Wedding Top Table Seating Plan Ideas and Table Layout Advice

wedding table seating planWho goes where? A wedding top table seating plan is something that you should not forget when planning your wedding reception.

And what about wedding table seating ideas for guests? Especially if you have a large number, it’s important that you have them seated at the correct table. Read on for some essential advice guaranteed to help you make the perfect table plan…

So, How about your wedding top table plan? Who are the lucky few who will sit next to the newlyweds?

To help you decide your seating plan at the reception, here are a few tips and ideas for organizing your wedding top-table and your guests as well.

Traditional Top Table Seating Plan and Who Sits Where

Tradition dictates who are supposed to sit in the wedding top table and all of them should be seated facing the wedding guests. Although for modern weddings, this may have changed, the traditional table plan for wedding dictates that the lucky few who will have a spot at the head table are the maid of honor (Chief Bridesmaid), the father of the groom, the mother of the bride, the groom and the bride, the father of the bride, the mother of the groom and the best man – usually in that order.

In the traditional way, where the top table is actually a long table, the order of the seating plan is as follows and facing the guests:

traditional top table seating plan As you can see, the wedding table seating plan alternates male and female at the top table.

Alternative Seating Plan for the Top Table

There are also other alternative wedding table seating plan ideas in case of family conflicts or if you are trying to avoid conflicts at the top table. To help avoid trouble, the top table seating arrangements can be changed to:

alternative top table seating arrangementsIn this wedding table layout, the bride and the groom’s parents sit side by side.

 Second Alternative Wedding Top Table Seating Plan

You can also have another seating plan for the reception where the maid of honor and the best man sit next to the bride and groom:

top table seating wedding alternative plan 2

Unique Top Table Arrangements for Weddings

If the parents of the bride or groom have been divorced and remarried, then the seating arrangement may be changed as well. Instead you could put the children of the first marriage at the top table. Then what about the remarried parents and their partners? Well, you could have them host one of the main tables, near or next to the top table – make them feel involved with your wedding. If they are not sitting at the head table then the parents of the bride or groom are always seated at the table closest to the top table.

Recently, thanks to some celebrities, some couples have a separate “sweetheart table” – where only the bride and groom sit. This is good for avoiding conflict over who sits where.

Wedding Top Table Layouts and Alternative Table Shapes

In modern weddings though, you can actually put anyone you want at the top table. There is more freedom these days on who will sit next to you, especially these days where it may involve more complex family relationships with parents who are no longer couples, step parents, new partners and step children, etc.

Also, these days, the top table may also be oval-shaped, round or oval-looped – therefore you can’t really stick to the traditional wedding seating plan for the top table.

Weddings of today give the happy couple more leeway on who sits at the top table. One thing you can do for anyone who may feel they’ve been left out, is to make them in-charge of a table. For example, they sit at Table #4 and act as head of the table – just make sure each table has someone in-charge.

Want more? We’ve got unique wedding table number ideas to brighten up any reception.

Sam at - Wedding Planner


“Sometimes, organizing top table and guest seating arrangements for weddings can be time consuming. A wedding planner can always help you with a prepared wedding seating chart.”

Read why you should choose Up Lighting for wedding reception or party.

How To Prepare A Wedding Seating Plan

Many wedding guests are couples and it is important that they are seated together during the event. Families and acquaintances also have to be grouped together, to make them comfortable during the reception and of course, it will allow them to have fun as well.

Wedding Reception Seating Plan and Wedding Seating Etiquette

So what about the etiquette and traditions of a wedding seating plan? To organize your guests during the wedding reception, make sure you consider the wedding seating plan etiquette – it is courteous to put friends, co-workers and acquaintances together as this will facilitate a good flow of conversation. Also make sure not to put an outsider at a table where people know each other well. This can be awkward, not only for the outsider but for the group as well. It is also one of the rules of wedding reception seating etiquette not to put two people who can’t stand each other at a table. As entertaining as it might be, you don’t want any fights breaking out. Of course, that’s where your wedding planner or table seating planner will assist you – with the correct protocol and etiquette for wedding seating plans.

These are just a few things that you can keep in mind when making your reception seat plan. Also, Don’t forget your place cards for your tables – to make sure that everything will be fine and organized during the reception and everyone will have a good time as well.

How about your wedding table plan? Was it traditional or unique? Comment, tweet, let us know…

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