How to Arrange Seating at a Rehearsal Dinner. A rehearsal dinner can be a great place for wedding participants to relax and mingle before the big day. More than likely, the rehearsal dinner will include anyone with an active role in the wedding ceremony along with their dates. It is also common practice to invite the immediate families of the bride and groom. With the large guest list, the attendees may or may not know each other. It is important to arrange seating in a way that will make guests feel comfortable, while at the same time encouraging conversation.
Use a marker to replicate the dinner room, including tables, on a large piece of construction paper.
Write each guest name on a post-it note. This will allow you to play with different table arrangements and move them around if needed.
Place the bride and groom at a table near the center of the room. The maid of honor and best man along with their dates can sit at the bridal table as well.
Reserve two tables near the bride and groom for the the bride and groom's parents, and fill the tables with their close friends and family members. This will allow the mother and father of the bride and groom to host their own table and help facilitate conversation among the guests.
Sit the remainder of the bridal party along with their dates at another table near the bride and groom.
Assign young bridal party participants, such as the ring bearer and flower girl, to a separate table with their parents.
Arrange seating that allows for each family to sit together.
Fill in holes with single guests.
Review your assignments for obvious seating flaws and reassign if needed.
Arrange for guests to sit with others who may have similar interests or lifestyles. For example, do not sit the groom's rowdy college friends at a table where a family with small children is seated. Make sure there is at least one good conversationalist at each table to encourage dialogue. If either set of parents are divorced, give each parent a separate table where he or she can entertain family members and friends. If a member of the bridal party brings a date, allow the date to sit with the wedding participant at the bridal party table. Chances are these guests will not know anyone and will feel more comfortable with their date.
Avoid seating guests at large tables. A table with more than 12 people does not encourage good conversation. Always seat opinionated guests with attendees who are less likely to take offense. This will help prevent a heated debate at the rehearsal dinner.