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Some dinner parties require a more formal protocol. For example, a military dinner will have strict guidelines as to where personnel will sit. If you are hosting a client dinner, you might also prefer a more formal arrangement. Even in a casual setting, you can choose to follow protocol to honor a special guest. The below description is based on a social party (vs. business), a rectangular table, and includes both men and women:

When hosting a dinner party, where you place your guests around the table is a crucial element for the success of your event. You presumably put thought into who you invited to the gathering. Do not stop there. The placement of each person around the table is something that should not be thrown together at the last minute.

I love entertaining friends and family in my home, especially during the holidays. But I must admit, it can be a bit overwhelming hosting a dinner party in the stage of life with little ones running around. The cooperation I receive from my toddlers is a significant factor in how efficient I am on a daily basis. Add in hosting a party, and it can be overwhelming. If you find yourself wanting to gather friends for a festive evening, here are my tried-and-true tips for entertaining with young children:

Planning a party can be fun, but do you know the best way to ensure everything runs smoothly? Have a rehearsal for your party. Yes, you heard correctly. You have spent a great deal of time planning your theme, creating your guestlist, and delivering your invitations. Now is the time to do a mock rehearsal which will allow you to create an action list of outstanding items around your home that might need attention. It also helps solidify any last-minute details.

These thirteen tips will get your through any dinner party. Here is a quick refresher. 

1. Leave The Cocktail Glass Behind:

If you are attending a dinner party, there may be cocktails offered before the meal begins. When the hostess signals it is time to head to the dining room, leave your drink behind. Why? The dining table has been pre-set with the glasses you will need and adding another to your place setting will only clutter the minimal real estate in front of you. Your palate is another reason to leave the cocktail behind. Many hostesses go to great lengths to pare wine with the food being served. Once seated at the table it is time to switch to wine or water.

You just received an invitation to a party, and the attire says: Shabby Chic; Razzle Dazzle; Cowboy Couture. What??? Word to hostesses: when listing the attire on the invitation for a party, make it clear. We do not want our guests to solve a riddle to understand what is expected of them. There is a phrase I like to quote, “To be unclear is to be unkind.”

Table manners are the area in which I receive the most questions, but it is introductions that have people the most baffled. After I explain the correct way to conduct an introduction, I often get that starry-eyed stare that tells me, “I really don’t understand what you just said.” To help all of us, I have broken down the process into a simple format. Before I proceed, let me say this. Do not let a lack of confidence in managing an introduction keep you from DOING an introduction. Even if you are unsure, most people do not care.

When attending a party, there are certain expectations we have of our hostess. We appreciate everything she has done, but we do assume there will be food, drinks, a clean bathroom, and a home that does not smell like the local pet store. What some people forget is there are also expectations of the guest. When a hostess plans a party, a great deal of time is spent deciding who she will invite. What group of friends go well together?

Have you ever seen someone walk into a party looking scared, so unsure of themselves, and then watched them slink off to an obscure corner? Their body language screamed, “I wish I was anywhere but here!”

You are invited!!! There is something special we feel when we receive an invitation. It is the anticipation of a celebration, the excitement of choosing what to wear, but more importantly, it is the affirmation that tells us, “I was chosen!” We know a hostess has responsibilities to ensure her party is a success, but did you know there are expectations of the guests? And your first job begins when you receive an invitation that says RSVP. Follow the six steps below and the hostess will be singing your praises!

  • Alina Gersib

10 Ways to Show Up for Friends



In the past few weeks I have received multiple texts from friends who are hurting and struggling. COVID has not been easy. I wanted to make my friends feel better and so I brainstormed a few ideas to brighten their day.

1. Handwritten Note – There is something special about receiving a handwritten note. The effort and intentionality that goes into it shines through.

2. Communicate with Their Preferred Way in Mind – Some people love talking on the phone, others texting, while others like facetime. Know what their preferred method is and talk to them in that format, even if it may not be your favorite. The priority is to make them feel most comfortable.

3. Just Be There – When someone is going through a difficult time, they may not need advice. Instead just show up and listen. Let them vent, talk, or cry.


4. Plan an Outing – Plan a special outing or even a girl’s trip. Check nearby cities’ COVID guidelines and follow them while you are there. Going out of town will be a way to get friends out of their “norm,” and shaking up a routine is sometimes exactly what is needed if they are feeling stuck.

5. Do Not Assume They Know – Tell them that you love them, miss them, cherish their friendship. Whatever it is, no matter how long you have been friends or how many times you have told them in the past, we all like to be reminded we are important.

6. Care Package – Send them a care package with some of their favorite treats. Chocolates, a bath bomb, and facemask would make for a relaxing evening and time to rejuvenate.


7. Send Flowers – If you live close by leave flowers at their door, or if they live in another city then find a local delivery service to leave their favorite variety.


8. Them First - A childhood psychologist once said, “If you are hugging a child never be the first one to let go, you do not know how much they need it.” However, this rings true for adults, too. Their love language may be physical touch and holding them could be the therapy they need. So, when you hug them, do not be the first to release.

9. Text Them – A simple and easy way to let someone know you are thinking about them is to send a text. It never ceases to brighten my day when someone dear to me texts to say they are thinking of me.

10. Ask – It may not always be possible to supply an answer or solution to someone’s problems. However, the simple act of asking them and letting them know you hear and see their hurts is a way for them to not feel so alone.

-Alina Gersib