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10 Inspiring Top Table Wedding Ideas

From the traditional top table wedding set up, to seriously unique and unusual ideas, here's 10 ways you can organise the VIPs at your wedding breakfast

a couple and their top table guests all cheer and wave napkins at a colourful reception

a couple and their top table guests all cheer and wave napkins at a colourful reception

The save the dates and invites have all been sent, RSVPs are flying in thick and fast, and it feels like everything for your reception is finally coming together, until you realise it's time to plan the seating chart - including the top table for your wedding.

So many couples dread doing the seating chart and top table wedding planning, but trust us when we say there's nothing to worry about. In fact, here at Hitched, we're firm believers that organising the wedding seating plan and deciding what to do about your top table can be a fun activity you do with your partner. 

Using our handy seating plan tool will help you plan where your guests sit during the reception meal - but let's break down what you need to do with the VIPs on your top table. 

10 Top Table Wedding Seating Ideas & Layouts

Wedding seating etiquette dictates that the happy couple should be front and centre, with certain members of their families and wedding party by their sides on a top table, but as we all know, weddings aren't a one-size-fits-all situation.

If you're keen to follow etiquette rules, we have all the advice here for you. Equally, if you're not into tradition and prefer to dance to the beat of your own drum and do things differently, we have some more unique top table wedding ideas for you to consider.

Traditional Top Table Wedding Plans

a traditional top table wedding set up with eight chairs

If you want to stick to tradition, these ideas will help you plan your seating plan by the book. Some ideas are more traditional, and others will give you a slight variation on traditional etiquette. 

1. The Traditional Eight

Whether your tables are long or round, if you want to run your top table wedding plan by the book, there need to be eight chairs, and these are the people who would be sitting at them: the two nearlyweds, their parents, the maid of honour and the best man.

Left to right, here’s how they’re traditionally seated: maid of honour, groom’s father, bride’s mother, groom, bride, bride’s father, groom’s mother, best man.

However, families, LGBTQ+ couples and wedding parties don’t always fit these traditional formats, so if this layout doesn’t work for you, don’t panic. It’s not obligatory, and there are lots of other ways to seat everyone in style – remember there’s no right or wrong, simply what works for you.

 2. Just Family

Another traditional top table wedding layout is to have just your immediate family with you in the VIP seats. This works well if you have a smaller immediate family in terms of siblings, and also benefits couples with larger wedding parties, as you can seat all your bridesmaids, ushers and other members of your party together on a separate table. 

For an immediate family table, you'd traditionally include your parents and siblings on both sides, but not their partners, so consider how this would impact in-laws and step-parents if you have them.

3. Wedding Party Table

If things are a little complicated with family and you'd prefer to keep things traditional and prioritise your wedding party at the same time, consider a top table with just your wedding party. Not only will this ensure your bridesmaids, ushers and anyone else included feel super special, but it makes for gorgeous pictures of you all there in matching or colour-coordinated outfits. Stunning. 

4. Top Table for Speeches

Okay, so when it comes to speeches, the main thing is to be able to hear them, but it’s nice if your guests can see the person speaking too, right? Putting people who are giving the speeches at the top table, especially if your layout means it’ll have a degree of separation from the rest of the rows, ensures a great view for everyone, even from the back.

Sweetheart Wedding Tables

a couple sat at a sweetheart table - the groom stands and reads something as the bride sits next to him

Fancy making your wedding breakfast feel like a really special date? If so, you'll love the idea of a sweetheart table at your wedding.

"What is a sweetheart table?", we hear you ask. A sweetheart wedding table is a table for the two, well, sweethearts, and no one else. It's a top table for just the newlyweds, where you get to sit together and enjoy your first meal as a married couple, and there's a couple of ways you can do this. 

5. A Private Sweetheart Table

If you want to make this moment as intimate and special as possible, have a sweetheart table for two that's somewhat removed from the rest of the tables. You could choose a table that's elevated, so you're sitting slightly higher up (perfect for people watching at your own wedding!), or one that's slightly to the side or front of the other tables. 

You'll still be part of the celebrations, of course, but it allows you that small element of privacy to gossip and celebrate as a twosome. 

6. A Social Sweetheart Table

Love the idea of a sweetheart wedding table but get serious FOMO (fear of missing out) when you're not in the midst of the fun?

You can have a sweetheart table that's right in the middle of the room, so you can easily chat and socialise with everyone around you, or, if you're having long banqueting tables, sit yourselves at the top of the table, giving the 'table for two' vibe, whilst being surrounded by loads of your guests. 

Unusual Top Table Wedding Ideas

a minimalist top table with black metal chairs and colourful overhead decoration

Away from intimate and traditional, these unique top table wedding ideas are perfect for couples who want something a bit different. 

7. Double Dating

Do you and your partner love double, or triple dates, and have certain besties you always do it with? If so, why not have a top table with your favourite couple friends. Turn your wedding breakfast into the ultimate double, triple or quadruple date for the most fun and refreshing first marital meal. 

8. Two Top Tables

There's no hard and fast rules when it comes to wedding top tables, and no one said you had to have just one. Some couples couldn't think of anything worse than sitting apart at their wedding, but if you're more of the 'We've got the rest of our lives to have dinner together' kind of couple, why not have a top table each?

Each of you can pick your best friends, or family members and sit with them separately for the breakfast. If you position the two tables near each other, you could work it out so that you're back to back or still sat really close to one another. 

9. Hot Seat Tables

For couples who really want to go against the grain, you could go without top tables altogether and leave a spare seat or space on each of your wedding tables, allowing you and your partner to go around the room and move from table to table during the reception meal. 

If you want to do something like this, keep in mind that you don't want to make life harder for the venue. Because of this, we'd advise this style of seating arrangement for couples with smaller guest lists, or those having sharing plates and grazing boards for food to avoid too many logistical errors. 

10. No Top Table

If none of the above top table ideas resonate with you, consider if you need a top table at all?

Have members of your wedding party and family head up tables and forget about a top table. Seat everyone with people you know they'll get on with as opposed to trying to follow rigid etiquette rules and sit yourselves with people you have the most fun with. This works really well with long banqueting style tables, so you can be in the midst of everyone. 

Now you have an idea of what to do with your top table, it's time to think about everyone else. Check out our guide to organising the best wedding seating plan with none of the stress.