Top Table Planning: Seating | Wedding Advice

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Afternoon lovelies, one of the last major wedding planning tasks you need to do is to make the final decisions on who is going to sit where, and in a modern day society that can sometimes get a little bit tricky.

From wearing relations to squabbling friends to rowdy children. The seating plan can become a bit of a mine field. So, try not to stress, I’ve got some sterling advice from Top Table Planners.

Working out who is sitting where at the reception is often the task that can send soon-to-be newlyweds over the edge! Planning a wedding is stressful enough, without having to think about whether Auntie Joan will be upset if she’s not sitting with Auntie Doris or who on earth you’re going to inflict dull Uncle Jack on. 

 {image credit: round table, burlap runner}

Don’t panic though; here are our top tips to get that seating plan nailed without getting a headache!

The top table

This is where you should start as it can often be the most complicated table to sort out. You may have parents that are separated, one or both may now have a new partner, you really want your Grandma on the top table too – the list goes on.Top Table Planning: Seating | Wedding Advice

 {image credit: long table, chevron runner}

If parents can’t be on the same table or there just isn’t room at the top table for all of them and their new partners, consider asking them to host ‘VIP’ tables close by. This is pretty much the norm in America where it’s the bridesmaids and ushers who sit at the top table.

Don’t feel you need to stick to a traditional top table either as there are plenty of alternative layouts. A ‘sweetheart table’ for just the Bride and Groom is becoming a popular alternative, for example.

Top Table Planning: Seating | Wedding Advice
{image credit: sweetheart table}
Where should I sit children?

It’s probably best to sit younger children with their parents, but you might want to consider a ‘children’s table’ for the older ones. Tables at the edge of the room might mean they’re less obtrusive if they get a bit restless.

Top Table Planning: Seating | Wedding Advice

{image credit: children’s table}

A two hour meal plus speeches can seem like an eternity for your younger guests so plan ahead. Putting some colouring books and crayons or some little puzzles on the tables, these will certainly keep them entertained for a while! If you’ve got a lot of younger guests and there’s a separate room at the venue, consider putting some entertainment in there for them.

We’ve got a couple of single friends that would be great together. Should we set them up?

Absolutely not! You should never use your seating plan as an opportunity to match-make as it’ll probably be really obvious and your friends may not thank you for it.

We’ve both invited exes as we still get along. Where should they sit?

Not at the top table! Other than that, just treat them as any other friend and try and sit them with people they either know already or people you think they’ll get on with. If you’re both inviting exes, again it’s probably best not to match-make…

I’ve got two guests that absolutely hate each other. What should I do?

Now is not the day to try and force them to get over their differences. For the sake of harmony, sit them as far apart as you can!Top Table Planning: Seating | Wedding Advice

My Uncle is really dull. Who can I inflict him on?

Your partner’s ex immediately springs to mind! But seriously, other family members who are used to him would be a good bet. Failing that, try and find someone who shares his interests, so they can both sit and chat about stamp collecting!

Numbering tables just doesn’t seem right.

That’s because it often isn’t! By numbering your tables, some guests may see an implied hierarchy and get offended that they’re only on Table 16.

Top Table Planning: Seating | Wedding Advice

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Think about giving your tables names instead –people, places or objects that are relevant to you as a couple are great examples. There is a whole list of ideas here. 

What else can I do?

It’s certainly worth asking your venue if they can accommodate a few different sized tables. You may, for example, have two family groups of 9 and another two of 7 and fitting them exactly on tables of 8 doesn’t work.

Top Table Planning: Seating | Wedding Advice

 {image credit: mismatched round tables}


Realising there must be an easier way to plan wedding seating than scribbling names on bits of paper, Adam launched TopTablePlanner back in 2007. Since then, it has been used to help plan the seating at thousands of events in over 90 countries. A free trial is available so you can see for yourself just how easy it is!

Remember, you don’t always have to follow a traditional seating etiquette, this is controversial but why not put people where they’re most likely to be HAPPY {that’s you guys included in that statement too}. If I could have my time again, I would definitely scrap the ‘top table etiquette’ and have a romantic little sweetheart table…

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