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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

Q/A Defining Role in Parenting

Updated: Oct 22, 2020

Q: How do you draw the line and define the roles in parenting. Often moms spend more time with the children than dad. We take them to doctor appointments, playdates, we handle their schedules and discipline more often. Usually it is because we are with them more. How do you handle it when the husband has different ideas on parenting and takes the approach, “Well, I’m their dad”? What language should I use instead of saying, “I know them best?” How do you resolve the tug-of-war?

A: The context of a parental discussion is to be considered when making decisions that are best for the children. I would ask myself why my husband might feel the need to pull the “I’m the dad” card. I think this is the bigger question. Does the husband feel the wife has an alliance with the children and he feels like an outsider? Is he trying to stake his claim as a leader of the family? The wife needs to consider the cost vs. benefit of including her husband in decisions, especially if he is trying to step up and become more involved in the decision-making process. If the mom is with the children more than dad, then there is no doubt the mom has had opportunities to make child-rearing mistakes AND learn from them. Has the dad been given these same opportunities to bond with his children, make mistakes with his children and grow and learn? I would also ask if letting your children follow dad’s lead when he is with them, as opposed to correcting your husband, even if there might be a better way, could be viewed as teaching your children disrespect for their father. Witnessing the battle between two parents can be damaging. A husband and wife need to create a unified front when the children are around. Wisdom becomes your friend as you seek an appropriate time to discuss options with your spouse. If the husband can see his wife as his partner, someone that is for him and not against him, he will welcome her input. But if the wife is acting out of a heart filled with hurt, or a place of arrogance because she feels she knows better, the issue will not be resolved by telling the husband he is not needed as a decision maker. This will only serve to divide the couple, which, ultimately, hurts the child. Parents that are united, even when mistakes are made, create healthier examples for children than parents that are divided, even if the “right” decision won out. And making a mistake as parents, united, also affords you both the opportunity to show your children you are not perfect, correct your mistake and ask their forgiveness. This teaches a child to have a forgiving heart (assuming the mistake was something the child even notices). We make mistakes, we say we are sorry, we forgive. As parents, stay united, and have discussions on parenting, when possible, in private.

Patti Hatton, MA, LPC