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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!

  • Patti Hatton

The 5 Love Languages: Acts of Service

Updated: Dec 21, 2020

When David and I were first married, I could not help but notice the many unexpected things he did for me. I enjoyed having my car washed and opening the dishwasher to find everything had been put away. He did not mind helping me make the bed in the mornings, and I never had to remind him to take out the trash. My dad was the same way, so I decided this was normal behavior and took David for granted. However, overtime, I noticed David’s frustration when I went a few weeks without washing my car or I forgot to pick up the dry cleaning. I took the attitude, “It’s my car. Why should he care?” “He has other shirts to wear. Why did he need what was at the cleaners right now?”

But the message David was receiving was disrespect. Clean cars matter to David and putting his freshly laundered shirts in his closet on a weekly basis made him feel valued and respected. While I appreciated the things David did for me, I did not receive the message of “you are special to me” when he emptied the dishwasher. I considered it to be a part of sharing household chores. All I wanted were words of affirmation and quality one-on-one time with him. His acts of service did not mean as much to me, because he was not speaking one of my top love languages.

When speaking a love language to your spouse (or in any relationship), it needs to be in the language they understand. We speak all 5 languages, but some are much higher on our list than others.

If acts of service are tops for your spouse, consider asking them to make a list of 4 things they would love for you to do. What would make their face light up? Does taking the initiative to bathe and put the children to bed give your spouse time to read or detox after a long day? Maybe they would love for you to take the initiative to bring dinner home. When acts of service are high on your partner’s list, being proactive becomes important. Serving with a joyful heart is also part of the package. If they sense you are dreading the chore, the effectiveness of your gesture will wane. The 5 Love Languages are just that – loving through language. And your love must be freely given. Acts of service is one way to make deposits into your marriage bank which ultimately will foster healthy relationships.

Patti Hatton, MA, LPC