Ina Garten's Secret Seating Hack For Lively Dinner Parties

Planning a dinner party is not an easy feat. There are so many decisions to be made to ensure all your guests feel included and enjoy themselves enough to look forward to the next invitation. One of the toughest choices you will have to make is where each guest sits. After all, you want the table talk to be both entertaining and memorable for everyone. So, to make this task a little easier, you may want to borrow Ina Garten's hack to ensure everyone has a good time.

In an interview with Town & Country, the Barefoot Contessa told the late filmmaker Nora Ephron that she always places the two individuals who are the most gregarious in the middle. Garten stated, "...the two most talkative people have to sit in the center of the table facing each other so that everyone can listen and feel included." Arranging the seating around these charismatic individuals encourages active engagement and attentive listening among all dinner guests.

The job has a title

Ina Garten may have plenty of entertaining rules, but interestingly enough, her approach to seating at dinner parties is not unique. In fact, as Well + Good notes, the individuals occupying these central positions hold a special designation and real job responsibilities. They are known as the "middlers," and their role entails gracefully navigating any pregnant pauses or social awkwardness that may arise from other guests. Careful thought must be given when selecting these individuals, as they will guide the conversation throughout the evening, fostering a lively exchange among all diners. Additionally, the middlers play a vital role in ensuring that discussions remain friendly and accessible.

But that's not all you should consider when arranging your seating chart. If you are hosting a dinner party as a couple, each of you should be at opposite ends of the table. Nora Ephron also told Garten in their Town & Country interview that she keeps the seating cozy by "having small dining-room chairs that are also comfortable so you can squeeze as many people around a small table." If you want the conversation to flow as freely as the wine at your next dinner party, it may be wise to keep these suggestions in mind.