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Seating Plan Etiquette & Advice for the Wedding Top Table

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The wedding top table is where all the main players sit it is the focal point of the wedding reception and it is from there that the earth-shattering speeches will be made. This article takes a closer look at the wedding top table and sheds some light on who manages to grab the prime seats in the house, and the various options for seating them.



The Wedding Top Table

When it comes to the wedding top table, contrary to popular belief there is no hard and fast rule that can be applied to each and every wedding. Family break-ups, family fall-outs, bereavements or even the presence of an incontinent grandparent could all be reasons for re-jigging the wedding top table layout and, regardless of whatever anyone tells you, you are entirely welcome to do so.


There are an endless stream of possibilities with regards the structure of the wedding top table, and staying true to wedding top table etiquette is always good - if you can get away with it. That said, consider all aspects of your family set-up and adapt things according to your needs.



The Lucky Few

According to folklore, tradition and wedding top table etiquette, the lucky few who make the top table should all sit in a straight row facing the wedding guests. From left to right (from the perspective of the wedding guests) the line-up is as follows:


Weddingsday Chief Bridesmaid the young lady practicing her catching of the bouquet.

Weddingsday Father of the Groom the happy looking fellow later to be found slumped in the corner with a bottle of whiskey.

Weddingsday Mother of the Bride the woman dreading the impending speech her husband is about to make.

Weddingsday Groom instantly recognisable by the beaming smile and slight look of dread at what dark secrets his Best Man is about to reveal.

Weddingsday Bride instantly recognisable by the beaming smile only (and perhaps just a hint of panic!)

Weddingsday Father of the Bride the guy with a tear in his eye and a hole in his pocket.

Weddingsday Mother of the Groom the lassie with the big hat.

Weddingsday Best Man the guy sweating buckets fumbling though his speech cards.



Wedding Top Table Shapes

When it comes to the actual shape of the wedding top table, one layout dominates all others the traditional rectangular set-up with the wedding party facing the guests.


That said, you are not tied to that look and many wedding venues will be able to offer differing styles from which you can choose. The three most popular wedding top table alternatives, alongside the traditional favourite, are shown below:










Using a set-up such as the round or oval looped, can lead to a more friendly and conducive atmosphere at the wedding top table - that said, the overall impressiveness of the occasion can be somewhat lost. Whilst again there is no hard and fast rule, the traditional option is the recommended one, but feel free to choose your favourite from the options presented to you by the venue.



With all of that sorted the final task is to decorate the wedding top table. From tea lights to table confetti, and from designer cutlery and crockery to chair covers there are a whole host of options available. For more ideas and advice on top table decor, be sure to check out our wedding reception decoration articles.



Related: There are hundreds of wedding articles on the site, each filled with superb ideas, advice and inspiration. Check out the links in the left hand column to read more. Alternatively, to search for a local wedding venue, product or service provider, try our Wedding Directory. With over 13,000 companies already listed, you're sure to find what you're looking for.


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