Editors Note: It is National Etiquette Week – Humans Unite and Be Polite
Joining friends, family or clients for a meal sounds simple enough, but finding the right spot for one’s bum can sometimes cause confusion in the brain. Entertaining at home should be a comfortable and joyous occasion. Don’t let seating arrangements spoil the evening. Below are some simple guidelines to avoid a misstep – or in this case – a misseat.
- The male/female/male/female pattern still works well in most settings. This does not mean spouses should necessarily sit together as breaking up a couple, at least over the dinner hour, allows for fresh conversation. Still, if you feel your coupled guests will be uncomfortable at separate ends of the table, pair them together. Hosting some singles? Kindly seat shy guests next to an extrovert; and consider grouping people with common interests and hobbies together.
- Guests of honor deserve a special spot. If Sandra Bullock’s dog Ruby were in attendance, she should be seated to the right of the host. If a male VIP were to attend – such as Prince William and Princess Kate’s pooch Lupo (a personal friend of yours truly), then he would be seated to the right of the hostess.
- If you are planning on having more than six guests around the bowl, by all means provide place cards. This puts your guests at ease and guarantees that certain pooches, such as Britney Spears’ Hannah and Ben Affleck’s Martha Stewart, don’t get seated side-by-side. After all, what in the world would they have in common? I doubt Martha Stewart could talk spray tans and Big Gulps with Hannah. And it is safe to say that Hannah has no idea the time and energy that a decent soufflé demands.
- Finally, if guests are bold enough to paw at their cell phones during a meal, gently but firmly ask that they silence all devices and tuck them away until after the meal.
Remember, darlings, sharing is a learned skill and practice makes perfect. Happy dining.