Working out the seating plan for your reception can be one of the most stressful parts of planning a wedding, especially when you have to contend with divorced parents, ancient aunties that haven’t spoken for years and that one outrageous friend who insists on telling rude jokes at every opportunity. We’ve enlisted the help of the UK’s Top Table Planner, to bring you some simple tips and tricks. Follow these and you’ll have your seating plan sorted in no time at all!

Where should I start?

The top table can often be the trickiest, so it’s best to start here. You may have parents that are separated and perhaps they have re-married other people, so accommodating all those bodies on the top table can be tricky.

Do you have to have a traditional top table?

Not at all! It’s your day, so do things your way. If the traditional layout of a top table doesn’t work for you, don’t be afraid to try something different. A ‘sweetheart table’ for just the bride and groom is becoming a popular choice.

Where should divorced parents sit?

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This depends entirely on your own situation. If it’s amicable, then there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be on the top table, but you may want to keep them far apart. Asking them to host ‘VIP’ tables is often a good alternative.

Where should I sit the little ones?

Younger children should sit with their parents, but you may like to consider a ‘children’s table’ for the older ones. Put some colouring books on the table to keep your younger guests entertained during the meal and the speeches.

Should I sit couples together?

Where possible, try to sit couples together, or at least on the same table. This is especially the case when one of them doesn’t know many other people.

What about my single friends?

Never use your seating plan as an opportunity to match-make. Tempting as it is, it’ll be really obvious and your friends won’t thank you for it!

Should I number my tables?

Table numbers can imply a hierarchy, so we’d always advise naming tables instead. How about names of people, objects or places that are relevant to you as a couple, or perhaps related to your theme?

Is there anything my venue can do to help?

Certainly! Ask your venue if they can accommodate a few different sized tables because this will make arranging your seating plan a lot easier.

When should I start?

Start as soon as you can! Don’t feel you need to wait until all your RSVPs have come back. You can seat close family and friends who you know will be coming and then just tweak as needed.

Any finally…

Remember, do what’s right for you and try not to feel pressured by anyone to put certain guests in certain places.

Start by thinking about who’s likely to get on – the meal is a big part of the day and if you put people with similar personalities together, they’re likely to enjoy it more.


adam-leytonAbout Adam Leyton from Top Table Planner

Adam launched TopTablePlanner in 2007 after realising first-hand how tricky arranging a wedding seating plan can be! Since then, TopTablePlanner has been used to help plan the seating at thousands of weddings and special occasions in over 90 countries around the world. Naturally, it was used to plan the seating at the recent Wedding Ideas Awards.