e n t e r ta i n i n g
s we head into the holiday season,
tables, I put them at different tables. Think of how
and what I like to call the “Iditarod
much more the couples themselves will have to
of Parties,” I’ve been thinking about
talk about during the drive home that night!
group dynamics and what makes for a great soirée. Let’s face it: nothing is more boring than
Gracious seating plans are easily carried out with
attending the same dinner party with the same
place cards. Think of them as your dual-purpose
guests over and over.
little helpers. Place cards make your guests feel welcome and planned for and they enable you
A good rule of thumb for creating the perfect
to mix up the crowd. Just remember the onus is
guest list is to include 60 percent people who
on you to circulate among your guests and make
know each other and 40 percent who don’t. That
introductions during the cocktail hour before
can be tricky to achieve, but well worth the effort.
dinner. Don’t worry about introducing everyone.
As you plan your upcoming get-togethers, think
The act of the hosts welcoming each person
about shaking up your circles of friends and going
and making them feel comfortable will create
just slightly out of your comfort zone. Consider
an open atmosphere where guests are likely to
inviting a few people whom you’d like to get to
mingle with ease.
know better. The conversations around the room are sure to be more interesting if there are new
And finally, if you’re likely to be a guest as often
acquaintances and unexpected combinations.
as a host this season, keep this advice in mind: go over to the side of the room and talk to the
Seating is another key element to keeping the
person you least want to talk to. When you talk
evening lively. One rule I swear by is to never seat
to people who you may not expect to connect
couples together. And when there are multiple
with, something unusual can happen.