The top table at a wedding is usually placed in the room for all to see, it’s where the bride and groom will sit throughout their meal and the speeches. Generally the top table will be rectangular shape and everyone who’s seated at it will be sat on the same side to ensure nobody blocks the view of the happy couple and more importantly their view of all the guests that have come to join them on their special day.

Top Table Seating Arrangements

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Traditionally the way to seat the bride and groom is accompanied by the bride and parents, best man and chief bridesmaid at the top table. They would be seated in the following order starting with bride and groom in the centre with the bride’s parents to the left of her followed by the best man and the grooms parents to the right of him followed by the chief bridesmaid. This is the classic ‘English way’ however there are many other variations of how the top table seating arrangements may take place. Typically in the US the immediate family of the newly weds don’t sit at the top table at all!

Instead the chief bridesmaid (more commonly known as the maid of honour in America) will be seated next to the groom whilst the best man is seated next to the bride, the bride and groom are also accompanied on their top table by the rest bridesmaids and grooms men alternating male, female throughout if possible. However, it is important to keep in mind these are the traditional ‘plans’ and unfortunately whether through divorce and sometimes remarriage or sadly losses in the family these plans have to be adjusted.

top table seating plan

These factors such as the modern step families that include more than one set of parents generally will affect the traditional UK’s version of a top table plan much more than the US’s traditional variation. Nevertheless, if you are American but not a huge fan of the traditional American top table seating plan why not think about going down an alternative option for your wedding arrangements, here’s a great place to start looking and get some ideas to do something different. Some couples may wish to extend their top table plan to include step parents or maybe even their children too if they already have a family of their own. In other cases where close immediate family members have sadly passed away or can’t make the wedding for what ever reason you may wish to invite siblings or another family member you are close too to the top table in their place.

This occurs quite often at weddings and is also a frequent thing to take place when the brides walking down the aisle, they will often ask their brothers, grandfathers or uncles if they have no father figure able to attend. Other alternative options for the top table are much more intimate; there is the top table for just the two of you that’s also referred to as ‘the sweetheart table’.

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This is a great option if you have a really big family or a lot of guests as the majority of the wedding reception (aside of the first dance of course) will be spent socialising with all the guests, it will give you some time alone uninterrupted whilst you eat your meal to reflect on your amazing day so far! Then there is the option where you can choose to sit alone with just your children or even the chief bridesmaid and best man, these again are smaller then the traditional top table but quite often these are the people you feel closest too and who better to share your day with.