Your wedding should be one of the happiest days of your life, but if you come from a non-traditional background there may be a few minor problems to iron out beforehand. The Office for National Statistics has recently announced that since 1996, the number of unmarried parents bringing up children has doubled. When both the bride and bridegroom’s parents enjoy traditionally conventional marriages, there doesn’t tend to be any problems when it comes to deciding who sits at the top table at a wedding. However, things can be a little trickier when it comes to dealing with parents who are separated or divorced – especially if they have new partners.

When you are getting married you want there to be as little tension on the day as possible. If you are fortunate enough to follow traditional top table seating arrangements there should be little issue when it comes to sorting out your wedding name place cards. Traditionally, the top table comprises of the bride and groom, their natural parents, the best man, and chief bridesmaid. Yet problems can arise when there is significant tension between the natural parents. Perhaps they have remarried and want their new spouses to be publically recognised as a major part of the engaged couple’s lives. Some people may feel snubbed if they are not sat on the top table but certain others are.

One way of solving the issue of table name cards for weddings is to have an honoured guest table situated near the top table. This can be made up of guests such as step-parents, partners of separated parents, bridesmaids and ushers. Most people are unlikely to want to kick up a fuss at a loved one’s wedding and are able to grit their teeth even if they feel that they should be sat with the bride and groom. A lot of new partners recognise the pressures being put on the bride and groom regarding seating arrangements, and will happily accept sitting on an honoured table.

The issue of table seating arrangements should be considered as soon as you send out the wedding invitation cards. In cases of divorced parents, the first thing that you should do is ask them what they would like to happen regarding seating. Some parents would prefer to sit with their new partners, whereas others will sit at a traditional top table for the sake of their son or daughter. Parents who are single or widowed may prefer the comfort of having another relative seated nearby. This could be a sibling of the bride or groom, who will be able to talk to the parent throughout the reception.

The only times when people really fall out about table seating arrangements is when they have particularly toxic relationships with ex partners. If all attempts at mediation fail you could always do away with the notion of a top table and sit people according to friendship groups. Always remember that you are in charge of your wedding day arrangements.