips had a brilliant idea that we—due to having changed our original plans for our reception vision—now cannot really use. But I’d like to offer it up to you as a possible solution.

Table. Hopping.

Now, not just going from table to table while everyone else is eating, but actually having two seats at every table reserved for the newlyweds so you can go from table to table, sit down, eat a little something, and converse a bit with your guests.

Granted, this works best with a tapas-style or tasting menu where there are as many courses as tables, but tasting menus are actually gaining ground in the catering world, so it’s not incredibly far-fetched. (Sure, they’re gaining ground now—two years ago when I was approaching caterers with requests, everyone and their cousin was pushing stations, stations, and only stations. Sigh”¦) It’s a little like speed dating at your wedding, but I still love this idea and think that guests would really adore it, too.

So, hive, let this be a lesson: just because your groom-to-be isn’t all up on the latest wedding tricks and trends, doesn’t mean he might not have a brilliant, left-field suggestion ready to pop out as the perfect solution. And if you’ve done this or plan to do this, I totally want to hear how it went/goes!


Mrs. Road Trip

Wedding Date:
November 2013
They're Playing Our Song
Let Them Eat Pie!
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  1. Member
    scottsdalebride 109 posts, Blushing bee @ 12:57 pm

    I like this post – we are doing a mix of long and round tables. And yes, we are doing a sweetheart table. Will we be there much? Probably not…

  2. Member
    cakeyp 2562 posts, Sugar bee @ 12:59 pm

    I am the most graceless person when I get up from a chair. Or out of a car for that matter.
    Plus, I am exceptionally good at tripping on other chairs/tablecloths at weddings and special events.

    We’re sticking with the sweetheart table… we don’t want to get stuck for long periods of time saying “Hellos and Thank Yous” so sitting down at multiple tables isn’t really an option. We’re not the best at politely avoiding conversation, especially my fiance… he’s just so darn popular!

  3. Member
    FoolsintheRain 1007 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:05 pm

    We did a sweetheart table. We managed a few minutes (at the most) at each table, and I don’t think we would have been able to do that between speeches and dances and everything, if we were trying to eat at them too! I also don’t like the idea of leaving behind empty seats and dirty plates. Plus, while I feel that guest’s enjoyed us popping by to say hello, they were in the middle of their own evening of entertainment, and it definitely felt like when we popped by a few times that we were interrupting other people’s meals and conversations. I’m curious to know if other people have done table hopping this way and how it worked though!

  4. Member
    jmarvellous 550 posts, Busy bee @ 1:08 pm

    We had three long tables and spent about equal time at each, though we did grab a seat at one to scarf down some food while everyone else went through the buffet.

    We didn’t have assigned seating, but it roughly worked out that they divided up as my family, his family, and friends, so spending time with everyone was very important to us.

  5. Member
    veggie_rachel 575 posts, Busy bee @ 1:09 pm

    That sounds like fun! And such a great way to actually mingle and still get to eat!
    We’re having a sweetheart table, mainly because it’s cute, but also because just about everyone in our bridal party is dating or married and we don’t want to separate them from their partners during dinner. I can attest to the awkwardness of that firsthand…we recently went to a wedding where my FI was a groomsman so he sat at the head table and I sat at a table with a bunch of people I didn’t know. It was really weird to try to explain that I was at the wedding because the bride’s cousin, who was a groomsman, is my fiance. Just made for a long night…

  6. mswaterfall Member
    Mrs. Waterfall 1403 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:23 pm

    Interesting post! We totally did the sweetheart table and I’m so glad because it was one of the only moments Mr. W and I had alone that night. We were going to originally do a head table, but wanted our bridal party to be able to mingle and sit with their dates and friends, so we opted for the sweetheart table for practical reasons.

    I imagine the table hopping only works with a small guest list though, we had 18 tables and barely even had time to visit each one, let alone eat!

    Hope it works out for you :)

  7. Member
    shortbread 290 posts, Helper bee @ 3:35 pm

    For us figuring out who would be at the head table was going to be a tough task. We also didn’t want to seperate our wedding party from their significant others. We are really glad that we did a sweetheart table and my husband thinks it’s probably one of the best decisions we made. We actually were able to eat our meal and mingle in between courses. Our guests also came to us at the sweetheart table and we were able to give them one on one time.For me the best part was being able to look around the room and soak in everything that was going on around us. We were able to take time to appreciate all of these people who came to celebrate with us. I’m sure whatever you decide will work just fine for you.

  8. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 5:53 pm

    What an interesting idea! It would probably allow other people to mingle throughout the tables too.

  9. Member
    brownwooltraveler 1 posts, Wannabee @ 7:51 pm

    We don’t even have room for a head table at our wedding so our only option was a sweetheart table. I feel like it will work out better for us anyways though because it will encourage us to mingle and chat with people that approach our table, rather than stick in our comfort zone with our wedding party (since they are our best friends anyway).

  10. Member
    gotsol 46 posts, Newbee @ 12:54 am

    I imagine the table hopping only works with a small guest list though, we had 18 tables and barely even had time to visit each one, let alone eat!

  11. otter Member
    otter 1321 posts, Bumble bee @ 4:51 am

    Not us, no way no how! We were having a sweetheart table no matter what. For the obvious reason you mentioned of who the hell do we sit with – seriously, I couldn’t figure it out and I was done fighting with the seating chart – but also because I wanted time for just us. We had PLENTY of time to mingle with guests by just going from table to table, but I was absolutely eating some of that delicious food, and I wanted to enjoy talking to my new husband without interruptions. Of course some guests came and spoke to us, but for the most part, we just got to have some time to ourselves to discuss the fact that WE JUST GOT MARRIED! (!!!) And, like @Shortbread said, I loved that we got to just look around and take things in. I really enjoyed watching guests get to know each other.

  12. jetsetter Member
    jetsetter 535 posts, Busy bee @ 5:57 am

    We are doing a sweetheart table for the reason you listed above – a chance to spend some time together and catch our breaths! Plus, I want our bridal party to be able to sit with their SO’s scattered about!

  13. Member
    pixiestix6089 60 posts, Worker bee @ 10:04 am

    I’m with you on the sweetheart table = exile, Miss. Road Trip. We decided to do a family style bridal party table. Basically the bridal party will be seated around two long tables that have been pushed together and covered to somewhat resemble a giant dining room table. Myself and the fiance will either be seated together at the head of the table or in the middle. I love the table hoping idea though, very clever!

  14. Member
    yuletide 58 posts, Worker bee @ 1:12 am

    What an interesting idea!

  15. Member
    hisprincessbride 2 posts, Wannabee @ 10:10 am

    We haven’t decided about having a Sweetheart table or not. But I really like the idea of having some “just us” time.

  16. roadtrip Member
    roadtrip 803 posts, Busy bee @ 3:21 pm

    @ScottsdaleBride: But at least you’ll have a home base to go back to when you need it!

    @CakeyP: I’m rather klutzy myself, so I hear you on that part.

    @FoolsintheRain: It definitely depends on how many people/tables there are to visit, for sure.

    @jmarvellous: Sounds like it worked great for you!

    @veggie_rachel: And since we’re not doing having a wedding party, a full head table isn’t really an option for us anyway!

  17. roadtrip Member
    roadtrip 803 posts, Busy bee @ 3:24 pm

    @Miss Waterfall: And I can totally see it working out best in that instance!

    @Shortbread: I like your perspective on it!

    @Mrs. Pony: That’s something I hadn’t considered, but yes I can see it working that way, too!

    @brownwooltraveler: Yeah, I’m the stick where I am type, too, if there’s not a plan in place to do otherwise.

    @gotsol: Definitely the guest list size and length of the menu are key factors in this scenario working.

  18. roadtrip Member
    roadtrip 803 posts, Busy bee @ 3:29 pm

    @Mrs. Otter: I can definitely see your points :)

    @Miss Jet Setter: That’s really kind of you to keep your wedding party in mind like that :)

    @pixiestix6089: I think the Knittings did that sort of King’s Table set-up and it was another one in the running for us.

    @yuletide: Thanks :)

    @hisprincessbride: If we weren’t planning to be together all morning anyway I think I might feel differently, but based on our schedule for the wedding day, I think we’ll have enough just us time built in to where we can enjoy our guests for the little time we’ll have them there, more.

  19. Member
    kellyha99 294 posts, Helper bee @ 2:05 pm

    We did a sweetheart table – our dinner was brief before we were up again chatting/dancing with guests; but our time alone was a nice, private moment with my new husband.

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