When it comes to wedding planning, thinking about toasts can be really helpful in guaranteeing great photos of this part of the day! There are several options for a couple when it comes to arranging the reception space and organizing the tables. And as a photographer I don’t have a strong preference for one over another. They all have their own benefits and you two should choose based on what you want and value in that part of your day. Specifically, couples are usually choosing between a sweetheart table, a long head table, or a round head table. Below, I’ll share an overview of each of these three options just make sure we’re all on the same page about what they mean. Then I’ll give you some tips to consider for capturing the sweet emotions that always come up as your loved ones share their toasts.
The Sweetheart Table
A sweetheart table is a small table for two styled beautifully and set up for the bride and groom. It is a great way for bride and groom to have a few moments together to focusing on just soaking each other and the day in and eating a few bites of their food! Sweetheart tables can be square, circular, or even half moon like the photo above, but they all serve the same purpose of getting the couple alone together for the meal - at least for the few moments they’ll actually sit down for!
Tips For Great Photos At A Sweetheart Table
1) Work with the band or DJ to have the Best Man, Maid of Honor and anyone else giving a toast stand next to you at the table, rather than across the room. You’ll get to interact more with the person giving the toast and have photos that tell a more complete story - giving more context for the smiles, laughter, and tears.
2) Be thoughtful of what is behind you. Work with the venue to make sure you aren’t sitting in front of a bright exit sign or fire extinguisher (it happens more than you think) or anything else distracting. It isn’t reasonable to ask your photographer to edit these elements out of your photos later. It’s best to avoid having your table in front of them from the start!
See more reception details featuring a gorgeous sweetheart table in this Lenox Hotel Wedding!
The Long Head Table
For couples who would rather sit with their bridal party and/or parents, the long head table is a popular option. Regardless of what type of tables you have for the rest of your guests, a long head table can work well to include all of the people closest to you without looking out of place. The flexibility can be especially nice in terms of numbers. For smaller bridal parties, you may only have one table, but you can also put tables end-to-end to welcome more people to the head table.
Tips For Great Photos At A Long Head Table
1) Whether people sit “last supper” style on only one side of the table, or on both sides, you should be sure to leave the spaces directly across from the bride and groom open. At the wedding in the photo above, the venue manager made sure not to set the table or place seats at the two spots directly across from the bride and groom. This way, they could have people on both sides of the table to promote conversation among their family, but when it came time for toasts, I had a clear view to their reactions the whole time.
2) Make sure that the centerpieces in front of the you two are shorter arrangements that don’t hide your faces. The photographer will then be able to capture the gorgeous florals in the photos of the toasts without having to work around them and therefore having them cropped out.
See more reception details featuring a long head table in the tented wedding featured in my portfolio!
The Round Head Table
Round head tables blend seamlessly into the rest of the reception setup and allow the bride and groom to sit with their small bridal party or with their closest family members. The table is simply another round in a room full of rounds, so it doesn’t necessarily stand out as a head table and really allows all guests to feel like they’re on even footing at the reception. The round style fosters conversation amongst the entire table better than a long table does and keeps the group to intimate number.
Tips For Great Photos At A Round Head Table
1) Depending on the reception setup, it’s great to arrange to sit as bride and groom at the head table with your backs to the dance floor where the toasts will likely take place. When it’s time for toasts, simply turn your chairs to face the dance floor and the person giving the toast. You’ll also be creating a clear view for the photographer.
2) Similar to the tip above for long head tables, make sure that the centerpiece on the head table is a shorter arrangement that doesn’t hide your faces. The photographer will then be able to capture the gorgeous florals in the photos of the toasts without having to work around them.
See more reception details featuring a round head table in this sweet Vermont wedding!