New On The Blog

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!

  • Missy Roe

A Mom with 3 Little Ones: Entertaining vs. Hospitality

Updated: Oct 30, 2020



For those of us who consider ourselves extroverts, the last several months have been far from socially fulfilling. As a mom of small children, both my kids and I could really use some more entertainment and hospitality. So recently, I decided I should be the one to get the ball rolling and host a playdate!

First thing to remember, “entertainment” will be provided by your children and the little ones coming to your home. Now you are halfway there! All that is left is hospitality. As you already know, hospitality is far different than entertaining. It is funny, because I do not think I really understood the difference between entertaining and hospitality until about 18 months ago. Hospitality does not need frills. It is really about fellowship. And fellowship involves getting to know one another. What better place for someone to get to know you than in the comfort of your own home.

“I can’t do that. This place is a wreck!” This used to be the first thought that came to mind about having people in my home. I would think about my desire to have social interaction, how I would actually look forward to cleaning up the house, and then realizing how quickly the toys would spread across the room within hours of my tidying. It was overwhelming. But that is just the way things go in a house with little ones, right!?! Always being one to believe I can accomplish more than is realistic, I decided to just commit to gather with friends, and make it happen the best way I could!

Be willing to make the invitation and put it on your calendar! I have found there is a lot of good that comes from just committing. I now have something to look forward to, and I get to tell my children about an upcoming play date where they will make new friends. And, secretly, it gives me a reason to focus on some of the things I have been letting go around the house.

I have only had the honor of being called “mom” for about six years, but one of the most liberating parts is understanding that other mothers know EXACTLY what challenges I am facing and they are not there to judge me. If you approach hosting a play date with this in mind, it is far less intimidating.

I recall a couple visits to friends’ homes that made me realize we can entertain friends and still feel alright with having people over amid our “real life” living environment.

When my first-born was just old enough to interact on play dates, we visited a friend whose two daughters were ages 3 and 5 at the time. On other visits I had with her, the home looked like something out of a magazine. Everything was beautiful and in its place!! This time, I walked into her spacious foyer and past a dining table piled high with freshly washed clothes. Her kitchen island was covered with boxes of dry goods purchased at Costco the evening before, and there were dishes in the sink. It made me feel normal!!

Another experience I had did not even involve kids. It was a meeting of four neighbors to plan an event. During this late morning gathering I arrived to find my friend had taken everything on her kitchen table and shoved it to one end, making space for us to have our meeting. I was a little surprised at first. I have spent years racing around my house the last few minutes before guests appeared, stuffing things under cabinets and into drawers. But it was so freeing to know that she did not mind letting us see her true state of being. She had opened her home, made some coffee, and set out muffins from the grocery store. It was perfect! She was not going to let a few projects the kids were working on stand in the way of us gathering. That is true hospitality!

What stands out most in my mind is neither friend apologized for “a house imperfect”. In fact, neither referenced the areas at all! I loved it, and I decided I should focus more on what matters: fellowship, not the obstacles in the way!

I share all this in hopes that you will not stress before having another family into your home. At the same time, I work best with a deadline and it is often a great motivator for me to tidy up. I think the glory of it all is finding a balance where you are comfortable.

I love having people over! And perhaps I still run around picking up toys in the walkway and moving sofa pillows from the playroom back to the couch. But I no longer put off the opportunity to spend time with others because I do not have everything in perfect order. Enjoy entertaining but stay focused on hospitality. There is a difference!

Missy Roe