I'm Nadine – a wedding floral designer, event designer, holiday décor enthusiast, and fashionista based in Columbia, Maryland. Welcome to my blog, where I'll share recent weddings and events, as well as educational resources for my fellow wedding floral designers and freelancers!


Your Wedding Reception Guide: Head Table Design



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Getting married is an affair to celebrate with your friends and family, but it’s focused on you, your partner, and your commitment to each other in matrimony. The wedding ceremony is, of course, the part of your wedding that legally and spiritually binds you together. The wedding reception is the celebration and welcome of your future life together as a married couple. At your reception, you want the spotlight to be on you and your beloved, the stars of the night. So when you’re dining, enjoying a performance, or listening to the speeches your family and friends have prepared, do so at your specially curated head table.

While some couples may opt for only a wedding ceremony, and skip the reception, a large part of the point of inviting your family and loved ones to gather together is to party! Your wedding reception can be a large affair or an invite-only, small gathering. Whatever you decide, you and your beloved deserve to be at the center of attention. Hence, you should sit at a beautifully designed head table to stand out from all the other guest tables at your reception.

Most of your wedding planning requires careful and deliberate choices and organization. There are many things to decide on and design, such as your wedding venue, your guest list, the wedding dress, the wedding party attire, the wedding cake, catering, floral arrangements, and much more. Your options for colors, styles, vendors, and designs can seem endless, leaving you overwhelmed and stunned! While your head table may only be a small piece of the entire occasion, it’s an important part of the wedding reception that highlights your partnership. We’ve developed a guide to help you create a stunning and outstanding head table for you and your new spouse.

The History of the Head Table

Nearly as old as weddings themselves, the wedding celebration following the wedding ceremony, the reception, has been that time for family and friends to shower the newlyweds with hugs, congratulations, food, and gifts.

The wedding reception makes the event memorable for the bride and groom, and their guests. This portion of the event is an experience in itself, as it gives everyone the opportunity to dine together, dance together, express their sentiments and congratulations heartfelt speeches, and even perform for each other. The beautiful, eye-catching wedding decor is just as much a part of the experience as the people there to see it. Fragrant flowers, strings of lights, flickering candles, and soft table dresses are all a part of the ambiance to bring people into the present moment and enjoy it. Since the bride and groom are the center focus of the wedding day, it only serves to reason that their seat should be highly distinct from all of the others.

From the times of kings and courts, the bride and groom would sit side by side in the center of a long table. To one side, there was the groom’s family, to the other side, the bride’s family. For a time this tradition held fast, with the bridesmaids and the groomsmen getting to sit at the head table.

However, since it’s hard to hold conversation down a long line, some people are designing their head table so that there are people seated on both sides of the table. There are brides and grooms that have opted out of the long head table altogether and set up a Sweetheart table for just the two of them instead.

Steps to Professional Head Table Design

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Determine the Best Location to Place the Head Table

Regardless of whether you decide on a sweetheart table for just you and your beloved, or you include the maid of honor and best man, immediate families, or the whole wedding party, it is important to position the table in a place that gives everyone access to you. The wedding reception is technically the first meal with your new spouse, and you want to make sure you enjoy all of the night’s festivities with the best seat in the house.

Each venue is different – some have stages, some have large windows and archways, some are just big open spaces. Depending on the events planned for the night, and the decor you’re looking to have, you can try to place the head table at a place that everyone will be facing. There are definitely places you want to avoid placing your table for safety and aesthetic reasons. For example, you should avoid putting it too close to doorways. You should also be careful not to put it anywhere there will be a lot of electrical cords or equipment as it can be hazardous when you scoot in and out of your chair. Avoid placing the table in front of exit signs, thermostats, or fire extinguishers, as this will all likely come out in your photos, and you don’t want that!

Try to Face Your Guests

The head table should be facing all your guests during the reception. Not only does this give everyone a great view of the newlyweds, but it also gives you the ability to acknowledge your guests. Sometimes, couples remark how quickly the night ended because they had so many guests to see and speak with. By facing your guests, this gives everyone the opportunity to see you and your new spouse, therefore they’ll feel like they were able to enjoy the day with you, even if you couldn’t spend as much quality time as you would have liked. If you have a large venue with a lot of guests, you may consider elevating the head table, or placing it on the stage so all of your guests can see you.

Stand Out Against the Decor

Of course, you want your guests to enjoy and admire the wedding decor. However, the challenge of the head table design comes with trying to make it stand out all while being aesthetically similar to the overall theme or look. Sometimes this can be accomplished easily by hiring a professional wedding designer, like Nadine De Leon. Other times, brides and grooms like to let their own creativity shine. Simple yet special touches can help to make your head table stand out from the rest. While there’s nothing wrong with spending hours looking through bridal magazines for inspiration or searching the internet for a style that’s ‘you,’ there are easier ways to create stylish and stunning head table designs. While the easiest way would be to contact Nadine De Leon, you can also follow the steps below to creating a gorgeous head table that is sure to WOW your guests and impress even the sternest of in-laws.

How to Design Your Wedding Reception Head Table

While there are a variety of general styles to choose from when designing your wedding, such as bohemian, rustic, vintage, or elegant, couples often have a great way of adding their own unique touches to make their wedding so much more personalized and even symbolic. By incorporating some of these elements into your head table design, you can make it stand out among all of the other guest tables, and ensure you’re the highlight of the party.

Table Toppers

Most of the time, guest tables have centerpieces that provide decorative appeal, as well as pleasing aromas from the flowers. However, the head table isn’t like the others. Instead of a centerpiece that could block your view of your beloved or your guests, consider some alternative table toppers. Utilizing the same florals or foliage as the rest of your decor, you can create a unique look by laying them on the table, having them drape over the edges, and maybe even woven around it. You can also include some candles, small lanterns, or decorative vases and glassware.

Table Dresses

There should always be primary and secondary colors in your wedding to give everything dimension. The same goes for your head table. Choosing a color that’s opposite from the colors of all your other guest tables, while still matching your overall wedding theme and design can be a simple and cost-effective way to help your head table stand out. If you can find a material that has some texture or pattern, this will add even more uniqueness and personality to your table. You can even add a lacey table dress above or underneath to add even more dimension. Paired with some table toppers such as garlands, flowers, foliage, and more, you can create a truly outstanding setup for you and your spouse.

Special Fixtures

To help set your head table apart from your guest tables and the rest of the room. With additions like an extraordinary backdrop or special light fixtures above or around your table, you can surely make a stunning design. Nadine De Leon has created stunning backdrops for couples including flower walls, modern arcs, and more. Other options for your cascading curtains, lovely laces, paper lanterns, string lights, large plants and ferns, big balloons, and more. Some couples have added their initials or their newly shared last name on the wall behind them, in front of their table, or even on top of their table.

We know that the options for designing a head table are much more in-depth and complex than you realized. While designing an entire wedding is no easy feat, we want to help you get professional assistance and results, whether your budget is modest or massive.

Even if you decide not to hire a professional wedding designer, you can still create a custom wedding that has all of the elements that make for a stunning and truly extravagant evening.

However, if you are looking for extra design help, or you want a whole team to manage the wedding design planning for you, Nadine De Leon is here for you. We’ve met with hundreds of couples that are all along the spectrum of wedding planning. From the meticulous planners to the ones that only know what colors they like, we can fill in any and all blanks to create the wedding day of your dreams. As long as the wedding decor is true for you, there is always something beautiful about it.

Get A Stunning Head Table Design with Nadine De Leon

Nadine De Leon Designs has provided expert wedding design services for couples in Maryland, Washington, and Virginia. Nadine has over 11 years of experience in working with florals, installations, tapestries, and much more. She has a keen way of understanding clients’ visions and a special talent for using her creative artistry to bring it to life. Nadine designs beautiful wedding ceremony scenery, stunning wedding receptions, holiday display decor, and more! When you work with Nadine De Leon, you can expect professional service, a fun planning experience, and truly gorgeous results.

Nadine De Leon Designs is a one-stop-shop for all of your wedding planning needs. Along with full-service floral and event design services, we offer a wide selection of wedding furniture, lighting, and decor to make wedding design, including head table design, a breeze for any wedding theme you have.

Tour our gallery to check out some of the wedding dreams we’ve helped come true. If you want to learn more about our services, Nadine’s design capabilities, or booking your initial consultation, contact us at (240) 360-1602 or visit our website at



I'm Nadine – a wedding floral designer, event designer, holiday décor enthusiast, and fashionista based in Columbia, Maryland. Welcome to my blog, where I'll share recent weddings and events, as well as educational resources for my fellow wedding floral designers and freelancers!