If you are thinking of having a social meal and gathering a group of people, you may ask yourself questions about, for example, how to put the cutlery, what wines to buy, what is the order of the glasses, etc.
In this case, we are going to take care of a fundamental question as far as protocol is concerned: how to seat the guests at the table. Thus, we will see the order in which to seat the guests, depending on factors such as age, sex or the relationship between them.
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Protocol for seating the guests
Most of the time we do not fall into these details, but if you are thinking of having a real formal meal, with very educated and high-level people, it is essential that you take these things into account.
The rules of protocol emerged a long time ago and most of them had a reason to be . It is possible that today some have been outdated, but the vast majority have a use.
In the case that concerns us, understanding and choosing how to seat the guests of a meeting around the table is ideal to promote the proper development of the lunch/dinner and create a suitable atmosphere . Do not underestimate the importance of these rules.
Of course, if the food is less informal and people with good relationships or even in the case of relatives, these rules lose force and are not necessary. On the contrary, if you are thinking of preparing a company dinner or any formal event, we recommend that you pay attention.
Rules for seating the guests
Next we are going to talk about some general rules to see and understand how to arrange the guests around the table.
1. Receiving line
In cases where the meeting is extremely formal , as can happen in political or religious appointments, what is known as a reception line is established. In the event that it is done at the home of one of the guests, the reception line will be the entrance of the room or the house.
The line should be headed by the person with the highest “rank” or importance (host, head of the company, etc.) and the new people who arrive should begin to say hello starting with this person.
2. Helping women to sit
Far from being a sexist act, today it is still considered a gesture of education among those who continue to use the protocol rules.
But the most important thing is that helping women to sit down by moving the chair has a reason for being, and it is because they usually wear more uncomfortable clothes such as some evening dresses. On the other hand, gentlemen do not usually have this problem.
Therefore, the right thing to do is to help the lady next to you.
3. General order
Diners should be placed alternately (right-left) in order of importance starting from the person with the highest rank (which is usually the host). So until exhausting the complete list of guests.
4. Guests of honor
The guests of honor are usually the most important people after the person with the highest hierarchy (the latter is usually the host, as we have said, or the head of the company, for example).
These guests of honor are usually the best friend, the vice president, etc. If so, the guest of honor should be seated to the right (as in the metaphor “being the right hand”).
5. Official hierarchy
If there is an official hierarchy among the diners, as happens in company dinners , the primary preference revolves around the positions that each of the diners has, in addition to sex.
6. Women first
As a general rule, women have preference over gentlemen . Therefore, they usually sit to the right of these.
7. Adults first Older
people have preference over younger people. In the case of an older man and a younger woman, the man (if the age difference is considerable) has preference over the woman.