Should you assign seating at your dinner party?
It might be the key to becoming a great host
There's a hard truth that every dinner party host has to accept and, when they do, it will only make their party better: it's not the delicious food or the fancy table set up that your guests will remember most, but rather the way they felt, how much they laughed, and the conversations they had.
All those hours toiling away in the kitchen over steamy, aromatic dishes and all those color-coordinated place settings that you carefully picked out are still important, but dinner parties are held largely for their social function, so it's important to give equal care and attention to your guests as your mushroom risotto and its perfectly paired wine.
While seating arrangements might seem like a thing of the past, or reserved solely for formal events, there is a way to do it so right that no one will question your methods. The Cut has outlined an easy five-step formula to help you master the art.
- Start with the guest list. Your seating arrangement won't matter if the people you're arranging clash too much or aren't interested in meeting new people. It's fun to get a mixture of people from different backgrounds and fields of work so that the conversation never gets old.
- Mix introverts with extroverts. There should be no quiet section of the table, and seating livelier people next to quieter people is a great way to keep everyone involved, no matter how talkative they're feeling. Another tip is to put louder people on the ends of table to ensure the steady flow of conversation on both sides.
- Alternate men and women. Make your dinner party a beautiful microcosm of the harmony between men and women. Additionally, split up couples because they already spend enough time together and a dinner party is no place for inside jokes!
- Put your old friends next to your new friends. What better way to unite your separate circles than forcing them to sit next to each other? They already have something in common (you). The ultimate seating arrangement, however, involves getting every guest to sit beside one person they know, and one person they don't, so that they don't feel overwhelmed.
- Have fun with name cards. Let your Pinterest-pinning fingers work their magic and get crafty with the name cards. You get to be creative, your guests will appreciate the effort, and if anyone forgets anyone else's name, they have a cheat card. Win-win-win!
Though the decision to create a seating arrangement can still seem a little daunting to people, it's a surefire way to create a sense of calm for yourself and add a little excitement for the guests, who are also being relieved of those awkward, long moments where they must all decide where to sit at the same time.So, at the next dinner party you host, put as much effort into the dinner as you do into the party—and if it doesn't work, just load the table up with more wine and play an impromptu game of musical chairs>
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