Who Sits Where at a Wedding?

bride and groom in car having champagne

If you’ve ever been to a wedding party, you probably know that everyone is excited to celebrate. However, the pressure of having to act like you enjoy social functions can be nerve-wracking! And, once you add in the etiquette of keeping things formal and appropriate for important family and friends who are attending the event, you have an even more stressful situation on your hands. Don’t worry though. We’re here to help guide you through all the intricacies so that your next wedding will be as stress-free as possible. Keep reading to learn exactly what you need to create the perfect wedding seating plan.

When it comes to who sits where on a wedding day, the general rule of thumb is that elderly guests and couples have a higher ranking when it comes to sitting. For example, the bride and groom sit at the head of the table, their parents and in-laws sit at the next table, and so on. When guests are younger than the couple, the groom’s parents sit at the head of the table, the bride’s parents sit at the next table, and any guests who are younger than them sit at the next table. While this rule of thumb is commonly followed, it doesn’t mean that you can’t break it and do things differently! If you are a couple who are young, or if the bride and groom are young, you may want to consider different seating arrangements.

Are there specific seats for people at a wedding?

While there aren’t any official rules about wedding ceremony seating, most weddings follow the same basic structure: The bride and groom sit in the centre of the top table, while their parents and other close relatives sit at the opposite end. Guests who are not related to the bride and groom sit between these two groups. This means that the bride’s side of the table has her immediate family members (parents, siblings, etc.), while the groom’s side of the table has his immediate family members (father, mother, brothers, sisters, etc.). It can also depend on who is doing speeches at the wedding, as they will usually be near or on the top table as well.

While this is the standard arrangement, it’s completely up to you whether you want to stick with tradition or change things around a bit according to your guest list. You could always ask your parents or grandparents to sit together, or you could put the bride’s father and grandfather at the head of the tables.

 Who sits at the top table? 

top table for a wedding

If you are planning a traditional wedding, then the top table is usually reserved for the most important people attending a wedding. The bride and groom will usually be placed in the centre of the top table and usually, the bride will be seated to the groom’s right. Then, the best man is usually placed next to the bride and then the maid of honour would be placed next to the groom. Other guests would be placed accordingly depending on how they are connected to the bride and groom.

However, if you are planning a modern wedding, you might decide to place the bride and groom at the bottom table instead. In this case, the bride and groom would be seated at the bottom of the table and the rest of the guests would be seated accordingly.

Wedding seat plan ideas 

If you struggle to figure out who sits where at a wedding ceremony, we can provide some reasonable and time-efficient ideas that will help you easily plan your seating arrangements.

Use the right table shapes

wedding seating plan

Wedding planners will often have a plan for the table layout for the wedding venue, as there are lots of different sizes and shapes for you to choose from. A good idea is to have a wedding seating chart to keep things organized. There are many different table shapes to choose from. For example, a sweetheart table is great for those who want a more intimate ceremony as a sweetheart table is a small and circular table that is reserved for the newlyweds. They will often be sat facing the bridal party and guests. Also, a common table shape for a wedding reception is rectangular tables. This is perfect for those having a bigger wedding as it will allow more room for more people.

Choose where the parents sit 

Special guests at the wedding will often have priority in the seating situation for a traditional wedding ceremony. Therefore, the closest family such as the birth parents, siblings, and children will always be on the top table and extended family will be placed on tables near the top. If the bride or groom has divorced parents, then the seating plans may change to fit accordingly. For example, it may be worth placing a divorced parent near someone they know and filling the space on the top table with a bridesmaid or groomsman.

Group guests suitably 

It is best to group people that know each other well when it comes to creating the perfect seating chart. This means grouping family members that know each other, friends that know each other, and work colleagues that know each other. In addition to this, you may consider the age, backgrounds, and interests of your wedding guests which will help with the actual seating arrangements.


In the end, weddings are a celebration of love. So, keep that in mind and make sure that you are enjoying yourself while keeping things classy and appropriate. As long as you follow these tips, you can keep things nice and calm at your wedding. Now that you know everything there is to know about wedding seating arrangements, you will be ready for anything!

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