(Closed) Seating Cards / Chart

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
1698 posts
Bumble bee

Seating charts or place cards should show each guests name. You don’t use the first name and surname together in social situations, unless there is some ambiguity. (You use them together on mailing labels because there might be more than one “Mr Smith” receiving mail in the city, and you use them together on legal documents because you never want it to appear that the wrong “Ms Jones” has the rights or duties detailed in a contract. But social situations you are supposed to actually know everyone there, and only use diffentiators if you have to.

For a formal gatherings, make place cards for “Mr Smith” and for “Ms Jones”. For informal gatherings, use “John” and “Mary”. Use “John Smith” if you have multiple “Mr Smith’s” or multiple Johns.

If you have a church wedding and your dress has a train and finger-tip veil, and you’re serving a sit-down multi-course meal, go with formal names. If you want people feeling homey, relaxed and comfortable, go with first names.

Actually, proper etiquette for formal names is actually considerably more complicated than that, since one person — the head of the family, normally the eldest bearer of the name — actually has a right to the undifferentiated “Mr Surname” and his son or younger brother would be “Mr Firstname” — and his wife (!) would be “Mrs Firstname”. I remember back in Similarly the eldest unmarried woman is entitled to “Miss Smith” and her younger sisters or nieces would be “Miss Mary” and “Miss Susan”. Unless you live with a bunch of Georgette Heyer fans though or move in very stuffy circles, no-one will know this and you can safely ignore it. I remember back in 1981 when Buckingham Palace tried to convince reporters that the former Lady Diana’s proper title was now “Princess Charles”, with utter lack of success! I trot these little anachronisms out for fun at my formal dinners — and out of a commitment to keeping traditional forms alive — but no-one actually expects them in real life

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