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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

About Me

One of my fondest childhood memories occurred during holidays when my mother allowed me to choose the place settings we used on our table when company was coming. I felt grown up, that my opinion mattered, and it showed my mother had confidence in my ability to pull off the most important part of the event…the table! I would plop myself on the floor, meticulously examining each plate. I carefully placed each item in front of the designated chair, always curious about the seating order of the guests my mother would assign (she did not leave that part up to me!). After my carefully designed tablescape was completed, I would don my clothes in preparation for the coming gathering. Impatiently, I waited for everyone to arrive. I could feel my heart race while I searched for the first signs of guests pulling into the driveway. Suddenly, I could hear those car doors close, and I would race to the entryway trying my best not to swing the front door open until the doorbell rang. The excited voices, the big bear hugs, and the exchange of kisses represented the pure joy that came from seeing friends and family. When it was finally time to share a meal together, I beamed with pride when our guests took their seats at my table. I grinned ear to ear when Mother’s voice filled the air informing everyone, I had been in charge that day. When I look back at those special moments, I realize it was not the elaborately decorated table that brought my joy. It was what each setting, each table, represented. A celebration was about to occur, and a party signaled we were preparing to extend hospitality to the world around us. There is a difference between hospitality and entertaining, and although my parents loved entertaining, it was their display of hospitality that shaped who I am today.

For me, hospitality meant that warm, comfortable feeling of friends and family together at Christmas. It meant times of laughter during Halloween parties where you chuckled so hard you thought your sides would burst. It meant watching a tear roll down my father’s cheek while he listened to patriotic songs on July 4th (I am convinced dwelling on his time in service during the Korean War). It meant playing with children in total abandon and without fear, because we knew the family around us would slay any monster we encountered. Most importantly, sitting around the table meant soaking up knowledge from those wiser and older. Entertaining was just the tool used to teach the next generation. It was where we learned commonsense, faith-based advice. Yes, I learned manners and how to entertain. I learned the importance of living an organized and orderly life. I learned how to be a parent and thrive in a family unit. But the real gift was the decades of wisdom I internalized by immersing myself in the words spoken by the adults around me. I observed and learned, and I saw the woman I wanted to become through the role models that surrounded me.

Lisa Lou’s has been created to provide women the tools needed to live a life of purpose. There is too much noise in the world that distracts us from designing our own story. The story we were placed here to write. Our platform is a place where women can gather to listen, have a voice, and guide each other. Through commonsense, faith-based advice, we strive to speak truth in a simple and uncomplicated manner, so you can get back to celebrating the life God created you to live. Thank you for joining us. Let’s enjoy the journey!

Together with you,

Lisa Lou