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Author Topic: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner  (Read 56298 times)

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Flora Louise

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Re: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner
« Reply #45 on: November 28, 2007, 09:54:53 AM »
I do this at every dinner party. I learned it from my mother. In fact, I own not one, but two sets of porcelain placecards.

It isn't meant to be presumptous, jimithing, it's meant to facilitate conversation. My rule is to put guests between a friend and a stranger. But I would not put a couple together. I wouldn't even think about it. OTOH, I have a relatively small dinner table (10 people w/leaves inserted) so it isn't as if one half is in dining Siberia.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2007, 09:59:30 AM by Flora Louise »
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jimithing

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Re: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner
« Reply #46 on: November 28, 2007, 10:00:04 AM »

It isn't meant to be presumptous, jimithing, it's meant to facilitate conversation. My rule is to put guests between a friend and a stranger. But I would not put a couple together. I wouldn't even think about it. OTH, I have a relatively small dinner table (10 people w/leaves inserted) so it isn't as if one half is in dining Siberia.

I understand the reasoning behind it, but I guess that I feel that some of the rules of hosting a party tend to be at odds with each other on this one.  The main one being to meet the needs of the guests, and inviting someone who has social anxiety and sitting them away from their spouse, who they are probably comfortable with, doesn't seem to be doing that.

There were a few posts where posters basically said that adults should be able to socialize and just deal with it. If that's the case, I guess it would seem to me that they should be able to do so without help from someone else.  I wouldn't have an issue with this, as I tend to be social in small parties, but I know, without a doubt, that DH would be very uncomfortable, so I guess in my case it would really be best to decline the invitation.

Can I invite myself to your fun, fancy dinner parties, Flora?  ;)

NOVA Lady

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Re: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner
« Reply #47 on: November 28, 2007, 10:00:43 AM »

" And how rude are couples generally that one would need to implement this rule? "

You'd be amazed.

" How many people here throw formal dinner parties with place settings that people MUST sit at?  I'm honestly curious."


I do.

Me too :)

maryb

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Re: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner
« Reply #48 on: November 28, 2007, 10:00:51 AM »

" And how rude are couples generally that one would need to implement this rule? "

You'd be amazed.

" How many people here throw formal dinner parties with place settings that people MUST sit at?  I'm honestly curious."


I do.

I doubt I would be amazed, because why on earth would you invite such rude people to your home so that you need to implement a rule like this?  Totally ridiculous.  If I invited a couple to a multiple couple dinner party, and they didn't talk to anyone but each other, they wouldn't be invited back.  

ZipTheWonder

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Re: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner
« Reply #49 on: November 28, 2007, 10:04:04 AM »
Has anyone been to a dinner party where this was done, and how did it work out?

I do most of the time and it works fine.  But it also works fine if I don't.  I really don't see that this rule improves my dinner parties nor does ignoring it damage the party.  That's my experience.

Squeaks

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Re: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner
« Reply #50 on: November 28, 2007, 10:04:33 AM »
I do this at every dinner party. I learned it from my mother. In fact, I own not one but two sets of porcelain placecards.

It isn't meant to be presumptous, jimithing, it's meant to facilitate conversation. My rule is to put guests between a friend and a stranger. But I would not put a couple together. I wouldn't even think about it. OTH, I have a relatively small dinner table (10 people w/leaves inserted) so it isn't as if one half is in dining Siberia.


So what do you do if one half of the couple does not know anyone?  I think your idea of a friend and a stranger is great. But if you think about it - you could easily have a situation where one poor person is sitting between two strangers and the strangers on either side are sitting next to a friend they already know. Seems that would actually act against what you are trying for.

You may think it "facilitates conversation"  and that is fine, maybe it works for you and your group - good for you.  But i can promise you that it would not do so for me.  It would completely prevent it, and prevent me from ever accepting an invitation again.  An evening as a wall flower just does not appeal to me.

NOVA Lady

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Re: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner
« Reply #51 on: November 28, 2007, 10:07:04 AM »
I do get what some people are saying about it preventing conversation for the shy.....but in my experience most of the formal dinners I host and go to....there is a cocktail hour for mingling with your SO and for me/the host to introduce those sitting together who we think might have interests in common and the such.

EeyoreCorbie

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Re: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner
« Reply #52 on: November 28, 2007, 10:14:50 AM »
I despise "forced mingling" and generally the people who do it. The older I've gotten the greater my social anxiety has become. I would be okay if I knew most everyone there, but if I was seated next to new people without my DH next to me I would probably freak out inside.

I can fake it with the best of them, but I would be quietly miserable and try to leave as soon as possible. I would then try to avoid that person from then on out because I would feel uncomfortable everytime I was around them. I know this isn't the best reaction, but I can't seem to stop myself.

This is one of those cases that I think etiquette can be very rude.

Squeaks

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Re: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner
« Reply #53 on: November 28, 2007, 10:16:31 AM »
I do get what some people are saying about it preventing conversation for the shy.....but in my experience most of the formal dinners I host and go to....there is a cocktail hour for mingling with your SO and for me/the host to introduce those sitting together who we think might have interests in common and the such.

But again the assigned seating works against this theory

yes it is good to introduce people - but you never know who will hit it off. Would it not be better to let people who do hit it off during cocktail to sit together rather than yanking them apart and forcing them to sit with other people they may not get along with as well?  To me if people hit it off the best would be to encourage it rather than in a sense forbid it.

And really the cocktail hour only prolongs the inevitable - i really do not see why that would help anything.
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Bibliophile

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Re: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner
« Reply #54 on: November 28, 2007, 10:19:03 AM »
You know, I've read a lot of period romance novels (I have a book addiction in general, but will pick out a romance for a quick read)....  In every one that has a dinner party, they split up the couples so I assume that this is a long held tradition for some formal dinner parties.  I think that the woman in question should've politely refrained from whining for a couple of hours - it's not that hard. 

“Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.” ~ Groucho Marx

ZipTheWonder

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Re: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner
« Reply #55 on: November 28, 2007, 10:24:36 AM »
I think size matters in these situations.  This rule makes a lot more sense at very large functions.  On the other hand, it doesn't make much sense at my dinner table that seats 12.  In that case, everybody is pretty much 'near' everybody else. 

I expect to see this rule applied at large parties in hotel ballrooms, etc. but not so much in private homes.

Brentwood

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Re: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner
« Reply #56 on: November 28, 2007, 10:25:35 AM »
Quote
While it was formal, for the most part everybody else knew each other so it ended up being a very pleasant evening and flowed along just fine, and in some ways they were kind of "playing" with etiquette rules of seating. Before desert there was a bit of tounge in cheek exchange of "oh, aren't all the men supposed to move two places down the table now to sit next to someone different?" (anybody else heard of that?), which they all did and it was quite a nice evening all in. 


I was at a formal dinner party in New Zealand, and we were seated at 3 or 4 round tables.  After every course, the men had to get up and move to a different table, and at no time were you allowed to sit next to your spouse/so/bf. 

It was actually quite fun!  I met so many people because after each course I had two new partners sitting next to me.  It made mingling after dinner much easier too.

That sounds like a wonderful party! Right up my alley. :)

cruise07

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Re: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner
« Reply #57 on: November 28, 2007, 10:38:19 AM »
imo you always seat couples together, I to would be offended. The hostess should have known better.

Twik

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Re: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner
« Reply #58 on: November 28, 2007, 10:41:08 AM »
Now though I do not know.  I would be tempted to use the "well i assumed it was a silly little mix up and i did not want to bother you (the host/hostess) with trivial problems so i just fixed it myself to save you the trouble" Not sure i would - but again very tempting.

Why exactly do you think you have the right to fix a "trivial" problem that is actually correct etiquette?

Again, unless people have some sort of social phobia, why are you socializing if you only want to sit and talk with the person you live with? Why not just stay home? Are you joined at the hip?
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

Twik

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Re: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner
« Reply #59 on: November 28, 2007, 10:42:07 AM »
imo you always seat couples together, I to would be offended. The hostess should have known better.


Again, it may be your opinion, but it is incorrect etiquette and the hostess DID know better than to commit such a faux pas as seating couples together.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."


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