Weddings by Mary- Essex marquee wedding planner

How do I seat the top table at my wedding?

Top table seating can be quite tricky, especially with the dynamics and complexities of families.  There’s no such thing as a ‘normal family’ and no one size fits all.

Start then by asking yourself these three questions:

  1. Who do you really want to be sat next to and chatting with during your wedding breakfast?
  2. Do you want to be in full view, many couples don’t want to feel ‘on show’?
  3. Do the complexities of your families make seating the top table a little more complicated?

If you are able to keep the top table ‘traditional’, and in full view of your guests. The following members of the wedding party should be seated here:

The Happy couple sitting in the middle accompanied by both sets of parents, Maid of Honour, and Best Man.

Making a nice even total of 8 which works beautifully on either a long or round table.

However, lets bring the decision of, how do I seat my top table at my wedding, into the 21st Century. Consider the complexities of your families as well as the other component. The style of your top table – long, round, horseshoe, oval. The options are potentially endless.

If your answer to Question 1 is that you really want to sit just the two of you, as the newly-weds, during the wedding breakfast. Then a ‘sweetheart’ top table is the perfect solution. A cosy, romantic top table for two.

If you’re more aligned to Question 2 and would feel more relaxed seated amongst your guests. Then long tables for the wedding breakfast with yourselves on the outer edge of one works well.

For those with parents separated, divorced, or remarried and Question 3 your main stumbling block. Then have you thought about seating them with guests they would really love to be sat chatting & catching up with?  However, if you want them to be sat with you, the happy couple, then throw out the traditional top table seating arrangement given and have everyone seated next to their significant other.

My own wedding day top table consisted of 13 of us – including 8 parents. A black wooden cat sat proudly at one end keeping a watchful eye to make up the numbers. 

Here are 3 further tips to take into account whilst thinking about how do I seat the top table at my wedding?:

  1. Consider where those who will be giving a speech are seated in the room if not on the main top table
  2. Discuss with your venue, or wedding planner, seating plan options for the space in which the wedding breakfast will be taking place
  3. Keep you Bridesmaids, Best Man, Maid of Honour, and Groomsmen close by too.

As you can see there is no right or wrong way to seat the top table at your wedding.

As just like my wedding planning services, there is no ‘one size fits all’.

Find out more about the Weddings by Mary Experience


I’ve spent most of my life in the wedding & events industry. Helping couples in love to celebrate in style is something I adore and am hugely proud of being able to do.

At the very heart of my job is a love of people. A chance to connect with couples is one of my favourite parts. Being a wedding planner means being able to balance the detail-focused organisation and expert problem solving with the chance to have a good chat and a laugh with couples over a cuppa or a glass of fizz.

Mary x