Finalizing seating charts for a reception can be one of the toughest parts of wedding planning. Add in the options for head tables and sweetheart tables, and it’s hard to know where to start or which options are right for specific couples. Sweetheart tables can add a ton of ambiance and romance to a reception space, but they also can isolate a couple from their guests during the celebration. Couples often go back and forth on whether or not they want to opt for this romantic duo dining or would prefer to sit alongside the rest of the wedding party. To help you decide how you’d like to dine and imbibe, then, we’ve broken down the pros and cons of sweetheart tables below.

To Do:

Added Aesthetic Drama

Sweetheart tables are a great way to add some drama to your reception. With options for overhead florals, charming chair garlands and mood-setting lighting, you can use strategic design details to make the sweetheart table the focal point of the entire reception—creating a really aesthetically stunning nook. Plus, because sweetheart tables are smaller in size compared to rounds or farm tables, it only takes a small amount of floral and decor to make the table look super lavish and decadent.

A Spot To Call Your Own

We hear it from every couple: We barely remember our wedding day! Everything went by so fast! With out-of-town guests and family you haven’t seen in years, plus all of your closest friends, in one space, it’s hard not to get pulled in a ton of different directions on your Big Day. A sweetheart table helps to lessen the socialization burden on couples, then, by allowing them a little nook all to themselves, where they can enjoy their meal as newly married pair and focus solely on one another. It helps to remind the couple to slow down, look into each other’s eyes and take some time to really soak in the beauty of the day.

Stunning Photo Ops

Sitting at a sweetheart table can make for some stunning photo ops—especially during toasts. (Think: images of just you and your brand-new spouse in a strategically designed space boasting gorgeous florals and lighting, laughing or tearing up as your guests give their toasts.) Because more design attention is given to sweetheart tables, photos snapped of couples at their sweetheart table tend to be super dramatic and totally Pinterest-worthy.

Not To Do:

If You Don’t Like Being the Center of Attention

A sweetheart table might not be a great option for couples who’d rather not have all eyes on them. Sweetheart tables tend to be a focal point of the reception, which means your guests may snap photos of you as you dine, or approach your table to say hello. If you’re not someone who’s comfortable with all of that added attention, you might want to consider sitting with the masses, rather than at your own designated space.

If You Don’t Want to be Separated from Guest for Toasts and Dinner

Having a sweetheart table doesn’t mean you have to sit at it all night and miss out on dancing and drinking—but it does mean you’ll be separated from your wedding party and guests while you dine and toast. If you don’t want to miss a moment with family and friends, you might want to consider joining your wedding party at a head table instead. You can always use strategic design details (like chair garlands or signs and an overhead floral chandelier, for example) to draw special attention to your two chairs at a group table.  

If You’re Going for a Laid-Back Feel

For earthy, boho or laid-back affairs boasting family-style dining and shared charcuterie, a sweetheart table might not be the most practical option. If your dining consists of one or two super long farm tables, you don’t want to interrupt that aesthetic with an added sweetheart table that doesn’t quite fit in with the overall look and feel of the event. Remember, your sweetheart table—even though separate from other tables—should still fit with your wedding-day aesthetic. If it feels too formal or out-of-place for your reception, you might want to considering nixing it and joining your guests family-style instead.

Overall, deciding on whether or not to include a sweetheart table at a wedding reception really comes down to a combination of personal preference and overall event aesthetic. They can be such stunning options for adding drama and ambiance to a reception, but a couple has to really be committed to the idea for it work for them. Be sure to think through, not just the look of an event, but the feel as well before deciding if a sweetheart table is a seamless option or an added headache.

Photo courtesy Jeff Frandsen

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