It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of seating charts. Anyone who has attended one of my dinners knows that I love deciding where everyone will sit during the meal. Maybe it’s because I’m somewhat old-fashioned when it comes to entertaining? Or maybe it’s because I’m a bitch hostess who wants to control every aspect of the party? Or maybe it’s because I like an element of formality to my events? It’s probably a combination of these three factors, but simply put, I enjoy seating charts because they make everyone feel welcome. Each guest has a special place at the table that is showcased with a lovely place card — it doesn’t get much more fabulous than that! There is a process to my seating chart madness. Here’s how I do it:
1. Start by making a list of the guests in attendance. Arrange the females on one side, the males on the other side, and line up the couples. So if Melissa and Deiter Segura are coming, put Melissa in the female list and add Deiter as her counter part on the male side of the list. Let singles be in their own line.
2. Write each person’s name on a mini post-it. Use one color post-it for the males and another color for the females. Let a plain white piece of paper act as the table.
3. Since my parties are generally female heavy, I begin by evenly spacing the men post-its around the table (the white piece of paper). If you have equal amounts of men and women, arrange males and females alternating one than the other, male, female, male female, etc. around the table.
4. This is where things get fun! It’s traditional to separate couples and I always follow this rule. Couples come together and leave together and let’s face it: spend most of their time together! They should be able to have one meal apart from each other, right? Move the post-its around the table and try to engineer an arrangement that will promote conversation and eliminate awkwardness. It’s perfectly okay to play match maker between single friends or to seat people who have something in common, but have never met, next to each other. Take your guests’ personalities into consideration. If someone is super shy, seat them next to an extroverted talker. If another guest doesn’t really know anyone, seat them next to someone who knows lots of people and can conduct introductions. Guests who need special care should be seated next to the host or hostess. The guest of honor can sit at the head of the table or at the center of the action.
5. Once you’re happy with the seating chart, write it out on another piece of paper. That way if the post-its fall off, you’ll still have your seating chart in the correct order.
6. Make place cards and put them in place when setting the table. Be careful when it comes to name spelling. The last thing you want to do is misspell a guest’s name on their place card!