A seating plan is a graphic or set of written or spoken instructions that shows where people should sit. It is extensively used in a variety of contexts. Seating layouts serve a variety of functions. Plans are typically utilized at formal dinners to reduce chaos and confusion upon entry and to adhere to decorum. In this instance, it is typical to place the host and hostess on opposing sides of the table, with male and female guests alternated throughout.  Guests can be directed using place cards. State dinners have their own protocol, and arrangements are made to allow the most prestigious attendees to engage in discussion.