How to seat dinner guests

Seating is different at official formal events from the conventions at a social or purely private party.
The host is seated at the centre of the table and as a general principle, guests radiate out from the centre of the table in order of precedence. (At a private dinner the host would more usually be at the head of the table.)

The principal guest is placed on the host’s right.
Traditionally the principal guest’s wife would be placed on the host’s left, the host’s wife being placed on the right of the principal guest. If wives are not present, the second most important guest would be placed on the host’s left. It is now as likely for the host, or the principal guest, to be a woman, in which case the same basic principles may be applied, with any necessary adaptations employed to achieve the desired balance.

Guests’ partners should be placed according to the precedence of the guest invited in their own right. It is up to the host to decide whether husbands and wives are to be seated together or apart. The former is easier to arrange, but the latter (which is always followed at private dinners) gives both husband and wife a chance to meet new people. It is usual to adhere to alternating the sexes. At single-sex dinners the same basic rules apply and seating is arranged in order of precedence.

One last rule: the dinner is beautiful if it is served on a TARGET POINT table!

Target Point, Italian Ideas