Should You Have A Top Table At Your Wedding?

A top table is an informal name for the table where the ‘most important’ guests sit at a formal dinner. When we think of weddings, we think of the top table as where the bridal party sits. But the question is, do you need a top table? Is it something you should have at your wedding?

Where Did The Top Table Come From?

The table plan. It can fill some people with dread and others with excitement. Whilst it’s simply a plan as to where your nearest and dearest will sit. It’s also an important part of your day and getting the seating plan right can mean your guests have an even better time. But the seating plan starts with you! Where do you want to sit? And this is where the top table comes in.

The top table was a traditional wedding element that ensured every guest knew who the important people were – a.k.a. the wedding party! Traditionally, the top table hosted:

The bride


Maid of honour

Best man

Mother of the bride

Father of the bride

Mother of the groom

Father of the groom.

If you need help, you could always ask your venue wedding coordinator to see what layout could be the best for you and your venue.

Wedding Top Table Advantages

The top table setup allows you to see all your guests at once. This can bring joy as you see your friends enjoying your special day. This also works in reverse as it allows your guests to see you too. A top table can mean you get to spend a key part of your wedding day surrounding by your closest family and friends. A top table can also make a great centrepiece for your wedding reception room, and you can enjoy decorating your table!

Top Table Disadvantages

The disadvantages of the top table can tip over the advantages for some couples. You could feel ‘on show’ and you may not like all eyes on you. It can also cause problems, as families don’t fit into the traditional box anymore. With blended families and extended families, you may not have room for everyone who ‘should’ be on the top table, and you might not want to cause offence by missing people off the table. This can feel like a minefield and some couples choose to skip the hassle.

Alternatives to the top table include:

The sweetheart table – just you and your partner.

Parents table – for all the mother and father and the in-laws.

Round table – you still get the feel of a top table, but you’re looking at family, rather than out into the room.

Your Wedding, Your Way

Here at Hargate, you can have your wedding your way. This means you get to make the rules. If you don’t want a top table – you don’t have to have one. If you’ve always wanted to sit front and centre and admire all your wonderful guests, go for it! We can share all the best spots to place your table. We’d love to talk about your wedding with you, call us on 01298 872591 to talk about your special day. Or email us at with the dates you’d like to book, and we’ll get straight back to you.