Seating plans can provoke a sense of dread in a bride or groom to be. While it’s often obvious which groups of guests should sit where, there can be some problems and the top table is not immune from these issues either. Some parents may be separated, divorced or remarried, some may be on good terms, and some may not. Some couples’ parents may have passed away and they may wish to have grandparents present at the top table, while some couples may have children and would like them at the top table too. There are a staggering number of possibilities to consider and it’s very much individual to the couple.
But the important thing is not to panic. It’s understandable that in the middle of the wedding planning melee, the top table seating plan can give you the shivers, but there are always options. Remember you don’t have to stick to a traditional long table and seating arrangement for the top table. There are lots of great alternatives and no one arrangement is better than the other.
As an award winning wedding planner, I’ve organised lots of non-traditional top tables to suit every couple’s needs. If you’d like to get in touch about this or any aspect of your wedding planning or décor, please email me.
Kitsch and cute, a sweetheart table is essentially a table where the newly married couple sit apart at their own table, facing the rest of the guests. It can be a little much for those who don’t want to feel like they are ‘on show,’ but there are other advantages. It allows you to spend more time with your new husband or wife and allows the bridal party to be seated at other tables giving you scope to move people around more easily as you’re not leaving anyone off the top table. Also consider having a sweetheart table where the newly married couple sit with their kids at their own special table.
Round Top Table
The classic top table tends to be a long rectangular one facing the rest of the guests, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Think about having a round top table as it is perfect for maximising socialising, plus there’s no real middle in this style of table so you can again move people around more freely without anyone left feeling like they’ve been left out in the cold.
Bridal Party Only
If family issues are proving to be a problem with parents, stepparents and partners, then a great solution is to have just the newly married couple, along with their bridesmaids, best man and groomsmen at the top table. This way you can seat the parents and/or stepparents at other tables in the room or even ask them to ‘host’ these tables in a special VIP role.
Having long tables is great when you have large numbers, rustic style themes or you want to make the most of the space in you venue. They are also great if you aren’t keen on a traditional top table, because everyone is sitting equally and no noses will be out of joint. Plus to make it even more relaxed, don’t have any names on the seats and allow people to sit there they wish.