Thanksgiving is often a more formal event that calls for specific seating arrangements. After all, this holiday is just as much about gathering with family and friends as it is about tasty food. The seating plan plays a big part in the social aspect of Thanksgiving, so it’s important to put some thought into the planning process. First, come up with your guest list, and send out Thanksgiving cards and party invitations to everyone on the list. Once you’ve received your RSVPs, you can begin arranging a seating chart. Here are some tips for doing just that:
Pay attention to people’s history
If you know you have a few family members or friends who don’t exactly get along, it’s probably not best to seat them right next to each other at the table. Instead, pair together those who have common interests and make an attempt to seat big personalities away from each other.
Don’t pair introverts with extroverts
You may assume it’s best to seat introverts next to extroverts to help those who are shy come out of their shell a bit. However, this may have the opposite effect and be a bit too overwhelming. Instead, put quieter people together, or put an introvert next to someone who you think may be good at helping them socialize.
Opt for benches
Running short on room at your dinner table? Then consider swapping the rows of chairs for benches. This seating arrangement allows more people to squeeze on each side of the table. That way, you won’t have to split people up into different tables. You can also consider seating the children at a separate kid’s table to make enough room for the adults. Provide crafts and fun Thanksgiving activities to keep the little ones busy while the grown-ups enjoy post-dinner conversation.
If you still don’t have enough room at the table to accommodate all of your guests, push a few tables together, even if they’re mismatched. You can always unite each table using coordinating table cloths and centerpieces. Don’t stress about having matching chairs. In fact, having varied seating can create a fun, eclectic environment.
Refresh yourself on seating etiquette
Proper etiquette states that the host and hostess sit at either end of the table – this makes it easy for them to see when their guests plates and cups need filling up. Honored guests, such as grandparents and moms and dads, are placed to the left and right of the hostess or host toward the end of the table. If you’re having babies at your Thanksgiving dinner, place the little ones in a booster seat right next to their parents. This way, they won’t have to keep making trips to a separate area of the table to tend to their child.
Use place cards
You can purchase or create your own place cards for the big dinner. Having those cards at each place setting makes it easy for each guest to know exactly where they’re supposed to sit. Spray paint fall leaves in a metallic hue, and then use a marker to elegantly write the name of each guest on the side of a leaf, or fold a square of brown craft paper and write each name using a calligraphy pen. The place cards you use will be determined by the overall style of your event.
Avoid a cluttered table
With place settings and centerpieces, it can be tough for all of the Thanksgiving dishes to be arranged in the center of the table. Instead, consider a buffet-style event, where people can serve themselves from a separate table. This way, they won’t have to keep asking others to pass each dish, and they can refill their plates whenever they like.