Top Table Seating Plan
Now, are you sitting comfortably? To ensure the smooth running of your big day, it is crucial that the sit-down part of your wedding is comfortable for both you and your guests. Deciding where to seat everyone at your wedding need not be a time consuming task, especially if you are willing to stick to traditional seating plans. This page will introduce you to all aspects of the traditional Top Table seating plan.
It is worth remembering that each family is different so a traditional seating plan may not be suitable in all circumstances. If the thought of the traditional Top Table is giving you premonitions of arguments, bad atmospheres, or awkward silences between certain guests, this section will also help by suggesting ways of subtly tweaking your Top Table plan to ensure there are smiles all-round.
Traditional Top Table
From left to right, the traditional Top Table should seat: Chief Bridesmaid, Groom’s Father, Bride’s Mother, Groom, Bride, Bride’s Father, Groom’s Mother, and Best Man.
In line with tradition, opposite genders should sit next to each other, and the mother and father of the bride should be seated next to the father and mother of the groom, respectively. The only two non-family members who typically make it onto the Top Table are the Chief Bridesmaid and Best Man.
Because the Top Table features only a small number of guests, it’s natural for the Bride and Groom to want to be seated near to other close friends and family as well. It is generally expected that these ‘honoured’ guests, such as the step-parent(s) or sibling(s) of the bride or groom, or very close friends, will be seated on the table closest to the top table, as a mark of appreciation.
Alternative Top Tables
For many, incorporating the traditional top table seating plan down-to-a-tee is all part of the wedding day experience. However, for some, this traditional layout may incite a feeling of stress or dread – definitely not what you want on your big day!
If the Bride or the Groom’s parents are divorced, but are on good terms, then perhaps you will maintain the traditional Top Table layout, and seat any step-parents at the table nearest to the Top Table. However, you may think it is best to include any new partners, or step-parents on the Top Table as well; this may be most appropriate if both sets of parents have divorced and remarried. If either parent is widowed, then it’s possible they would prefer not to be at the Top Table, or that they would want a friend or other family member to sit with them at the Top Table.
If two members on the Top Table are likely to tie each other up in knots, then it may be best to juggle the seating plan to ensure harmony on your special day. This can be done quite easily by reseating the Chief Bridesmaid or the Best Man in between other guests to make a more suitable seating arrangement. Although, be warned, the Best Man may well prefer his traditional outside seat due to its proximity to the buffet/bar!
Finally, if you have any children, it is probable that you would want them to be seated at the Top Table, too. Some Brides or Grooms that are particularly close to their grandparents may also wish to seat them at the Top Table. Interestingly, in America, the parents of the Bride and Groom typically do not sit at the Top Table. If all this Top Table business gets too much for you, you may decide to seat just you and your spouse at a small Top table, and then to have a much larger ‘second table’ where all the traditional top table guests as well as other close family and friends would be seated.
When it comes down to it, choosing the right Top Table will be a very personal decision. This decision will be influenced by number of factors, such as: the total number of guests attending, the space available for seating, and most importantly – how conventional or unconventional your family is!