Illustration by Kitty N. Wong

Should couples be split at dinner parties? Is it appropriate to use Facebook to invite people to formal events? Can one wear a cocktail dress when the dress code states black tie? See both sides of the coin in the Great Debate series, a new column from our freshly redesigned Hong Kong Tatler magazine, which takes up a different topic of discussion each month. In this issue, the topic in question is whether or not couples should be split at dinner parties. With so many opinions from so many different people, we didn’t want all of our answers to go to waste, so while Jim Thompson and Charlotte Hwang are featured in the magazine, here we open the floor to Bonnae Gokson, Nisha Parmanand, Harriet Tung and Moses Tsang.

Bonnae Gokson

Owner of Sevva, Ms B's Cakery and C'est La B Cafes

When you sit down and have dinner together, you communicate, you build and you interact. I believe it would be more beneficial for younger couples to be placed at the same table, not necessarily sitting together, so they can be a part of the conversation together. On the other hand, if the party is an interesting blend of personalities, it’s always great to mix it up. The whole point of going out is to meet new people, learn something or make new connections while hopefully having fun.

Nisha Parmanand

Founder and Director of The Next Level - Luxury Consultants

As an events director, I think it’s great for couples to be split up at dinner. It creates a really great mix and match of different personalities and could make for more lively dinner discussions.

Harriet Tung

Supporter of the Hong Kong Arts Festival, Children’s Medical Foundation, Animals Asia and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Society

It really depends on the type of party. At weddings and more formal events, I prefer to sit next to my husband. If we are with good friends who we both know or at someone’s home for dinner, I don’t mind being seated apart, because it’s an environment where comfortable conversation just flows and the host or hostess has made a great effort to bring everyone together so they can get to know each other.

Moses Tsang

Executive Chairman of AP Capital Holdings, Non-Executive Director of Fubon Bank and SOCA, and Co-Chairman of The Nature Conservancy

I don’t have very strong views on the subject, but it really depends on the context of the gathering. How well the guests know each other, as well as the age group of the guests may determine preferences naturally.

Tags: Etiquette, Moses Tsang, Nisha Parmanand, Harriet Tung, Dinner, Bonnae Gokson, Split, Great Debate, Couples