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Planning a dinner party? Read on for tips from seven entertaining experts, including Martha Stewart, Danielle Rollins, and Becca Cason Thrash, about crafting the perfect guest list. Once you have your list, consult this handy guide for help with seating them to ensure a lively conversation on all sides of the dinner table.

No matter how informal your party may be, use place cards to make sure that the people you want to meet will be seated together. Lulu Powers, nationally renowned caterer and author of Lulu Powers: From Food to Flowers 

Always invite a few eclectic and outside-the-box thinkers so people leave a little more informed than when they arrived. Cameron Silver, fashion entrepreneur and author

From the mix of guests to how to seat them, seven entertaining experts shared their tips for crafting the perfect party guest list.

Danielle Rollins

Just like good ingredients make a great recipe, the right mix of people is just as important for a perfect party. You want a balance and harmony of flavors. Some guests are like salt, elevating what is already there, and some are like red-hot chili peppers, really taking over the flavor. It is important to invite a mix of talkers and listeners, people with different interests and some similarities. I also like to add one or two to the mix that always seem to be the life of the party or at least a little nutty! Danielle Rollins, author of Soiree: Entertaining in Style

Six is the golden total here. Two fewer guests and it turns into a double date (or an awkward rendition thereof), two more and the conversation divides and you miss out on half of it. Martha Stewart, lifestyle guru and entrepreneur

From the mix of guests to how to seat them, seven entertaining experts shared their tips for crafting the perfect party guest list.

Becca Cason Thrash

Put together an unexpected guest list that includes people with diverse backgrounds and political views. And always include some controversial types. Becca Cason Thrash, internationally known philanthropist and style icon

Mix generations. A young adult will have a different take on the news of the day, a best-selling book or a film than one who is much older and they’ll  learn from one another’s perspectives. Jennifer Ash Rudick, Director, Diner en Blank: The World’s Largest Dinner Party

For a great dinner party guest list, make sure you have all the right ingredients in the bag – spicy, salty, sweet and delicious. Lucy Sykes Rellie, Fashion Director, Rent the Runway

Guest List Story Welcome Mashup

Welcome photo: Marilyn Monroe
Welcome quote: Hannah and Her Sisters, 1986

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