To TOP Table or not to TOP Table?

Source: Justin McCallum Photography

If you ask any bride how they are getting on with wedding planning, it’s likely that they will reply with ‘Good BUT I’ve not even started the table plan!’. The poor old table plan is known for being difficult & straining – especially when it comes to the top table. 

From the moment we started wedding planning we knew we wanted a sweetheart table just for the 2 of us. Although I was 100% set on this, I decided to research other options which only further cemented my want of a top table for 2.

Here is why I decided to do away with the infamous Top Table:

#1 – Separated / Single Parents

My Husband and I both come from families where our parents have separated – some of our parents have got new partners and some haven’t. When we started looking at table plans one of the main problems that presented itself was that ‘traditional plans’ were for couples whose parents were still married / together. Once you start really thinking about separated parents it becomes a logistical nightmare, especially if you know you will have fussy family involved. Who will look after smaller children if your dad has remarried and now has younger children that need supervising? There won’t be room for your dad, his new wife & 3 younger children. What if one of your parents doesn’t have a new partner? So you’ve got your 3 sets of remarried / re coupled parents and then your mum sat on the end – although your mum probably wouldn’t mind – I wouldn’t be able to stop myself worrying about who she was going to talk to during the meal. What if you’re not that close with your Husband to be’s Dad’s new girlfriend  – sure she might be lovely but if she’s relatively new to the scene and you’ve only met her twice – do you really want to share your top table with her?

#2 – Bridesmaids

A lot of the images of the ‘perfect top table’ include Bridesmaids and Groomsmen (seriously, these top tables can go on for miles & miles). I only had 2 Bridesmaids so the size of the Top Table wasn’t going to be an issue for me. One of my Bridesmaids was my sister, so I didn’t want the rest of my family to feel left out if she was sat up there with us – and I thought she might want to spend the some of the meal catching up with relatives that she doesn’t normally get to see. My other Bridesmaid was my Best Friend whose Partner was also invited to the wedding. As much as I’m sure she wouldn’t have minded not sitting with her partner for the meal, I felt more comfortable for both of them that they could sit together and enjoy the meal, rather than her partner being sat with other people that he didn’t really know.  Also, regarding Groomsmen, my Husband’s Best Man was his dad which leads back to point 1 re Parents & top tables!

Also, regarding Groomsmen, my Husband’s Best Man was his dad which leads back to point 1 re Parents & top tables!

#3 ‘Small’ Wedding Guest Numbers

The number of guests at our wedding was less than 50 so it falls into the ‘small / intimate’ category (even though it seemed like plenty of people to me). When trying all of the different Top Table combinations you could have e.g. parents plus bridesmaids plus family and not forgetting the Bride & Groom, by the time you had everyone you ‘should’ have on there, there was no-one left for the other tables. I had visions of sitting at the Top Table and looking out onto this beautifully decorated room and there being no-one there, because they were all sat on our 100ft long top table! We wanted to be able to look out & see all of our Family & Friends enjoying themselves and for us to really be able to soak up that memory, rather than leaning over 10 people to see my Mum at the very other end of the longest top table ever.

#4 We just wanted it to be US

One of the top pieces of advice people have for the Bride & Groom on their Wedding Day is to spend some time alone. We had spent all of our time & money on creating this magical perfect day so we wanted to be able to really appreciate it together. Think about all of the effort you put into choosing your favourite dishes for the meal & your favourite colours for the decorations, don’t you just want to sit back, relax & enjoy it together? The wedding day itself is so busy, make sure you really carve out some time to be alone together, after all it is your day.

I hope explaining my thought process behind choosing a Sweetheart Table / Top Table for 2 has helped with your decision making. Other alternatives to the Traditional Top Table are the Happy Couple sitting on a regular round table with guests or banquet style long tables which can have a formal or relaxed feel depending on your decor. 

Remember, it is your day & it can be crafted to suit you. There is no wrong choice if it is what you want to do.

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