The Secret to Seating Arrangements

The Secret to Seating Arrangements

Seating Arrangements - a crusty old thing from bygone days or the secret sauce to a fun dinner party? I firmly believe the latter, and I'll show you why (and hope that I've convinced you at the end of this blog!). I understand that not everyone feels comfortable with seating strangers next to each other. But bear with me - seating charts are an art form that can be learned.

Let's quickly dive into the basics: a seating arrangement usually means a mixed group of women and men. The woman considers the man sitting to her left as her 'dinner partner', and the man the woman to his right as his 'dinner partner'. The idea is that this 'dinner couple' talk to each other throughout the dinner, and ideally are interested in finding out more about the other person.

There are levels of stuffiness to this. A black tie dinner might mean that the male dinner party seeks out his dinner partner, escorts her to the table, makes sure that she has everything she needs, etc. A dinner party between friends usually doesn't require any of this, and it comes more down to how the table is mixed.


A floral colorful table set for a dinner party with seating arrangements.

In both cases, creating a seating chart before lies in the hands of the host. A big party seating chart can take a good while to get right, and even then you're often plagued with last minute cancellations. For the sake of making this applicable to your dinner parties, I'll only look at my favorite tricks for dinner party seating arrangements here.

Start with writing down everything you need to know. Do you have an even number of men and women, an even number of invitees even, what shape is your table? What about your guests: do they all know each other? Who is bubbly and likes to talk, who more of an introvert? Who might not know each other yet but has similar interests? Etc.

Then I start placing people, often starting with me. I either place someone to my left, i.e. my dinner partner, who is a wild card (eg. someone I've never met) or simply the person I really look forward to seeing. That person then gets someone who might potentially be a match (curious and introvert; similar jobs/hobbies; kids in the same school; etc), and so on. This goes on until the table is placed, and I've made sure that no couples are placed next to each other or even close to each other if the dinner party is big enough.

Yes, couples should never sit next to each other, no matter the occasion. If you don't want to talk to and meet other people then please don't accept the invitation to a dinner party.


A blue and pink floral table setting with a name card.

I'm 50/50 on name cards. My hand writing can be terrible if I don't concentrate - but then they look very pretty if done well.

Don't even start to think that I ever get this right on the first try. I place and move and place and move, and very often it doesn't feel perfect. And those are often the dinner parties that are the most fun.

Because never forget: a seating arrangement is there to help create a fun atmosphere, with people chatting, laughing and having a good time, you included!

Has this helped? What do you think about a seating arrangement? Let me know in the comments!

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