Do You Need a Rehearsal Dinner Seating Chart?

Here’s what your guests will expect from you.
by Sophie Ross

You've mapped out your wedding reception seating chart, designed pretty escort cards and made sure your caterers know exactly who has the "parsley sensitivity." But should you do the same for your rehearsal dinner? Well, it depends. Here's everything you should consider before making a rehearsal dinner seating chart.

Consider the Venue

Having a casual backyard barbecue with picnic tables? Assigned seating might make things awkward and inconvenient.

But if your rehearsal dinner is taking place in a formal setting, a seating chart is your best bet for smooth sailing and happy guests. It'll also help if you're tight on space. Here's why: Guests will naturally tend to spread out a little more and won't fill up the tables to capacity when they seat themselves. Assigned seating (or even just assigned tables) will ensure you won't run out of room or have to split up couples to make do.

Consider Your Guest List

If you're having a wedding with more than 75 guests, we almost always recommend providing your guests with a seating assignment. The truth is, guests like to be told where to sit, and it makes you look especially thoughtful for seating your guests with people you know they'll enjoy sitting with.

The same goes for your rehearsal dinner. If you have a substantial guest list, then a seating chart is the way to go. You can seat your guests similarly to how they'll be seated at your reception: Immediate family members and wedding party members near you, and then the rest of the guests seated with people they know. (Odds are, a lot of your guests will already be acquainted, since your rehearsal dinner will likely be more intimate than your reception.)

Simply having a tight-knit dinner party instead? You can probably skip the seating chart.

Consider the Type of Dinner

Again, think of your guest list when you consider this. If you're having a small, casual rehearsal dinner with a buffet-style meal, you'll probably be fine without one. But in the case that your rehearsal dinner is taking place in a formal setting (along with plated dinner service and waitstaff), you might want to steer toward telling your guests exactly where to sit. It makes everyone's lives easier—and again, your guests will enjoy being told where to sit, and the waitstaff will be aware of who has food allergies or restrictions (and, yes, parsley sensitivities). Win-win.

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