If we told you organising seating plans were easy, we’d be lying. And when your family doesn’t fit into those cookie-cutter roles that many wedding traditions demand, then top table planning certainly doesn’t get an easier. Luckily, we’ve come up with some ideas to help.
Top table planning for unconventional families needn’t give you headaches with this handy guide though. Whatever your situation, your wedding style and your personal preferences, there’s an idea here for you to get your top table planning done perfectly, promise!
Try trestle tables
This option works equally well whether you’ve got family members missing or an extended close family. There won’t be an awkward gap when people are seated the length of a long table because space can be absorbed at either end rather than you all ending up a little too far apart.
To make this style even more egalitarian, rather than having just one long top table, make all of your tables this style so that the top table simply becomes another row instead of being a focal point during your wedding breakfast.
Talk to your venue about these possibilities when planning – you may need to hire in trestle tables if your venue doesn’t already own any and the co-ordinators might need a more thorough briefing of your ideas.
You’ll want to know the shapes, sizes and layouts of your tables before you make your seating plan so you can sort it out in as near to one fell swoop as possible.
If it works better for you, then why not forget the traditional seating plan for top tables? Remember that traditions or no traditions, it’s your day and you are perfectly entitled to have it your way.
Traditional top table arrangements see the groom’s mother seated beside the bride’s father and vice versa on either side of the couple. If only one side of your family has second partners, this might not work so smoothly or even be appropriate though, so go with what works best for you.
Likewise, if you know certain members of your families won’t get along so well with others, don’t sit them together just for the sake of tradition. On the best day of your lives, happiness has to be the most important thing.
Forgo the formality
Many couples don’t like to feel on show during their wedding breakfast and are increasingly ditching the tradition of top tables anyway, so you wouldn’t be the first to forget top table planning altogether.
Instead, you could try round tables for everyone at the wedding, with family and friends seated in whatever groups work best for you and your family. Do you really need a formal line up when everyone knows who you are anyway? As more couples choose rustic, outdoor and bohemian weddings, these kinds of traditions can feel a little tired anyway.
Some couples are even opting for a table for two! Their reasoning behind it? Sitting just the two of them allows them a little time together to enjoy the first moments of marriage without any of the pressures involved in pleasing people, talking to everyone and keeping them all happy. It’s your day and a celebration of your love, so if it works for you then we definitely think it’s okay to be a little selfish on this one!