While creating a seating plan for guests likely takes the most time and consideration when it comes to the reception set-up, there is also the matter of where the bride and groom (and wedding party and parents...) will sit. There are a few different options to consider - each with their pros and cons:
Option 1: Traditional Head Table
In this set-up, the bride and groom, plus bridesmaids and groomsmen sit all together at a long table. The bride and groom typically sit in the center with the maid of honor on the groom's left and the best man on the bride's right, alternating boy-girl from there. You might also consider seating your attendants' dates and/or your parents at this table.
Pros: The bride and groom are front and center for the enjoyment of their guests - especially if they are the type of crowd that will initiate many-a glass clinking.
Cons: Depending on the size of your wedding party the table can end up being quite long.
Option 2: Tiered Head Table
Similar to option one, although here the head table is composed of two tiered tables.
Pros: The wedding party is seated more closely together, eliminating any comparisons of the head table to a football field.
Cons: Your venue may not offer this option.
Option 3: Mini Head Table
With this option the bride and groom sit at a smaller head table accompanied only by their maid of honor and best man and/or their parents. The other members of the wedding party are seated nearby.
Pros: The bride and groom will still be front and center for the benefit of the guests while eliminating the possibility of unsightly over-long or over-tiered tables.
Cons: The wedding party is not seated together
Option 4: Sweetheart Table
The sweetheart table allows for the bride and groom to dine solo at a table for two. Other members of the wedding party are seated nearby.
Pros: The bride and groom (possibly) have some alone time after all of the hectic planning while the other members of your wedding party can easily be seated with their dates.
Cons: For some, this option will place them too glaringly in the spotlight.
Option 5: Integration
The happy couple may decide that you would rather sit amongst the guests than in front of them, at a table with parents or other members of the wedding party.
Pros: This option allows for greater flexibility both in who the bride and groom sit with and possible layout options for the room as no space will have to be set aside for a head table.
Cons: Guests may be disappointed that they cannot easily ogle the bride and groom during dinner.
If you have experience with any of these set-ups, please feel free to share your thoughts in our comment section!