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Ask Kate: Seating Arrangement For Top Table

August 6, 2013

Kate Thompson has been offering heart-felt advice and sparklingly different wedding inspiration for ten years. She is married with two children, and often features in the national press. With her warm and caring nature and off-beat sense of humour, she'll answer every question with knowledgable insight and understanding to help and inspire or simply restore your peace of mind.


Could you please tell me the seating arrangement for the top table.


Traditionally, the wedding party, who sit at the top table, comprises the bride and groom, the bride and groom’s natural parents, the best man and chief bridesmaid. Even where the parents are separated, remarried or divorced, it is still usual for only the natural parents to sit at the top table. Other family members, such as step-parents, are not part of the traditional bridal party but are treated as honoured guests. As honoured guests, they should be given importance by being seated on a table close to the top table. Having an honoured guests’ table also solves the problem of where to sit bridesmaids and ushers. Since these helpers are also honoured guests, they would join step-parents, and
partners of separated parents, on this special table – although young bridesmaids and page boys should sit with their parents.

Here is the top table seating arrangement for the traditional bridal party, from left to right (from a guest’s point of view):

Chief Bridesmaid
Groom’s Father
Bride’s Mother
Bride’s Father
Groom’s Mother
Best Man

Should you decide, for whatever reason, to have a different seating arrangement to the above, there are a few points worth mentioning. It is usual for the bride and groom to sit in the middle of the top table – with the bride seated to the
left of the groom – and for the gender of those seated to alternate. It is also generally accepted that the hosts of the wedding, whoever they are, sit at the top table.

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