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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!

  • Lisa Lou

Be Happy - Part 2

Updated: Jun 3, 2020

Summary of the book The Law of Happiness by Dr. Henry Cloud


In chapter 2 of Dr. Cloud’s book The Law of Happiness, he says one of the first characteristics scientific research has discovered about happy people is that they are all givers. They do things for others on a regular basis. The National Institute of Health showed that the pleasure centers of the brain actually “light up” when people give to others. We experience a physical reaction when we give. God has created us to be givers, and in so doing, we find a form of happiness when we do. These same studies show that givers have less stress, anxiety and depression in their lives. I don’t think anyone can argue about that. When we give of ourselves, we almost always feel a sense of joy. Some people have claimed they even get a physical “warm fuzzy” in their hearts.


So how do we give? As with anything in life, we need to be intentional. Giving does not just happen. Dr. Cloud states that one way to give is to “give out of faith.” By this he means that God has told us to give to others, therefore we need to be obedient and give. This does not have to be monetarily (although we need to practice this as well). When you take food to a sick friend or give up a Saturday to help a charitable organization, you are practicing a form of giving. In order to be intentional, we need to schedule our giving. Make a list of things you would like to do for others and write them down. It might be as simple as baking a cake for a co-worker’s birthday. It does not matter what it is… just give.


Dr. Cloud also encourages us to give obediently. Don’t just wait until you “feel” like giving. Sometimes the “feelings” never emerge. This is where the obedience comes in: doing what we know we should do, even when we do not feel like it. Be intentional about giving and make it a priority in your calendar.


When my son was 5, we took him with us to volunteer at our church for Angels of Light. This is an event we do every Christmas where we bring more than 5,000 homeless families to our campus to feed and clothe them. There is also a performance of our Christmas musical and every child receives a gift. My son had a special toy he carried with him everywhere, and that evening at Angels of Light was no exception. My husband and I were assigned to work with families from a shelter that had very small children about the same age as our child. It did not take long for our son to realize that the singular gift these children received that night was probably the only gift they would receive all Christmas. When the evening was over and we loaded everyone back on the bus to return to their shelter, my son also boarded the bus and began walking quietly down the aisle. He moved very slowly, pausing as he passed each seat, and looked each visitor in the eye. Almost at the end of the bus, he abruptly stopped in front of a little boy about the same age. He looked directly into this child’s eyes and said, “Would you like my toy?” His favorite toy. The little boy shook his head yes. Our son stretched out his hand and gave this little stranger, what to our son was, his most prized possession. As a parent, my heart melted. My son was grinning from ear to ear as he exited the bus and we prepared to go home. He had that “warm fuzzy” inside. For the next 30 minutes he skipped when he walked and could not stop smiling…until we got into our car. It was at this moment reality hit. He burst into tears and said, “I gave my favorite toy away!” He went from “warm fuzzy” to “oh, no, what have I done!” What a teaching moment this was for a parent.


Being obedient in our giving does not mean we will always get that “warm fuzzy,” but a characteristic of a happy person is someone that gives anyway. Just like our son, sometimes we give because we feel led to give. Sometimes we give because we are being obedient to what God calls us to do. Sometimes we give out of joy but then later have some sadness for what we feel we have lost. These feelings are normal, but the key is to just GIVE!! As mentioned before, God has physically wired our brains to experience happiness when we give. Happy people are givers! Science proves it, and God commands it.


Together with you,

Lisa Lou


(link to Be Happy - Part 3)