Table setting
Credit: Tara Donne

With its mishmash of friends, family, and tagalongs, Thanksgiving dinner brings a host of seating challenges―like whom to put next to Uncle Harvey's new, much younger girlfriend or where to place the person who wants to talk about only one thing: herself. Experts explain how to create a no-fail seating plan in two easy steps, as well as address all your other dinner-party dilemmas. (Do you make a kids' table? What if conversation stalls?) With a little guidance―and grace―you'll make every guest feel as if he has the best seat in the house.

Step 1: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

Even your dearest family and friends have their idiosyncrasies. Start by noting each guest's personality traits (eight are described on the following pages, beginning with the host).

Step 2: Put Them in Their Place

So, you've worked out who will click and who will clash. But how do you put all the pieces―or people―together? Use the printable cards on page ten to arrange (and rearrange) your dinner guests based on their personality types.

Still Have Questions?

A party planner's job is never done. But the quick and easy solutions to dinner party seating problems will banish the hassles of being a hostess and allow you to enjoy the evening, too.