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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

7 Ways to Cure the Travel Bug During COVID


With limitations on travel to most international destinations and less flights going out domestically, people experiencing the travel bug in our COVID world need new ways to approach the situation. Below are 7 ideas you can incorporate into your life right away!


1. Watch Earth Documentaries

Though nothing quite compares to experiencing the beauty of the world with our own eyes, nature documentaries allow us to look inside parts of the world few humans ever see. Not only that, but with travel limited to many destinations, these documentaries are our opportunity to connect to the wonder of nature in a more tangible way. With so many streaming options, you can find incredible documentaries to suit your interests from a variety of sources. If you enjoy cooking as well as travel, National Geographic via Disney+ has a fantastic series called Gordon Ramsey: Uncharted which gives you a unique and hands on look at destinations via their culinary scenes.


2. Visit Museums Locally (Or Virtually)

Since most museums are housed in larger buildings and are currently limiting the number of occupants allowed, they are a great place to visit. Depending on where you live, you can experience creations from local as well as international artists.

If you prefer to stay home and still have a gallery experience, Google Arts and Culture has curated a number of virtual tours which take you through renown museums around the world, from The Met to the National Gallery, London.



3. Plan Your Dream Get Away

Planning a future trip is a great way to channel an adventurous spirit. I love using Pinterest to consolidate inspiration. From location ideas, to top activities, and what to wear to your next destination, it is easy to categorize information and create a visual guide to all of the places you want to visit.



4. Keep Your Eye on Flights

Even if you are not currently in the booking phase, it is fun to imagine all the possible routes you can take for future flights. I like to research using Skyscanner as they have an interactive map which allows you to compare prices for destinations around the globe.



5. Play Tourist Locally

Follow all local guidelines for your city or state but if you want to get out and do something, find an option that allows you to play tourist while also keeping yourself and others safe. If possible, find activities that are outdoors or in large areas. Visiting a monument in a park, going to the zoo, or walking down a historic street to enjoy the homes or shops on the block, are great ways to play tourist responsibly. No matter where you live, there are people around the globe wanting to visit, so search your own town and see what you discover!


6. Cook an International Meal

Spice up your weekly routine and prepare a dish from either a favorite destination or a location you cannot wait to visit. From Thai green curry to hand tossed pizza, your options are endless. Make a new dish and enjoy being transported with every bite.



7. Look Through Old Photos

When was the last time you looked through your old travel photos? After finishing a trip, we may post a few pictures on Facebook or Instagram but after that the photos sit hidden on our phones and computers. While we may not be able to visit exotic international destinations right now, it is easy to go down memory lane and re-live your past travel experiences by looking at your digital memories. Once you finish, print out your favorites and hang them on your wall!

I hope these 7 recommendations give you inspiration for ways you can actively work with your desire to travel during this time. For more resources and the most up to date information on travel restrictions visit the below sites.

Mayo Clinic’s coronavirus travel advice.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s travel advice.

Alina Gersib