Enjoying the company of others around the dinner table might be considered one of life’s delights. Though, inevitably, as your guests approach the table – someone will ask “Where shall we sit?” Having a plan ahead of time can smooth the evening, elicit engaging conversation and create a memorable affair. Here, I offer some guidelines on dinner party seating to make your next party a success.

First, think about the personalities of your guests and how best to seat your guests to encourage interaction. The old rule still applies – seat people in alternating sexes around the table when you can.

Second, try not to seat husbands and wives together – they see each other all the time! Do be sensitive to those couples who do like to sit together, like newlyweds (and my husband, who always wants to sit next to me). If a newly dating couple joins you, it’s customary to seat them together.

The best rule of thumb is to be courteous. Don’t seat people next to each other if you can anticipate a conversation full of fireworks. In the same vein, avoid putting the talkative friends at one end and the demure guests at the other.

If a woman is being honored (e.g., it’s her birthday, or she’s an out of town guest), she should be seated to the right of the host with her husband to the right of the hostess. Same goes if the husband is the honoree.

For tables of 6 or more, place cards are a good idea. That way you don’t have to remember where to seat them, and guests don’t have to wait for you to tell them where to sit.

Most importantly – be a good host. When you enjoy yourself, your guests will have fun, too. By planning well, you can be gracious, relaxed and inspire your guests to have a great time.

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  1. I liked what you said about place cards being a good idea if you have tables seating six or more people. My sister-in-law is getting married soon and has been trying to plan out the seating. I think that this is a good idea to keep in mind and it will help us keep track of how many chairs we’ll be needing.

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About the author

Hi, I'm Lee.

I am inspired by my mother, Sally’s, love of cooking and entertaining to gather friends and family together over great meals and conversation. In fact, I held my first dinner party at the age of 16. Throughout the years, I’ve provided recipes, menu advice and cooking tips to friends seeking uncomplicated and delicious ideas for home entertaining.

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