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The day after a party a gracious guest will follow up with a thank you note or phone call. Do this within 1-2 days so your appreciation does not seem stale. The formula for a thank you looks like this:

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

5 Tips for Self-Forgiveness

Lately, I have found myself ruminating on the concept of forgiveness. What it means to forgive, how to forgive well, and most pointedly how to forgive ourselves. For this blog I want to focus on self-forgiveness and how the process of forgiving ourselves is one of the most powerful habits we can incorporate into our day.

Growing up in the church I have heard countless verses on forgiveness and the power behind the practice. However, I wanted to find out the roots behind the word itself. After searching into the etymology, I found it comes from Germanic roots and the late old English meaning translates to, "to give up desire or power to punish.”

To give up desire or power to punish. When we forgive, we are literally giving up the power to punish. Wiping the slate clean. What a beautiful, restorative sentiment. Why then does it feel so difficult to forgive ourselves? Situations in the past nag in the back of our minds reminding us of times we have missed the mark, caused others pain, or failed. Feelings like anger, shame, and frustration build continuously behind the scenes when they are not dealt with. These feelings cause our nervous system to operate on high alert, which leads to anxiety and depression. And beating ourself up about situations in the past only perpetuates this vicious negative cycle. It is through addressing the issues head on and forgiving ourselves that we can find healing and freedom from these destructive thought patterns. As I have been thinking on this concept of self-forgiveness, I wanted to come up with a system to assist in my own healing. I thought it would be helpful to share my 5 tips on how to practice self-forgiveness.

1. Look at Your Feelings

It is difficult to genuinely forgive a situation that we refuse to look at. Take some time to dive in and see how you feel about a memory. Let there be no judgment or frustration as you do this. Look at yourself with eyes of grace and love. Let yourself experience each emotion as it bubbles to the surface. If you are struggling with letting yourself feel without judgment, pretend a loved one is going through the situation you are in. How would you treat their heart in this scenario? Treat yourself like someone you love.

2. Write to Release

After you have looked at your feelings and thoroughly experienced them grab a pen and paper and list out the emotions that seemed to really hit home. Let your thoughts flow and work through areas of tension or resistance. Again, give yourself lots of grace and love during this process as some intense realizations or emotions may come up.

3. Take Responsibility

Do not continuously bring up negative memories as a way of punishment for how you acted in the past. In doing this you are only reinforcing the negative over a situation that cannot be changed. Instead, look at what happened, identify how you messed up, and take responsibility.

4. Ask for Forgiveness

When we hurt someone else, it is important, and obvious, that we should ask them for forgiveness. However, we often forget to ask ourselves for forgiveness and in doing so the areas of hurt remain open and vulnerable. We need to ask for forgiveness and give that forgiveness in order to fully find healing.

5. Gently Move On

There is not an exact “works every time” solution for self-forgiveness. Sometimes things seem to heal easily while other times things continue to fester in the back of our minds. Each time a negative emotion comes up, remind yourself that you are forgiven. If a memory has been simmering for a long time it is safe to say a lot of encouragement will be needed to move past it. Coming up with a phrase you can say to yourself each time a specific memory or emotion pops up can be a helpful tool in moving past the hurt.

I have been noticing improvements in my thought life and overall mental state since I began actively putting these five tips into practice. I hope they can also help you on your path of self-forgiveness and healing.

Alina Gersib