How do you seat your guests?

shaunMarch 22, 2008

At our Holiday meals there are usually 11 or 12 of us. No one has enough seating at the big dining room table for everyone to sit together so we bring in another table, either a card table or a banquet table, complete with a table cloth and a centerpiece and it's right next to the big table; everyone is in the same room together.

But there is always someone who feels slighted because they can't sit at the big table.

How do I have two tables and not have someone feel bad for not being seated at the big table? I'm having a hard time with this.

What do you do?

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Put the grown ups at the second table.
But seriously, is there any way you could join the two tables together so it's effectively one long table, though maybe not an even shape?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 10:23AM
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I always have a "little boys table"...they never want to sit over dessert and coffee as long as the bigger boys and my grand daughter and the adults, so it works out well.
But more often I am likely to just crowd 12 people around the table.
Linda C

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 10:27AM
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I'd put the host and/or hostess at the smaller table. You could figure a 4-some that would prefer their own company. The tendancy is to put card table chairs with the card table. Avoid that if possible. Put those flimsy chairs at the sturdy table and the nicest chairs at the card table.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 11:08AM
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It will vary depending upon your group -- no solution or "formula" is going to work as well every time. But here are a few observations that may help.

At family events, I have noticed that seating alternate generations together is very successful -- they don't press each others buttons, as it were. So let's say your group of 11 includes 3 of the oldest generation, 4 middle generation, and 4 kidz. I would put the 4 "middles" at the little table and the other 8 at the big one.

Otherwise, I usually start with who needs to sit near the kitchen, or in some other spot for some reason, then fill in from there.

For Passover, we have the big DR table, then 2 or 3 other tables. I start with my husband, who leads the seder, in the middle of the big table (which is sort of analogous to the "head" of the whole room), and my mother, my best friend, and myself in the "anchor" positions at each of the other tables, at the ends nearest the kitchen. Because Passover is about telling the story to the youngest generation, the children are at the main table, each with one parent. Once I get all that done, it's pretty easy to distribute the rest of the adults.

When I feel like one table is not as nice as the other, I often try to put the nicer chairs, table linens, and fancier china or crystal at that table, and make sure to distribute the "ranking" guests, so they sort of equalize. Maybe that would help in your case. At a dinner party, I don't sit couples next to each other anyway, so if I have 2 tables, I split them by table, trying to balance quiet and sparkly people. It both avoids an "A" and "B" table and makes the conversation more lively.

And I always put myself at the "lesser" table. (It's usually nearest the kitchen, anyway.)

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 12:16PM
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Well thanks all - good idea to put the nice chairs at a smaller table.

Each of my tables seats 6 people. They are the same size so I think I'll take Colleenoz's advice and put the tables end to end and we'll just have a very long table.

Watch, someone will have something to say that they can't have a conversation with so-and-so because they were all the way at the other end.

Ha! Ya can't please everyone right?

Thanks again and Happy Easter to those who celebrate it.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 1:02PM
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Shaun if you can manage the space, sticking the tables together is a great solution.

I use a small card table at the end of my extended dining room table and can seat 14 almost comfortably! Twelve is better. When I do this I always serve the food buffet style not home style. We gather around the table,standing behind our seats, say grace, pick up our plate, serve ourselves and then sit for dinner. Way too many people to be passing food!

When I have more than 14 I use two different rooms. What has worked for us is a "cousins" table. All the cousins and GF's BF's, regardless of age sit together. It's a great way for them to spend time together 'cause they don't see each other that often.

My sister used to draw straws for seating at table number one or table number two! That was fun and always mixed us up. Some of the best seating arrangements came from doing it this way . Who could complain, it was an adventure!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 5:26PM
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Ooh I love the idea of drawing straws!! That way it'd be THEIR fault if they picked the smaller table. Love it! Thanks. I'm doing that next time.

As it turned out, on Easter 3 people couldn't make it so we only had one table.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 2:24PM
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