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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!

  • Lisa Lou

7 Tips to Become a Gracious Gift Receiver

Updated: Dec 29, 2020

People give to make you feel loved and remembered. Sometimes gifts are given out of obligation, but mostly they are presented to honor a special relationship or occasion. No matter the reason, we need to know how to show our appreciation. Here are my 7 tips to become a gracious gift receiver.

1. Open the Card First: If you receive a gift that has a card attached, always read the card first. This shows you are more interested in your relationship with the gift giver than the material item inside.

2. Announce the Name of the Gift Giver: If you are opening presents in a group, for example at a wedding shower, then announce who the gift is from. If they write a personal note on the card, you should keep this private.

3. Say Thank You: No matter how much you like or dislike the gift, always give a big thank you! Find something nice you can say about the gift. “I love this color! Thank you for thinking of me.”

4. Two of the Same Kind: If you are in a group, and you receive two identical gifts, make each giver feel comfortable by saying, “You both have great taste!” Then quickly move on to the next gift. Do not discuss in front of everyone how you can return one or exchange the other. This can be handled later. These things happen, and there is no reason to make anyone feel awkward.

5. Keep it Packaged: When opening gifts in a group, do not waste other people’s time by taking presents out of their manufacturing packages. If it is little Johnny’s turn to open a Christmas present in front of the family, and he starts taking all the parts from his new toy out of the package, then everyone must wait for him to finish. Enjoying your new gift should wait until all presents have been unwrapped.

6. Open in Their Presence: When someone brings you a gift, open it in their presence. Do not set it off to the side. The giver enjoys seeing you delight in what they have brought you and opening their present in front of them is one way we can show our appreciation. The one exception to this would be hostess gifts. If you are hosting a party, and several guests bring you a token to show gratitude, either pull them aside privately and open their gift or set it in a corner and tell them you cannot wait to open it after the party. Many people do not bring hostess gifts, and you do not want other guests to feel awkward.

7. Do Not Reciprocate: If someone brings you a gift unexpectedly, do not feel obligated to reciprocate. Some people are gift givers, and this is how they express their feelings. To run out and buy an item for the only reason that they brought you something will scream inauthenticity. They will know you did this out of duty and not love. The gift will be meaningless.

Gift giving is an art, and gift receiving requires a gracious attitude. Always focus on the love that is intended by the gift giver. Which would you treasure more? An unwrapped necklace thrown in your lap with a tone of indifference, or a heart-shaped rock your loved one presents, because when he saw it, it made him think of you? I can buy my own necklace, but I cannot buy the love my husband pours out on me. No matter what the gift is that you receive, remember it comes from the heart of the giver. Treat it well.

Together with you,

Lisa Lou