By Melissa Martin

Wedding Seating: 5 Options for Your Head Table

When it comes to wedding seating, couples tend to stress the most over their guest seating. But many forget the various options for their own bridal party seating. Now, we don’t mean to stress you out with more options; we just want couples to have a good understanding for what will work the best for their type of wedding.

Below, we’ve broken down some of the various bridal party seating arrangements with pros and cons. Which one do you think will work the best for your wedding?

wedding seating head tableThe Traditional Head Table

(Photo: Jeff Frandsen)

PROS: With this design, every person in your bridal party is facing out, with no one directly across from them. This wedding seating design makes it easier for the photographer to take photographs of your bridal party, and it also gives your bridal party a clear view of the dance floor, usually.

CONS: We would not recommend this style if you have a large bridal party. The reason is partially design related and also cost related; with this type of wedding seating arrangement, you really only utilize half of the table. An eight foot long table can normally seat eight, but since you are only using one side, you really only have four seats per table. Linens, decorations, centerpieces, and the like will be more expensive. If you have a bridal party that is 16 people, you’ll need (four) eight foot tables, which can complicate the layout depending on the room.

The Family Style 

(Photo: Sparrow and Lace)

PROS: With this wedding seating arrangement, it’s all in the family (and sometimes friends!). Sometimes the couple wants to let the bridal party sit with their dates or families so the couple decide they’d like to sit with their family. If the guest tables are round, then typically this table is too. This type of layout is ideal, too, if you’d like to incorporate family who aren’t necessarily in the wedding into your head table. The bride and groom would sit on the side that faces the rest of the guests and then their family, or friends, would sit in the other seats around them.

CONS: While you are maximizing table space with this design, it does mean someone will have their back to the action. Usually the head table faces the dance area, so some of your family and friends will have to turn a 180 degree pivot to see the dance floor, toasts, etc. It also makes it harder for the photographer to get photos of you during the dinner time or while toasts are happening.

The Sweetheart Table 

(Photo: Lauren Fair Photography)

PROS: This wedding seating arrangement is perfect for the couple who wants to be able to focus on themselves for dinner. You won’t be able to prevent people from walking up to your table, but you will be able to enjoy dinner mostly just the two of you. It gives you a little bit of “alone” time (well as alone as you can be with 150 people watching you!). This design will also save you on linens if you have a super big bridal party because you won’t be doing an extra-long head table.

CONS: This wedding seating arrangement is not for the spotlight-shy bride or groom. With the sweetheart table, you are the center of attention the entire evening. People will still continually come up to talk with you, even when you are eating.

The Combo Sweetheart + Head Table

PROS: Welcome to the best of both worlds! If you still want to sit just with your sweetheart but want your bridal party close at hand, this wedding seating setup is the one for you. This design is visually appealing as well. If you have a smaller bridal party, you can angle the tables out off of the sweetheart table for added flair. Often the couple is at a small round sweetheart table and then there is either a round table on each side or a rectangular table on each side of them for the bridal party (and sometimes their dates).

CONS: This design is still unfortunately not the best if you’d like to have a large bridal party, unless you seat the bridal party on both sides of the tables, like a family style setup.

The King Arthur Table

(Photo: Lisa Hornak Photography)

PROS: Get a unique look with this wedding seating arrangement for your bridal party! If you’re looking for a statement focal point, the King Arthur is a good fit for you; this layout typically consists of four 8 foot tables put together to form a larger rectangular table 16 feet long and 5 feet wide. With this type of setup, you can seat up to 20 guests. This wedding seating arrangement is perfect for your bridal party if you’d like to serve your meal family style since it will give your caterers more table surface to work with!

CONS: While this layout is ideal for certain situations, it will increase the number of linens you will need. For example, an 8 foot table can usually seat 8 people, but when you take 2 of them and butt them together to create the King Arthur design, you can only seat 12. If the linen cost is already high for you, this may not be the best arrangement for you.


Wedding seating for your bridal party and immediate family can get tricky. Here are some other things to keep in mind:

  1. Does your bridal party have spouses? If so, where will they sit? What if they have kids?
  2. Where will you seat parents or very important family and friends?
  3. Where will the kids sit if there will be children at your wedding?

Our team at Stylish Occasions can help you with any floor plan arrangement so you don’t have to stress! Get in touch with us today!





Unique Wedding Invitations You Will Love

I recently came upon wedding invitations site Basic Invite. They have some great looking invitations and many options available so I asked them to write a guest blog this week. So here goes…


It’s wedding season! But are all of the wedding invitations you’ve been receiving starting to look alike? A white background with jet black calligraphy or maybe a photo backdrop with some white text… Don’t get me wrong these are both BEAUTIFUL choices, but sometimes receiving an invite that is truly unique is much more appreciated and worth while, right? Everyone loves to see something new and unique so they can gain inspiration for their own events.

So with the help of stationery company, Basic Invite, here are a few ways to create truly unique wedding invitations that both you and your guests will adore!

foil wedding invitationsFoil

Foil invites are a gorgeous way to add an extra sparkle and shine to a simple design. Choose from gold, silver, or rose gold and either flat or raised foil. All of these combos are beautiful and elegant and will make an all around pretty invite.


wood wedding invitationsReal Wood

Real cherry wood veneer is pressure mounted onto double thick card stock for a triple which look. The awesome part about real wood invites is their one-of-a kind wood grain texture with knots, coloring, and imperfections in tact.

acrylic wedding invitationsAcrylic

This is a fancy look and brand new… Something your guests probably haven’t seen yet! These clear acrylic stock cards have a bright white design which can be written on using permanent marker. Such a fun detail for your guests to play around with when responding to any RSVP or dinner preference requests.

color block wedding invitationsColor Blocked Invitation Suite

At Basic Invite each of their 200 plus wedding invitation designs are part of a set. That means you can create a custom wedding invitation and match each of your enclosure cards to it. Once you’ve done this, order a pocket invitation to house your cards in. This makes for a concise look that is clean and organized. To take this look over the top try color blocking your cards, making every other card a color of your choice that matches your pocket envelope. This takes the entire look to a whole new level that will surely impress your guests!


wedding invitationsNo matter what you choose you go set yourself apart! Make sure your invitation is a representation of you as a couple and is cohesive to your overall wedding theme. If you are having a tough time deciding, choose one design for your save the date card and a second for your invite. Basic Invite has tons of options and unlimited customization options and they are there to help along the way. Check ‘em out!




Choose the Perfect Wedding Venue with These 5 Tips

wedding venue lancaster pa

This venue was the perfect location for a fun, laid back wedding!

Rustic and chic. Elegant and formal. Bohemian and wild. Whatever your style, there are endless options for you to choose the perfect wedding venue. Most couples have an idea of what they would like the venue to look like, but there’s also some other things you should have in mind before you book that dream venue.

We’ve listed out five different categories to give you some ideas on how to close the perfect wedding venue!


Costa Rica destination wedding venue

This venue (in Costa Rica!!!) had nothing included so we had to source vendors for tables, chairs, linens, catering, etc. It turned out fantastic though!

First thing’s first: will your venue be for just your reception, or are you planning on hosting a cocktail hour and/or your ceremony on-site?

Some venues have pricing for an all-inclusive package, including your ceremony, cocktail hour and reception. Others allow you to add items a la carte depending on your plans. It doesn’t hurt to ask a venue if they will lower the price if you aren’t planning to host your ceremony or cocktail hour onsite. Venues tend to be more flexible with non-Saturday dates, so keep that in mind when searching. The more flexible you are, the more flexible venues can be on their pricing.

When you are inquiring, keep in mind some venues have additional or extra charges for certain services. Common extras are:

  • Trash Removal
  • Heaters or Fans/AC units
  • Day of Event Insurance for the Couple
  • Tables, Chairs, Linens and China
  • Reception Lighting and Decor

Make sure you get everything in writing from all of your vendors, including the venue!


Lancaster Wedding venue

This couple loved candles, check out the fireplace mantle!

Every couple has something they deem as necessary for their wedding to be complete. Some venues, though, have restrictions on certain things based on their rules or location or township. Make a list of your must-haves at the wedding and ask the venues about them before you book. Here are a few examples of common must-haves for the wedding:

  • The Wedding Date
  • Music End Time
  • A Band versus a DJ
  • Sparkler Send Off
  • Candles in the Reception Space
  • Alcohol in the Getting Ready Spaces
  • Pets at the Venue


wedding venue Philly

This venue was the perfect size for their guest count and was able to accommodate their table set up with both round and farmhouse tables.

There is no point falling in love with a venue if they won’t be able to accommodate all of your guests comfortably. Always ask about maximum occupancy and if maximum occupancy still allows for guests to be comfortable.

Some venues have stipulations on the set up depending on the size of the guest list. For example, if your guest count is at the maximum, you may not be able to have a buffet or photo booth/lounge in the reception area because they will not have enough room for tables. On your venue tour, ask to see a floor plan mock-up if you’re concerned about space.


Costa Rica destination wedding venue

This couple really wanted a private island wedding…I got them pretty close!

Whether your guests are from near or far, making sure the venue is easily accessible is important. When you are trying to choose the perfect wedding venue, take a note of whether or not it’s confusing to find. Ask about whether the reception venue provides parking attendants or venue signs to help guide people to the parking area.

If you have older guests or guests who will have a harder time with mobility, make sure you ask venues what their protocol is for these situations, especially outdoor venues. Some will have shuttles or golf carts to assist guests.


wedding planner

Make sure you can bring in any vendors you might have your heart set on before booking a venue. Some venues have restrictions, some even have restricted lists of wedding planners you must choose from (we’re honored to be on most of those local lists!).

Unless you’ve worked in the wedding industry or helped to plan another wedding, you may not know that there are two types of venues: those that are have exclusive venue lists and those that are open to all. Some venues require you use certain caterers, djs, or planners while others are more flexible. If you’ve already fallen in love with another vendor and know you will be using them, make sure your venue is okay before you choose your perfect wedding venue.

There are so many things to think about when it comes to planning a wedding. It’s not an easy task to choose the perfect wedding venue. While our Stylish O Team offers day-of planning, we also can help you take your event from start to finish, walking you through all of the steps. If you’re feeling overwhelmed at all of the things you have to think about to make the wedding day go perfectly, give us a call. Our Stylish O Team can help you!

Wedding Welcome Gifts Guests Will Love

No matter what, the people that surround you on your wedding day are the most important part of the day. Some come from only a few minutes down the road, some travel in for hours via car, and some will even have to take quite a long flight to come see you tie the knot. Ensuring they are comfortable and taken care of when they arrive at the hotel is a must! We have put together some ideas for wedding welcome gifts your guests will swoon over!

DIYing your own welcome bags chock full of goodies will be easy if you follow these steps.

beach wedding guest welcome bagStep One: Think About Your Theme

The way you decide to present your wedding welcome gifts is really up to you, but you can make it easier on yourself by thinking about the “feel” of your wedding. If you’re getting married on the beach, go with a more sun and ocean feel; if you’re hiking out on a trail to your ceremony spot, go with something useful for that setting.

You can go the practical route with the welcome bag: food, bottles of water, aspirin for the potential hangover or car-induced headache, or you can venture into a more creative realm by including items from the local area or items to be featured in the wedding.

wedding guest welcome bagStep Two: Pick The Vessel

There is no written rule anywhere saying you have to pick a box or paper bag for your welcome items! When we give our couples ideas, it’s always nice to think local: who do you know locally that could make a container to represent your style wedding? Or use a seller on Etsy who hand makes items. It’s always good to support small business!

  • Check with a local printer to see if they can custom print a bag with your names on it. Better yet, get a wedding logo made to represent your unique style as a couple!

  • If multiple guests are staying in a suite or a room block, look into who locally sells baskets or woven bags so you can do less of them, but stuff them more fully! A woven fiber basket or bag that is reusable is ideal for wedding guests.

Having a garden-themed wedding? Go with a cute little watering pail or a galvanized bucket!

wedding guest welcome boxStep Three: Select the Goods

Just as we were stating above, your wedding welcome gifts should be helpful and fun! Here are some items we recommend for any wedding:

  • bottles of water
  • gum or mints
  • sunscreen/bugspray if having an outdoor wedding
  • mini bottles of champagne
  • an itinerary for any necessary to-dos (rehearsal dinner, shuttle runs, etc)
  • a thank you/welcome noteYou really can get creative with what you include! Here are some unique items you can add on:
  • We haven’t met a wedding guest yet that isn’t fond of food. Check the local orchards for some fresh fruit that is in season, or if it is winter, purchase some small jars of their local honey or jam.
  • If you’re having a bunch of out-of-town guests, helping them navigate their way around is crucial. If you’re a local to where you’ll be getting married, create a list of must-do things for your friends and family. And if you’re not a local, don’t sweat it; the hotel concierge should be able to point you in the right direction.
  • Practical is always a winner, too. No one wants to think it will rain on their wedding day, but if it looks like it might be a downpour, invest in a few clear ponchos for guests or a few umbrellas would be worth the money!

Make it easy on yourself, and have your bridal party help with the stuffing of the bags.

Your wedding welcome gifts help to set the tone of the weekend. Go as formal or as casual as you would like because the wedding is about you! If you need suggestions, our team is always happy to help. We work with many small businesses in and around the local Lancaster, PA area we are happy to support!


Duty Calls: The Responsibility of Groomsmen Before and On the Wedding Day

groomsmen wedding

Photo: PhotOle Photography

We’re willing to make a bet that you’re not enlisting your bridal party the same exact day you get engaged. Believe it or not, selecting the bridal party can be a point of stress for couples. While you know and trust your partner, you may not be sure about who he is thinking of having stand by him on that day. Or maybe you are, and his groomsmen selection has you a little worried…

Groomsmen can really make or break a wedding – “bad behavior” during photographs can put you behind schedule, and a little too much Jack Daniels before a ceremony can cause some major headaches (to say the least) – this goes for bridesmaids as well!

To help your groom out and also calm your nerves, this list goes over what the groomsmen are responsible for before and during the wedding. Feel free to cut the top of this blog post off and hand it out so everyone is on the same page!


groomsmen Ryan Merriman wedding

These groomsmen backed up the groom while serenading the bride! Photo: Jeff Benzon Photography


Lock Down Your Attire: Like your counterparts, the bridesmaids, you’ll have to shell out some money for your wedding attire. Be sure to take the time to get a proper fitting – a good-looking suit is worth the money and time. The couple will appreciate that you’re looking your best for their wedding! If everyone lives farther apart and can’t make it to have their suits fitted at the same time, there are online programs that make the process extremely easy!

Bachelor Party Planner: While the best man usually takes the lead on planning the bachelor party, more heads are better than one; bounce ideas off of one another on what the groom would like, what everyone can afford, and something that will be a great time for all involved. Don’t feel like you have to plan a destination bachelor party, there are plenty of fun things you can do more locally.

Respond to Invitations: You may receive invitations to an engagement party, the bachelor party, the rehearsal, and of course the wedding day. Be sure to send in those RSVPs so that is one less person the couple has to chase down as the day approaches! (You’d be surprised how many people do not send in their RSVPs!)

Attend the Rehearsal and Rehearsal Dinner: Once the wedding day is practically upon the couple, you’ll most likely be asked to attend the rehearsal. Do the couple a favor and show up on time and focus while at the rehearsal! The sooner everyone focuses and listens to the officiant or wedding planner, the quicker everyone can leave and get to the rehearsal dinner.

Gift It: Go in with another groomsmen or two to create the perfect wedding gift for the groom and the couple. Think of their style and what they would like or what they need, and you’ll hit a homerun!

groomsmen wedding

Photo: Jeff Fransden Photography


Show Up On Time: Be sure to arrive to the getting ready site when the couple tells you to (or preferably a few minutes early).

Help Quell the Nerves: Even for the most cool-headed groom, the emotions of the day can quickly become overwhelming. Help him out with staying calm. Sometimes, nerves can drive people to drink a bit too much before the wedding – help him steer clear of this potential disaster, too!

Go in for the Assist: Your overall job on the wedding day is to help out wherever possible. Moms of the couple need a cooler carried? Check. Groom needs you to assist with his tie? Check. Whatever the wedding day throws at the couple, help out in any way you can!

Usher in the Love: About an hour out from the wedding ceremony, many couples appoint a handful or all of their groomsmen to assist in guest seating. Depending on religious beliefs and traditions, seating will differ. Elderly guests should always be seated first.

Be Prepared to Give A Toast: Usually the best man and maid/matron of honor are asked to give a toast during the wedding reception but sometimes additional bridal party members are too. If you are asked, be sure to prepare something in advance.

Help Clean Up: At the end of the night the wedding planner and caterer will pack everything up, but groomsmen can be a big help by helping to load the extra alcohol and decorations into someone’s car so that the groom does not have to help.

groomsmen wedding

Photo: Jeff Fransden Photography

While this list isn’t exhaustive of what the groomsmen can assist with, it’s a great starting point! It never hurts to have more hands on deck the day of your wedding to organize the bridal parties.  Our team members at Stylish Occasions are experts in “herding” bridal party members and ensuring the timeline is adhered to as closely as possible. Give us a call if you want to talk about our packages and how we can help you with your wedding!