• Tips From a Pro on Creating a Seating Chart

    FROM THE Winter 2018 ISSUE

    Where you place your guests plays a big role in how they interact.

  • Tips From a Pro on Creating a Seating Chart

    FROM THE Winter 2018 ISSUE

    Where you place your guests plays a big role in how they interact.

Creating an event that is fun and functional can sometimes be extremely challenging.

How you arrange your seating and where you want each guest to be seated plays a huge role in the intimacy, movement, and way your guests interact. Whether you’re seating guests for a formal affair or a business meeting, keep in mind that the longer someone sits, the less chance they have of participating in whatever else is planned away from the table.

The formal event, with a plated meal, requires seating for everyone. In this scenario, place cards are a must. It’s always uncomfortable for a guest to search for a seat. Tables should all be the same height and, if the budget allows, it’s fun to mix up the shapes. Rounds and squares are both perfect for conversation and require standard size table linens that are easily accessible to any banquet manager.

Add several high-top cocktail tables to create conversation points by the bars for guests to stand up and mingle.

Cocktail parties and strolling “food station” events are on the rise. No need for assigned seating—your guests will be on the go all night.

Be creative. Communal high tops are currently trending. They are available in many finishes, such as metal, acrylic, and wood in a variety of shades. You can stand at these tables or add stools. Soft seating, including couches, chairs, and coffee tables, can be mixed in to create a few intimate spots to converse.

Seventy percent “social seating” and 30 percent “standard seating” is a typical ratio for an event that requires interaction and movement. The standard seating should include reserved seats for any guests that you know would need, and appreciate, a seat.

You can have an event that is a combination of both seating styles. Provide assigned seating for all your guests and offer soft seating around the dance floor and communal high tops near the bars and dessert area. This option lends itself to a nice balance and adds dimension to the look and feel of your party

When choosing the right way to seat your guests, it’s important to take into consideration everything else you have planned for your guests. If hors d’oeuvres are in a separate space, don’t forget to add high tops and low cocktail tables to this area as well.

The goal is to make sure that your guests have a great experience and that they go home with something good to talk about— your event!


Jennifer Ajlouny (Jen@startrax.com) is an event manager with Star Trax Events in Ferndale. 

Options for unconventional seasonal gatherings abound across the state. 

From cities teeming with bright lights to snowy small towns, Michigan is a winter wonderland. If you’re looking for a way to make your event or post-event outing more festive, consider these unique holiday offerings. 

Peacock Road Family Farm 



After 36 years as director of the CVB, Peter Fitzsimons is retiring. By Shelley Levitt

In 1985, Peter Fitzsimons, a former hotel general manager, became the executive director of the newly formed Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau. He never left. In June, the 73-year-old Detroit native announced that he’d be stepping down from the role at the end of the year. 

MIM+E: When did you begin your career in hospitality?


With restrictions across the country in a state of constant flux, not everyone is ready to jump back into meeting in person. While some planners are eager to get back to “normal,” the long-term adjustment to new protocols and potential risks make some hesitant to gather.

While wearing masks and social distancing can help keep attendees safe, intentional design choices—such as including natureinspired elements and materials and plenty of plants—can also help calm attendees.