I often get asked for guidance on the rules for table plans for awards and industry events.
Firstly there are no real rules; but you want to feel comfortable and you want your guests to feel comfortable as well.
- Save the date: Get your guests to block off the date at the earliest opportunity. If you are hosting a table it is quite likely your competitors will be after the same guests as you. Speak to or email your desired guests and get them to save the date as soon as you can. Six months before the event is not a problem.
- Decide who is best to host the table from your business and also who should co-host. Generally it is best to have two hosts for a table of ten.
- Formally invite your guests around six weeks prior to the event. Give them full details of date, time, venue, postcode, dress code, hosts and the finish time.
- See the illustration above. This shows the recommended table plan for a host, a co-host and eight guests.
- The host should always be facing the stage/top table.
- The co-host should always sit facing the host and consequently with his/her back to the table.
- The principal/most senior guest is designated as G1 in the chart above and sits to the right of the host.
- The other guests, G2 to G8, are positioned around the table as shown above.
- Make sure you hit all the deadlines from event organisers to ensure your guests are all listed on the formal table plan on the day of the event.
- Take a list of your guests with you on the day. You may need to contact them, your memory may fail you (often my problem!) and you need to remember the table layout.
- Take place cards with you to ensure your guests a) feel welcome and b) sit where you want them to.
- Another thing to consider is table guest reserves. People often drop out late for understandable if not good reasons. Very late reserves are sometimes best found internally or from your suppliers.