There is a lot involved in planning a wedding and one of the trickiest parts can often be working out who is going to sit where. We thought we’d have a look at what the Royal Wedding seating plan will look like, in particular the church seating plan and the top table at their reception.

Westminster Abbey

The Church (Westminster Abbey)

Royal Wedding Church SeatingAlmost 2000 guests will witness the ceremony from inside the Abbey, including the British Royal family, visiting Heads of State, celebrity friends of the couple and 100 specially invited members of the public.

As the inside of Westminster Abbey is essentially two churches, only those close friends, family and foreign dignitaries seated nearest the high altar will get to witness the ceremony close up.

The remaining guests sitting in the nave will need to rely on video screens inside the Abbey to follow the service.

William and Kate have mostly done away with the traditional ‘Bride’s side’ and ‘Groom’s side’ of the church. Members of the Spencer family will be sitting with the Middleton’s and some Middleton family friends will be sitting on the side of the Royal family.

Our seating plan of the church is based on official information from St James’s Palace but, of course, may be subject to change on the day.

The Traditional Reception Seating Plan

Buckingham Palace

Traditionally in the UK, seated at the top table would be the Bride and Groom, their respective parents, the best man and the chief bridesmaid.

If this was any “normal” wedding the top table might look something like:

Royal Wedding Top Table

Royal Wedding Top Table

Royals don’t have a best man, instead this role is called a “supporter”. This will be Prince Harry and Kate’s sister will be her chief bridesmaid.

We imagine the Royal family would insist on the names being somewhat more formally labelled and so the top table would look like:

Royal Wedding Top Table Formal

Royal Wedding Top Table With Formal Titles

Looking at the odds on the Paddy Power website we’ve assumed that the newlyweds will take the title of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

A Bigger Top Table

Royal Wedding Top Table Including The QueenBeing the Royal family though, there are two people missing from this “traditional” top table layout. Her Majesty the Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh. We’ve only just started working out the seating and we’ve already run into complications.

We haven’t been able to find any reference to Royal protocol for a wedding top table, but as part of the Queen’s 60th wedding celebrations, the Royal Collection published the seating plan from the Queen’s own wedding in November 1947.

With this in mind, the top table may therefore look something like this.

Table Names

We suspect Royal protocol will dictate that tables should just be numbered. This was the case with the Queen’s own wedding back in November 1947. However, if William and Kate named their tables instead, here are some ideas they might use:

Famous Kings and Queens: This immediately seems the obvious choice! They could have Henry VIII, Queen Victoria, Elizabeth I and, of course, William’s grandmother Elizabeth II.

Royal Residences: This would be a good choice too. They might use Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Balmoral, Holyrood House, Clarence House, Sandringham and Highgrove.

Gemstones: The Royal Family certainly aren’t strangers to ‘bling’ so this might be a good theme for table names!

Football Clubs: Perhaps an odd choice, but William is President of the Football Association (FA)!

Universities: Given that they met while at University, using names of famous establishments might be appropriate – Oxford, Cambridge, St Andrews, Durham…

Safari Animals: Both William and Kate have spent time in Africa so could name their tables after animals they’ve seen on safari.

Start Early

The wedding is still some way off and the Royal Household has plenty of time to work out the seating arrangements. As with all weddings though, we’d advise to start the seating plan early as it really is one of the most stressful parts of planning a wedding.

We’ll be updating this post if we can find more information on Royal protocol and hopefully in ten months or so we’ll be able to see how close our predictions were!


Most of the seating plan images on this page were, of course, created using TopTablePlanner. If you wish to use these images on your own website you are free to do so on the understanding that we are credited and that a link is given to

Image of Westminster Abbey courtesy of ‘TossMyPancake‘ and image of Buckingham Palace courtesy of ‘edwin.11‘, both used under the Creative Commons licence.

Share this article...Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest0Share on Google+0Share on Tumblr0Share on Reddit0Share on LinkedIn0

A little bit about Adam, founder of TopTablePlanner...

Adam has been working in the wedding industry since 2006. After discovering that arranging the seating is one of the hardest parts of planning a wedding, he launched TopTablePlanner in 2007. See his Google+ profile.