The Top Table


Over my years of planning weddings, couples are staying further away from the long top table with all of their guests looking at them and I have to say I don’t blame them. Who wants 100 people looking at you while you eat your soup? And the most uncomfortable way to have a conversation is with someone next to you while you are facing forward. And if you have a large bridal party you have to split them up anyway in most cases. You can’t have a 40 foot long top table! Well, actually I guess you can but it just doesn’t make much sense.

Standard long top table Source Arising Images

Firstly who goes on the top table? Normally it’s you and your new Husband/wife, your parents, bridesmaids and groomsmen and the celebrant if invited. But sometimes someone says ‘well, I don’t want to split up my bridesmaid and her husband’ or “the best man and his fiancee because you want them to have their nearest and dearest with them too. Or maybe you have a child {or two} yourselves and want them to sit with you. This is where it can get complicated so it may be good to know that you have a few options.

Round top table

Round top table– While not as distinguishable as the top table, a round table is much more sociable option but as a round will only seat up to 10 people it’s not always possible for larger weddings. You may like to have your parents each have family tables which is sometimes nice. They can then sit with uncles and aunts themselves. I also believe if all of your other tables are round it gives a nice uniformity to the room.  I have put a round top table against a nice backdrop for lovely photos and also had them in the middle of the room so the bride and groom can be in the centre of all of the action.

Large oval top table

Oval top table -If your bridal party is larger and want them all to sit together in the traditional way {and your venue can do it} an oval is nice too. Again, very sociable and you still have your “top table” but without being so conspicuous as a long one-sided table. Some people don’t like this because half of the table will have their backs to the guests, my answer to this? Put the mothers {who are the ones who really care} to the end so they can see what is going on. You can then sit across from your friends and have a chat without leaning and crossing other people. Also! Everyone is going to have their backs to someone.

Long top table {Source}

Long double-sided tables – This is my favourite if your venue is able. it creates much more of an intimate dinner party feel than a banqueting feel. Nice and relaxed. Very family style.

Sweetheart Table {Source}

Sweetheart table – Many of you here in Ireland may not be familiar with this one. It is where the couple alone share a table for two at their wedding dinner. This is for the independent ‘we-really-enjoy-each-other’ type of bride and groom. It’s nice to have some time to yourselves while still among your closest friends and as you both get up to work the room, no one is left at the table sitting next to a blank space without someone to talk to. What will you do? Who will be at your ‘top table’?

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