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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!

  • Lisa Lou

68 Great Dating Ideas

Updated: Sep 10, 2021



When two people have been together for a while, it is easy to slip into that comfortable place and stop truly dating. Does this mean you cannot enjoy lazy nights on the couch watching a movie? Of course not. In fact, it is a nice place to be in your relationship when you get to that point. I would recommend, though, that couples change things up a bit, otherwise weekend routines can become mundane which can often lead to complacency, and complacency can be an enemy of marriage. This can prove especially true for couples that have been together for awhile. Out of curiosity, I sat down one day and wrote as many dating ideas that I could think of that two people might enjoy. Some are geographically specific, and others are only applicable during certain seasons, but I hope these will get your own thoughts churning as you come up with creative ways to continue to grow together in your relationship.

1. Play games: chess; Hive; Clue (you can find a lot of games for 2 players with a simple search)

2. Grocery shop together and cook a meal

3. Binge watch a great series: The Chronicles of Narnia, Star Wars; old classics; The Lord of the Rings (that would be an all-day binge!)

4. Visit your local museum

5. Assemble a puzzle: buy a puzzle with a picture of your favorite vacation spot that you can then frame

6. Take a dance lesson: my husband and I did this for our son’s wedding and dancing has now become a daily fixture in our lives

7. Take a cooking class

8. Go to the zoo

9. Go to a wine bar and spend your time setting your goals together for the next 1, 5 and 10 years

10. Picnic at the park

11. Search top tourist spots in your town and pick 3 to do

12. Set the dinner table with your wedding china and crystal and have an elegant meal at home


13. Build a snowman and roast marshmallows

14. Attend your local high school musical: these are inexpensive and can be very good

15. Host an outdoor BBQ

16. Take a driving or walking tour of your local National Historic Trails

17. Attend your local high school sporting event: my husband and I love to go to our local football games to get into the spirit of fall

18. Charades

19. Bowling

20. Ziplining

21. Go to a shooting range

22. Have a slumber party at home with movies and popcorn

23. Fondue night

24. Escape Room

25. Skip dinner and have a wine and cheese night

26. Attend a rodeo

27. Go hiking and end with a picnic


28. Research local festivals in your area to attend

29. Miniature golf

30. Tubing on the river

31. Rock climbing

32. Ride go-karts

33. Restaurant hop: go to two and just eat appetizers; go to two more and just eat dessert

34. Take a painting class

35. Lay outside and gaze at the stars

36. Attend an outdoor concert or play

37. Volunteer for a charity that is dear to your heart

38. Pick pumpkins in a pumpkin patch

39. Carve a pumpkin together

40. Cut down your own Christmas tree

41. Take a tour of your city

42. Go to the midnight show at the movie theatre

43. Make ice cream sundaes

44. Decorate a Christmas tree


Via K945

45. Attend an animal show/race (nothing cuter than watching wiener dogs run!)

46. Drive to a nearby small town for lunch at the local café

47. Explore geological areas near you (waterfalls, caves, beaches, forests)

48. Go paintballing

49. Karaoke Night

50. Wine tasting tour

51. Brewery tour

52. Go to a comedy club

53. Attend the carnival that comes to your town

54. Dye Easter eggs together

55. Take a ferry ride

56. Go antiquing and then find your favorite food truck for lunch

57. Go on a scavenger hunt: you can find ideas online

58. Recreate your first date

59. Curl up in your pajamas, grab your hot chocolate, light a fire and read a book to each other


60. Go berry picking

61. Enjoy a spa day at home

62. Take a bike ride

63. Make a bonfire

64. Go Christmas caroling in your neighborhood

65. Take the 5 Love Languages online quiz, and discuss each other’s language

66. Sleep in and go to breakfast at your favorite cafe

67. Eat takeout by candlelight or picnic in your front yard

68. Cake night: make your 3 favorite cakes and eat them with a fork on the couch-no plates required!

I had fun coming up with ideas, and new ones are still popping up in my mind! Part of the enjoyment of date night is the creativity involved. If you are on a budget, come up with a list of 10 things you can do at no-cost (the above list has several). Continuing to date takes effort, but effort is required to have a successful marriage. This is especially true during the child-rearing years. Remember the best thing you can do for your children is have them grow up in a home where they witness two parents that have a healthy and loving relationship. As we all know, keeping our bodies in tip top shape takes work. Maintaining a marriage that thrives is also no easy task. Shake things up, try something new and you will keep the spice in your marriage.


Together with you,

Lisa Lou