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Ask Kate: Top table for divorced parents

January 24, 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.

   I’m getting married soon and am having a dilemma over the top table. My h2b’s parents are divorced, his dad remarried but his mum is single. It is not amicable, and his dad is unlikely to come if he’s not sat with his wife and we want to include her but it leaves an odd number on the top table. Should we just have an odd number or should we leave someone like the MOH off the table? Would that be strange to just have the best man and not the MOH there? Any suggestions would greatly reduce my stress… this is the only thing stressing me about the whole wedding!

This is a very common question and an issue you can resolve in a number of ways. I am a great believer in breaking the rules of etiquette! Wedding etiquette should, in my opinion, be used as a guide and you should not feel that you cannot adapt this guiding set of rules to give a more positive outcome. It is your wedding, it is your choice. The simplest thing to do is just to add a place at the top table for your fiancé’s  dad’s wife and perhaps even an extra place for his mum’s partner, even if they are unmarried.  If that makes the top table too long then yes you could take the maid of honour and/best man off but it might be better still to have just your best man and maid of honour seated with you while your parents and your fiancé’s parents and respective partners sit at different tables, along with other close family members, right next to the top table. The other, even more alternative option for you to consider is to have a simple ‘sweetheart’ top table just for you and your groom. That way no one feels left out at all. Don’t let it stress you out. Talk about it with your husband-to-be and then discuss it with your parents and venue and make a decision everyone is comfortable with from there. Then your peace of mind will return!

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