Sunday, November 7, 2010


A handy and simplified primer on table seating etiquette 

Having a dinner party? Even if it's going to be informal, give thought to the seating. Unless you intend to ask everyone to fall in randomly, most guests-- especially French, won't take a place until told or shown where it is. Don't be caught off-guard. This is the moment when any hesitation on your part can make them as well as yourself feel uncomfortable. Put everyone at ease by designating seats promptly.

Traditionally when a couple gives a dinner, the host seats the female guest of honor to his right, and the hostess invites the male guest of honor to sit to her right. The second most important woman is seated to the left of the host, and the second most important man to the left of the hostess, and so on. Likewise, a single host or hostess places the guest of honor to his or her right.

Who the guests of honor are depends on the circumstances or celebration. It can be an elderly person, an official, a foreign visitor, or a couple over for the first time. You decide who to honor.

No guest of honor in particular? Alternate, if possible, men and women, but avoid seating a couple side by side. Children should be seated next to parents, but don't do this to teenagers!

If it happens--heaven forbid--that you have guests who don't see eye-to-eye, don't spoil their meal by placing them face-to-face. Seat them on the same side of the table, preferably with another guest in between.

Eight or more guests? Use place cards accordingly.

Text & photo ©2010 P.B.Lecron

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