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Round tables no longer invited


When Lisa Billowitz was planning her daughter’s bat mitzvah, there was one thing she decidedly did not want at the reception, but which she felt powerless to reject: those 72-inch round, conversation-killing, tables.

“I thought they came with the Torah portion,” the Boston-area lawyer said.

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But if the word “shocking” can be used to describe anything in the event-planning world, it’s this: The once-ironclad rule that a certain type of party must include a seated meal, and that that meal must be served at round tables that seat 10 or 12, and trap perfectly nice people between dullards, is losing its grip.

At on-trend events, stodgy tables are getting edged out by cocktail tables, high tables, lounge-style seating, even farm tables, all of which send a casual vibe, and with their lack of place cards, have the mental health benefit of freeing hosts from the stress-inducing seating chart.

Although there may be a Kardashian root to all of this, event planners and DJs trace the trend to less-formal restaurant dining, and to start-ups and tech companies, with their open floor plans and free-range workers.

“The environments being created for employees are much more laid back than what you would have seen 20 or even 10 years ago,” said Michael Siagel, vice president and CEO of Newton’s Siagel Productions . “They are made to enhance communication and flow, and that’s trickling down.”

OK, so that’s one event-related problem solved. Now, if designers would only start making evening dresses with sleeves, we’d be all set.

Beth Teitell can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @BethTeitell.
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