Jul 18, 2013 by David Becker

Time and Money Saving Tips for Formal Seated Dinners and Events

Planning a formal seated dinner can seem like one big headache. There are just so many moving parts: the food, the drinks, the centerpieces, the seating charts!

So, we’ve come up with some tips, we think, will help alleviate some of the pressure at your next event.


Do prominently display table numbers. Make sure the table number is prominently displayed very high in the center of the table. If you are using a large floral arrangement, make sure the table number can be seen above that.

Do create a ‘swing’ table. Try to set aside one additional table, or ‘swing’ table, that is not assigned to guests. Use it for any last minute additions to the guest list. If the table ends up not being necessary, you can use it to take care of some of your hardest-working volunteers, or staff, once the guests have settled in.

Do get the most out of your A/V system. If your event venue has A/V capabilities, a good tip is to project the seating chart onto video screens, to further assist guests looking for their table.

Do use technology to your advantage. Use a tablet program that can load the seating chart so that staff can show guests where their seat is if they have trouble finding it, as for example, with zkipster, you are able to upload up to 4 JPEG files, one of which could be your seating chart.


Don’t use words, names, or colors to mark tables. Try to avoid using words or names or colors for tables versus numbers. If you must, use a name and then a number. It’s a lot easier to shuffle tables around in the hours leading up to the event, and guests will have a much easier time finding the table.

Don’t use pre-printed escort cards. If you have a lot of guests, separating them in alphabetical order can be a hassle and cause long wait lines. Furthermore, guests, oftentimes, have a bad habit of wanting to switch tables. Escort cards simply printed with the table number allow you more freedom and quicker check-in. If you need to mark down where everyone is seated, a guest list management system like zkipster can easily mark that for you and update it in real time across all systems.

Don’t be a square. Use round tables for seated dinners versus square tables. This allows guests to see and talk to each other comfortably, making the event a bit more interesting and fun.

Don’t use costly floral centerpieces. Flowers are beautiful, but very costly. To save money, try things like using clear centerpieces filling with bright seasonal fruits, like green apples or oranges versus expensive flowers.

Don’t hand serve every course. If you’re hosting a more formal dinner, with wait staff, consider pre-plating salads and desserts. You’ll save time and money with table clearing, and your event will still retain it’s formal feel.

I hope that we were able to provide you with some new and interesting ways to that will help your seated dinner run more efficiently! If you agree or even disagree with this list, or if you have any tips to add please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comments and be sure to find out How to Raise Money Like an Economist. Happy planning!