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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!

  • Alina Gersib

Cream of Mushroom Soup Taste Test

Happy Foodie Friday! These recipes come courtesy of Penny and Eleazar Martinez.

Each of our Taste Test Reviews comes with the original recipe and the tester's notes/changes listed with the ingredient list in blue. We hope you enjoy!

Wow! Another incredible recipe, this cream of mushroom soup is everything you could want in a dish. The hearty mushrooms add an earthy element and a healthy source of protein, while aromatic onion and garlic add lots of flavor and antioxidants. All of the ingredients, from the thyme to the beef bullion base, add a rich dimension to this recipe. I substituted the chicken broth for chicken bone broth which brought even more richness and gut-friendly collagen to this already great-for-your-body meal. This tasty soup will call you back for seconds!

Cream of Mushroom Soup
Download PDF • 1.69MB

Makes 4 servings

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Cost: $17


*4 tablespoons butter

*1 tablespoon oil

*2 onions, diced

*4 cloves garlic, minced

*1 1/2 pounds fresh brown mushrooms, sliced

*4 teaspoons thyme, chopped

*1/2 cup Marsala wine (any dry red or white wine)

*6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

*4 cups low sodium chicken broth

*1-2 teaspoons salt, to taste

*1/2 teaspoon black cracked pepper, adjust to taste

*2 beef bouillon cubes, crumbled

*1 cup heavy cream or half and half

*1/2 teaspoon fresh parsley per bowl for garnish


*Heat butter and oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until melted.

*Sauté onions for 2 to 3 minutes until softened.

*Cook garlic, about 1 minute.

*Add mushrooms and 2 teaspoons thyme, cook for 5 minutes.

*Pour in wine and allow to cook for 3 minutes.

*Sprinkle mushrooms in the pan with flour, mix well and cook for 2 minutes.

*Add broth, mix again and bring to a boil.

*Reduce heat to low-medium heat and add salt, pepper and crumbled bouillon cubes.

*Cover and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes until thickened (stirring occasionally).

*Reduce heat to low, stir in cream or half and half. Allow to gently simmer (do not boil).

*Adjust salt and pepper to your taste.

*Mix in parsley and remaining thyme.

*Serve warm.

Recipe and Taste Tester - Alina Gersib