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How to create a traditional seating chart


  A creative table assignment                           photo by Kate Uhry Photography

There are two types of traditional seating charts, one where just the table is assigned, and guests are free to choose their seating, and the second, with assigned seating at each table. Doing a seating chart is not as easy as it may seem, but there are some tools on the web to help you. Following, is a basic quick guide.

Seating arrangements

You might want to put people next to people they know, or you might want to split them up a bit so they meet new people. But try to put each person next to at least one person they already know. People are more likely to get on well if they are similar ages or have similar interests. It might not be a good idea to put your ’alternative lifestyle’ friend with tattoos next to your 80-year-old grandmother. A little common sense goes a long way.

Generally you should try to put families together and work colleagues together. But if you know people don't get on, try seating them separately. It is worth breaking with tradition to have a stress free event. Avoid mixing age groups too much. Young children should be seated with their parents. Older children can be seated with their parents, or on a table together.

Try to create balanced tables, with even numbers of males and females. It is traditional to alternate male-female-male-female guests in some cultures. If it is a group of people that know each other well you could try splitting up married couples for extra variety. Try to avoid putting guests on the same table as ex-partners, unless you are sure this is OK. Remember that every room has 4 corners!

Leftovers (not the food type). Resist the temptation to have a ‘leftovers’ table of all the people who didn’t fit on other tables. It is probably better to distribute such guests evenly.

Table size, shape and layout: You might want all the tables to be same size and shape or you might want to vary them. Find out what sizes and shapes are available. Using common sense and a few helful tips should make this a stress-free process.

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