Seating and Serving
Decide how to serve your guests in the most relaxed, fun way possible. Maybe it’s making your meal a buffet or having a family-style feast.
Make your guests feel at home with the right seating assignments. Make sure when you’re planning where people will sit that you take into account where guests will be most comfortable and who they will enjoy talking to the most. It’s important to be aware of the personalities of your guests and how they will interact with each other.
Grab the Best Seat in the House
It’s a good idea when you host a party to put yourself in a seat closest to the kitchen. This helps keep distraction to a minimum when bringing food to the table or serving guests once the meal has begun.
Indicating where you would like guests to sit in a fun, conversational manner is always a good idea at a dinner party. Place cards can be simple or extravagant and are easily adapted to any theme. Making place cards can be a great activity for kids.
If you are having a large gathering where there will be several tables, it can be fun to name the tables. This gives guests a way to find where they’ll be sitting and also helps to begin conversations among tablemates.
Make sure you mix up the table seating so that there is a range of complementary personalities around the table at all times. Your guests will enjoy being around people that make them laugh or can make conversation easily. Take a close look at your guest list and put careful consideration into where your guests sit. Consider seating children who might need help with their meal next to an appropriate adult.
Deciding the best way to serve your guests can make all the difference when it’s time to put the food on the table. Sometimes it’s easier to have everything plated and ready for guests to dig in; other times family-style and buffet tables make the most sense. See what works best for you with a few of our favorite serving suggestions below.
- Plated: One of the most elegant ways to serve food is by plating it before bringing it to the table. This way guests are seated and anticipating what’s to come and you are able to present your meal in style. This method works best when you’re having just a few courses. It can also be helpful when your table is crowded and there is not much room for serving dishes. You can have fun with plate decorations, garnishes, and more when you plate the servings ahead of time.
- Family-Style: This is a casual, fun way to serve food to your guests. Who doesn’t love the idea of sitting down at a table with all their favorites to choose from? With this method of serving, you can put serving dishes of your main course, side dishes, and dessert in front of your guests, and let them choose.
- Buffet: Perfect for picky eaters, buffet eating is the best way to serve up a variety of foods. This method allows people to choose what they want, while the food is kept warm somewhere away from the dining room table. Buffet-style is often the best way to serve a large crowd that might be seated at several different tables or even around a living room. It’s also fun to see what everyone chose.