This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Wedding top table(114 Posts)
My partner and I are getting married in 2022. I know we won’t be doing seating plans for a long time... but, what would be the best thing here? My parents divorced when about 20 years ago. My father remarried about 10 years ago. I get along with his wife fine but we don’t talk other than when we see them maybe once a month or so and we’re not particularly close. My mum passed away 2 years ago. The top table at the venue can only seat the traditional 8. I however don’t really want my step mother sat in my mums place as they never got along and I feel it’s wrong. It would also likely make me feel uncomfortable. I was considering asking my sister to sit in my mums seat or leaving it empty as a nod to my mum, who I was extremely close to. Is it rude to ask my dads wife to sit at one of the other tables (close to the top table with her daughter and grandchildren)? And what would you do in this situation? I feel she may get upset / mad if I don’t seat her at the top table.
Sorry didn’t mean to include a vote. But seeing as it’s there...
YABU- sit her at the top table
YANBU- sit her at a different table
Have a sweetheart table. Just the two of you sat to enjoy your meal together and get a breather. Then seat everyone else on tables with whoever they're happy with and no noses out of joint (hopefully)
I'd not have a top table.
Have your best man & bridesmaids or whatever on your table, then your Dad and SM on another and partners parents on a third?
We didn't have a top table. Just us, our DD (5 months old) and the dogs.
I didn't have anyone walk me down the aisle either, we walked in together. But then again we aren't traditional about anything.
I agree with pp, top tables are old fashioned I think anyways because families aren’t as traditional as they once were.
Personally I think asking a couple to sit separately at a wedding is not reasonable unless they are happy with it and know lots of other people at their table. I think its asking for drama you don’t need!
I'd not have a top table either but if you do I think leaving your mum's seat empty is the way to go.
You could do whatever you wanted!!
Maybe do a switch between courses - draw a seat number and swap
You could do a toast before being seated if dad wants to do a speech pre dinner
Sorry about your mum. My parents had an acrimonious divorce, Dad remarried, mother never did - and she was very bitter. I said to my dad that I couldn't have my step mother on top table as it wasn't fair on my mum. However my dad was really upset and he basically said she's been my wife for X years and I don't want her sitting without me so if she's not sitting at the top table, I'll sit with her on another table. I was upset - but I could see where he was coming from. But then my mum was upset when I told her that stepmum would be on too table. I ended up having a larger top table - mum had a family member (one close to her that she picked in lieu of a partner) and my dad and step mother sat there too. I know it's different for you as your mum has passed away. Can you honour you mum by placing a photo of her somewhere? Lots of couples have a photo of relatives next to their cake? Everyone will say 'it's your wedding, do what you like' which it is - but I didn't want to fall out with either of my parents as it was a special day for them too....so if you're close to you dad, I would say try and consider him and have you stepmother by his side...they have been married for a long time. I'm sure people will disagree, but I'm just going on personal experience. Good luck.
I’ve had a friend in this situation and she did a round table of friends Instead and just tried to mingle more, but also I think an empty seat for your mum is quite a nice idea.
I think if you don’t have her on the top table, then you shouldn’t have your dad on the top table either. Otherwise it is going to seem like an obvious omission. She’s been married to your dad for a long time now: how will he feel having his wife seated elsewhere?
I had bridesmaids and best men at our top table to avoid a similar thing with a step parent. I felt it would be awkward to separate them as both of them would have preferred to sit together, even though they’d have done it if I’d asked, and I didn’t want there to anything that might cause bead feeling for my wedding. It also didn’t seem right to have a day celebrating my marriage while disregarding theirs.
It meant that both sets of parents got to kind of ‘host’ a table each of their closest family and friends, and we got to enjoy it with our friends instead.
Might be worth sounding out your dad's views, his wife might be very keen not to sit on top table too
YABU and yes it would be extremely rude to have your stepmum sit at a separate table.
I had a similar dilemma, so I gave my dad’s family and my mum’s family separate tables on either side of our table, who had the wedding party on it (groomsmen, best man, bridesmaids).
I don't see it as rude for your stepmother not to sit at the top table. Top table is B&G, parents and best man, chief bridesmaid. She isn't your parent....
My FIL passed away years before we got married .. We pondered an empty seat but eventually went with one less seat. We mentioned him in ceremony, in the order of service+photo, collection and had the top table flowers done in a way that we could take them to cemetery the next day...
We had the same situation, I am the step-mum, DH's daughter getting married and wanted him to sit at the top table and me not, because there wasn't room for more than 8. This was after we had made a substantial financial contribution to her wedding cost. DH, with no comment from me at all, refused and said we would sit together at another table.
So everything was fine.....except I now know she doesn't see me as family despite all I have done for her over the years.
I can't imagine how hard that would be (sorry about your mum)
I had a top table but it was easier to do as just Mum, Dad, MIL...
I'm sure your stepmum is lovely, but can totally see why you'd feel you wouldn't want her sitting in your mum's place
I like the idea of a sweetheart table as mentioned upthread, of you and DH, that way others can be seated together still.
I’m sorry about your mum.
I think that a more relaxed seating arrangement is probably the way forward.
I had this situation. My parents are divorced and both have partners.
When I got married my mum and dad sat at the top table and their partners sat on other tables with their families (step brothers and sisters etc). No one was in the least bit offended and why should they be!
I also say this as a step mum. My step daughter is engaged and when she gets married I don't for a second think I would be sitting at the top table! I'm not her mum!
It's your wedding day, do what makes you happy x
Top tables make my toes curl.
You and dh host the top table with ushers and bridesmaids, his parents host another table and your dad and stepmum host a different one. Three 'top' tables.
That's what we did as I really didn't need my MIL on mine
She wouldn't be sitting at the top table in your mum's place though, but in her role as your dad's wife. (We had best man's girlfriend at ours, despite the fact that I had never met her and DH had barely met her. But we wanted them both to feel included and welcome.)
Another who didn't have a top table we just had 10 of the big circular tables and didn't have a seating plan everyone could sit wherever they liked, there were also the smaller rectangular tables around the edges of the room, I agree with a pp they're old fashioned now a days, patchwork families are much more common now.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Get started »
Please login first.