(3) In completing the table plan, the second-ranking man sits at the left of the hostess; the second-ranking woman at the host's left. The third-ranking lady sits at the right of the first-ranking man; the fourth-ranking lady at the left of the second-highest-ranking man. This continues until all guests are seated. An exception to this arrangement would be if the guest of honor were an international visitor and language capabilities are in question, raising the need for a translator.
(4) If strict observance of rank would seat a wife next to her husband, one of them is moved. Pick that person to be moved and his new position carefully. Cause as little disruption of rank as possible.
(5) The host and hostess do not give up their positions at the head and foot of the table unless a guest is a president, king, or queen of a country. When this situation occurs, the visiting dignitary sits at the head of the table and his wife at the other end. To avoid making themselves the "guests of honor" by sitting to the right of the distinguished visitors, the hostess sits to the left of the visitors, and the host sits to the left of the visitor's wife. The highest-ranking remaining guests would then be seated to the dignitary's right and his wife's right. This rule does not apply to the President of the United States and the First Lady. They do not relinquish their places at the head and foot of the table when they are host and hostess.
(6) The plan in figures 3–2 is for large official dinners.
(7) When there is an equal number of males and females, some females must sit at the outside places on one side of the table. In the past, this has been considered undesirable. To avoid this, two sites may be set at each end of the table. Another way is to seat two females together; that is, move the third and seventh females together, move the fifth male to the seventh female position at the table's end, or make similar changes with the fourth and eighth females and the sixth man.
(8) When there are more males than females, there will be fewer places on one of the sides of the table, and men will occupy the last positions. Place settings must be spaced farther apart on that side to balance the table.
b. Mixed dinner—multiples of four. Arrangements used for seating guests in multiples of four at the usually mixed dinner are shown in Figures 3–3 and figure 3–4.
(1) The plan in figure 3–3 is used when all couples are married.
(2) The plan in figure 3–4 is suggested when a couple (such as the fifth ranking man and woman) are not married. They should be seated side by side.
(3) At tables of 8, 12, or any multiple of 4, the host and hostess cannot sit opposite each other without putting two males or two females together if there is an equal number of each present. To balance the table, the hostess moves one seat to the left, putting her right-hand guest opposite the host.
c. Mixed dinner—single host or hostess. A single host or hostess, or a host or hostess entertaining in the absence of their spouse, may choose from several seating arrangements. The most suitable plan depends on the number, importance, and marital status of the guests.
(1) The plan in Figures 3–5 is suggested for a small dinner of 8 to 10 when a hostess or co-host/hostess is not desired. Usually, this is the plan when the guest of honor is married and is not accompanied by his spouse.
(2) The plan in figure 3–6 is suggested when the ranking male and female are not married, and the single host or hostess does not wish to have a hostess or co-host/co-hostess at a dinner in multiples of four.
d. Mixed dinner—round table. The round table is used for large or small groups. This seating arrangement is very successful in stimulating conversation. A seating arrangement for either is shown in Figures 3–7. This table arrangement is suitable for hosts who prefer not to be the center of attention.
e. Gentlemen—dinners and luncheons. Figures 3–8 through 3–11 show plans for seating guests at gentlemen-only parties or luncheons.
(1) The arrangement for host and co-host is in Figures 3–8. Since the table for a sizeable gentlemen-only dinner or luncheon is usually long and narrow, the host and co-host generally sit opposite one another at the center of the table.
(2) The planning figure 3–9 is used if the party is small or a co-host is not desired.
(3) Another lunch or dinner arrangement at which the host presides alone is in figures 3–10.
(4) The arrangement of the host and co-host at a round table is in Figures 3–11.
f. Ladies' luncheons. The plans in figures 3–8 through 3–11 may be used for seating ladies at luncheons. A member
The hostess's family or a close friend, other than the guest of honor, may act as a co-hostess.
g. Speaker's table at the banquet. The seating arrangement at a speaker's meal is shown in Figures 3–12. The host should seat lower-ranking toastmasters and speakers near the center of the table with the least possible disturbance to another precedence. Lower-ranking toastmasters and speakers are seated so as to remain inconspicuous
3–5. Formal dinners
Completely formal entertaining has practically disappeared from the American social scene because it requires a well-trained staff and expensive table furnishings. For these reasons, informal dinners have now become the norm. Details of strictly correct service, elaborate table settings, and formal menus can be studied in general etiquette books. There may be times when the traditional formality of the past may need to be observed on some occasions.