So, you’re a private detective. I didn’t know they existed, except in books, or else they were greasy little men snooping around hotel corridors. Me? I’m married to an American agent. Shall we sit for dinner?
Seating people at a dinner party in a way that makes everyone feel comfortable is as important as putting ginger in a Quickie Cake. I always like to seat my guests, even when I’m giving a small dinner party. Occasionally, I’ll pair people according to a common interest or because they would normally never cross paths. Most often, I pair them according to their defining personality type since that tends to yield the most comfortable and enjoyable dinner partnerships. It also ensures a similar and consistent energy level at all points of the table, so no one feels that they’re sitting at the ‘wrong’ end of the table
Most guests fall primarily into one of these categories and pair best with those noted:
The Charmer is the perfect dinner guest. He or she can talk to anyone about anything. Charmers can be seated anywhere but are most helpful next to a Guest of Honor, Introvert or Fascinator.
The Fascinator is the guest with a fascinating personal story, occupation or hobby. Fascinators mix well with Introverts and Charmers.
The Opinionator is lively and tends to like a good debate, often about politics. Opinionaters can be fun but they can also stir things up, so balance them with Charmers and Hosts.
The Extrovert. Extroverts are wonderful at a dinner party because they converse and laugh easily. They can be placed anywhere, just don’t group them together (they’ll be drawn to each other) or you’ll end up with an imbalance of energy. Spread them out and place them near or across from Introverts.
The Introvert. This is the guest who may be shy or uncomfortable socializing in groups. Be sensitive to where you seat them. Introverts mix nicely with Fascinators, Charmers and Extroverts.
Mia Farrow and Frank Sinatra at Truman Capote’s Masked Ball
Mystery Guests. These are the guests you may not know at all – perhaps they are attending your dinner as the date of a guest – so they may be a great or awkward addition. Seating this guest next to his or her friend is usually most comfortable for all.
Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra
Guests of Honor. A female guest of honor should sit to the right of the host, while a male guest of honor should sit to the left of the hostess. Guests of honor also mix well with Charmers and some Fascinators.
Hosts. Generally speaking, you should never sit next to your spouse or partner when hosting a dinner party.
Now that you’ve categorized your guests to optimize their comfort, it’s time to create your seating plan. One of the best is The Seating Planner+ By Go Bee Labs. Smart, flexible and easy-to-use, it allows you to configure any number of tables with any number of guests. The graphics also give you a real sense of the layout in a way that names on paper can’t.