When it comes to party-planning, our general golden rule of thumb is “the more, the merrier.” But with the “merrier” – extra laughs and varied conversations – comes the “more” – more needed introductions and personalities to consider. Before a large dinner party (eight or more people), think through your guest list and establish a seating plan. This takes the please-be-seated pressure off you and helps eliminate any awkward musical-chair moments. Consider this your playbook for best seating practices. Ready, set, break bread!
– Big personalities: Try not to seat guests with louder, more extroverted personalities together when there are other personality types to mix in.
– Quieter folks: Similarly, shyer personalities aren’t best seated near the plus-ones – the new boyfriends, girlfriends or friends not yet familiar and totally comfortable with the group at large.
– Opposites attract: When configuring your seating plan, keep in mind how guests’ different personalities can be used as strengths for fostering rich conversation and cohesive connections. As the host and the link between everyone at the table, you can easily bring a wallflower out of his or her shell. Likewise, a great story-teller or rockstar conversationalist – the charmer – can make the plus-one feel at ease and engaged.
– Common threads: A little more thought can go a long way. Once loosely paired, group guests by shared interests – hobbies, tastes, relationship status (no Bridget Jones moments here).
– The Place Card: Write a guest’s name on each one and play around with different seating options. A tried-and-true, thoughtful touch, the place card feels warm and hospitable, like an intentional welcome. And who doesn’t appreciate that?
– Pro Tip: For a fun ice-breaker, start the meal off with a group conversation during the first course. Think everyone-can-chime-in topics like worst Christmas gift, most embarrassing holiday moment or favorite holiday tradition.
What tips or tricks do you have for a-good-time-was-had-by-all table seating? Share with us on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #Makr!