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A simple guide to seating etiquette

When hosting a party, by thoughtfully organizing your guests, you are pretty much doing everyone a favor, ( yourself, too!) In all honesty, I think a lot of people dislike being told where to sit, but for a host who already has a lot on his or her plate, this just guarantees a little smooth sailing for them. Not to mention all of the fun ways to make cute place cards! So next time you are someone's guest that has assigned seating, just remember one thing: they thought about you with all intentions for you to have the best possible time.


Why a seating chart?

When you thoughtfully plan out your dinner party's seating guide, you are preventing a laundry list of things from going wrong, weird or south. Life happens quickly and for all we know "Stacy" and "Tracy" had a falling out recently, so that would call for an uncomfortable evening for not just those two but for everyone else. Avoid these things by taking a little time to map out a good seating arrangement.

Where do I start?

Always seat yourself first. As the host, you will always have first choice on seating. Traditionally you would seat yourself at the head of the table. If there are two of you, then you would take the head and the foot of the table. I know you probably wouldn't mind being in the middle, closer to the "action," but as you and I both know, being a host calls for a lot of getting up and down. The last thing you want to do is disrupt everyone each time you get up.

Next, you will want to seat your guest of honor. The guest of honor is usually the closest person in your life, or a "VIP." Your VIP guest should be seated to your right hand side. This guest will be served first and serving will continue around the table to the right. Once you have those seat placements in order, it gets easier from there. Think who will be best across from them, next to them, etc. etc. And it goes just like that all the way down the line or table I should say. LOL.

Be mindful

A few things to keep in mind when creating your seating guide.

Disperse friends

Some friends just want to cling on to each other and stay in their bubble. This actually ends up having a domino effect. It gaps the group and ends up happening down the line, and no group conversation is to be had. This is not ideal.


We all have those loud friends who can talk your ear off... and we love them! Those friends are actually quite nice when having a smaller dinner gathering. By placing those friends towards the center of the table, you are guaranteed to have nice conversation all evening. If there's more than one, spread them out!


This is an interesting one. Since I started writing "My Pretty Little Cookbook," I have done a lot of extended research on things that I was a little questionable about, and this was actually one of them. I feel like when attending a more formal dinner party where seating charts are in place, I always question how the host is going to seat the couples. A lot of people like to seat the men together and women together- meaning ACROSS THE TABLE. I vote no on that. I like to be next to my man. I get it, people have different opinions but I think we can mostly agree... keep the couples next to each other, not across from each other, especially when elaborate centerpieces are present. But I will leave this one up to you. Either way, we aren't breaking any laws here.


Last but not least, don't forget about your lefties! Pay attention to your left handed friends. They have been dealt a card that us right handed people don't understand and chances are you have probably never thought of this if unless A) you are a lefty yourself or B) you live with one. Be safe and try to never seat someone to the left side of your lefty friends or family members. It is safest to keep them at the head, the foot, or far left end of either side of the table. Ever seen a Lefty to the right of a righty? It's elbow bumping all night. Let your guest feel cared for and thought of. Gift them an enjoyable night just like the rest of your guests.

Please know that there are so many more ways to seat your guests, depending on the occasion. This is for a simple dinner party with no official strings attached, and these are some bits and pieces that I personally like to take into consideration when I am hosting. My main goal is for everyone to feel extremely comfortable and loved. If you have never assigned seating for your parties, one piece of advice I can give you is: do not feel awkward. This is far more normal than it may seem. Happy hosting darlings!

PS: If the table you are hosting on is round, all bets are off 🤣


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