1. Nina

    Hi Friends,

    Does anyone have some thoughts or suggestions about seating the wedding party’s dates at a wedding reception? Unfortunately there isn’t room at the head table to accommodate escorts. Some of them are friends with other guests and can be seated with them, at least two of the women won’t know a soul but their dates. The only solution I’ve come up with is to seat them with friendly people at a table with some empty spots, so their dates can sneak over and sit with them in some of the lulls.

    Is there any other protocol or suggestions that make the evening more fun for these ladies?

    Many thanks,

    • Alicia

      Seat them with their dates. Sit the best man and date and maid of honor and date at head table and then sit the rest of wedding party and dates at another table or teh tables that the groups they belong to ( ie college friends of bride or family of groom) everyone including wedding party will have more fun. The wedding party wants to be with date and friends or family. The other guests at the tables will have more fun if the wedding party is mixed in with the friends or family they would normally fit with. The wedding party members can then act as hosts for their tables.

      • Michelle

        I (the bride) sat at a sweetheart table with my husband, and I had one table for the bridesmaids and their dates, and another table for the groomsmen and their dates. As I had four of each, it worked well.

    • Jody

      Nina — I think your idea is a good suggestion. I’ve been the “guest of” at weddings where I couldn’t be seated at the head table. I knew very few of the other guests and still had a great time because I was at a congenial table. I’ve also been at the head table when other attendants’ guests were seated elsewhere and nobody was irritated at the situation. To me, the “head table” is for the wedding party, not wedding party and guests/spouse/significant other.

    • Elizabeth

      At both my wedding and my sister’s wedding, we were able to seat attendant’s dates with them at the head table. In my sister’s case, they had a very small wedding party and were able to seat everyone at the table on a dias – where the wedding party is elevated and at one end of the room. I, on the other hand, had a very large wedding party, so we ended up doing a very large oval table at the center of the room. It was not elevated, though. But, if you want the table elevated and everyone facing outwards and you have a large wedding party, it’s hard to do it with dates at the same table.

      Despite what we did, I actually think it’s fine to seat dates at another table. You really don’t spend that much time at the table (just for the toasts and dinner, really), and afterwards people are up and mingling and dancing. I wouldn’t worry about having empty seats either. Just seat them with friendly people, and they’ll be with their dates dancing or at the bar in no time.

      • Alicia

        Another common solution is to have a couple only table and just seat the bridal couple together at a 2 top. That way each set of parents can host a table and the bridal party can be spread amoung the tables. this is particularly nice as the couple barely gets to say hello to one another and then they get to eat together and then go around and greet at the tables and guests.
        The head table often looks awful when it is half empty because the bride and groom are greeting their guests and socializing as they should and the bridal party has deserted it because they want to be with their dates friends and family.

        • Rebecca

          It’s for this reason that the few weddings I’ve been to in my life typically discouraged the wedding party from bringing dates (unless of course they were longtime couples or married) — if you’re a groomsman or bridesmaid, you’ll be chiefly with that group, and not really with your date. It’s not fair to the poor person who’s got to sit for hours just watching you. And, maybe they just mentioned it as “dates” for the sake of simplicity, but if they truly are “dates” and not really “significant others,” I’d advise the wedding party to go alone. It’s not the same as being a regular guest and bringing along a date to dance and eat with.

    • CC

      Seat the guests with their dates. Have the maid of honor and date and the best man and date sit with you and your husband (and maybe more if room), and the rest can sit at nearby tables. We took this approach, and it worked out perfectly. There was a lot of getting up and moving around anyway. It’s possible that separating dates would not be well received, or even deemed inconsiderate.

  2. AA

    Our solution was to make a ‘singles’ or +1 table, where all the attendants significant others sat. It gave them something in common immediately and they had a great time together.

  3. EMILY

    Hello ladies! I was wondering what the proper etiquette is for when an older gentleman who had previously grayish/white hair suddenly dyes their hair brown? Do you comment on it or do you ignore it?

    Thank you!!


    • Elizabeth

      You do not. I think for men it is less of a fashion thing and more of an age thing, and hence a potentially touchy subject. You can complement him in general, though, something like “well, you’re looking good these days!”

  4. Carl

    Scenario: Caring for the children of my girlfriend of ten months. Her sister is coming over to relieve me as I am working that day and must leave before she is home. Work calls and informs me that I am now scheduled to work later and I am now able to care for the children until their Mother returns. I do not have her sisters phone number but she needs to be notified that she no longer needs to come over. The eldest child has the number and I ask him to call/text his aunt, which he declines to do (no comments required concerning his unhelpful belligerence, he and I have had that conversation since), so I take it upon myself to call her, on my phone, using the number in his phone. My girlfriend sees this as a breach of etiquette. I reason that were it a casual acquaintance then my actions would certainly have been so,. However, as the person in question was someone with whom I have often personally interacted, am friends with on a popular social network and who needed to be informed of the change in circumstances (I also tried to contact my girlfriend first so that she may place the call, but she was currently unavailable) I felt that the “rules” of etiquette were somewhat different and my actions did not breach any such protocol.



    • Elizabeth

      I’m confused as to which rule of etiquette your girlfriend believes you broke? Are you not allowed to communicate directly with her sister? How annoyed would she have been to make the trip, just to find out she was not needed? Is there something else going on in this situation? Of course you were correct to call her. You are the adult in the situation, and you are in charge of the care of the children including organizing their childcare in this situation. The person who was scheduled to relieve you could have been her sister, a baby-sitter, or someone else. No matter who it was, it fell to you (the adult, in charge of child care) to make any changes in the schedule. It is not rude to call someone you don’t know if you have some legitimate business or message for them.

    • I agree with you. You were courteous enough to let a person know that her trip would be unnecessary, so that she did not waste her time nor her gas in driving over. You don’t mention the sister’s feelings on the matter, but I imagine she thanked you.

      Your girlfriend should focus more on her son’s behavior rather than on yours.

      • Carl

        Thank you for the comment….again I wish not to focus upon her son’s behaviour (he has a low-level autistic spectrum disorder so his behaviour has to be treated with a specific understanding….and my girlfriend is, without question, an exceptional mother….so please let us not “get off track” regarding the actual question).

        Her sister was unperturbed by my calling, and did in fact thank me for notifying her. I have since apologized for calling her without prior permission to do so which she graciously accepted (rather as Elizabeth stated, she was grateful that I had taken it upon myself to inform her of the change and save her an unnecessary trip).

        This is also not an “argument” about who is right…..just an attempt to understand if I have breached any kind of etiquette, as such matters are of great importance to me (for which I shall forever thank my parents!).

        Being of English birth and rearing (in the US since 1997) and now dating a good old-fashioned “Southern girl” we do sometimes have rather differing perceptions of etiquette, ethics, morals and values and this is rather a “learning curve” for both of us. It makes for some interesting conversation!

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