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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!

  • Sami Reyna

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Even in the middle of summer, this father loves family time by the fire.

With Father’s Day coming soon, you and your family will be celebrating one of the most important men in your life- Dad. As a child, he was your hero, your protector, and your solid rock. Now that you are older, you admire him for all that he has done for you and you still look to him for advice and wisdom. Picking out the perfect gift for Dad is not easy! He often says he wants nothing, and if he does want something he just buys it himself! Regardless of what he says, here are some great gifts that Dad is sure to love.

For Dad or Father-in-Law:

*Temperature Control Ceramic Mug: Dad has an impressive coffee mug collection, but this is not just any old mug! Ember makes an electric mug that keeps coffee at a constant temperature so Dad can enjoy his perfect cup of coffee all morning long.

*Fishing Rod/Tackle Box: Have someone at Bass Pro Shops or your local outdoor store help you pick one out. Dad will not be able to contain his excitement when he sees his new fishing gear!

*Digital Tile “Finder”: Dad will never lose his keys or wallet again with this device. He will appreciate that you helped make his life a little easier!

*Plan Some Fun: Fun is always a good idea, especially for Dad. Unwind at Top Golf, go axe throwing, head to the shooting range, or go see a movie together. Dad will love that you went out of your way to make plans just for him. Take lots of photos!

*Survival Bracelet: Dad is an outdoorsman and will take this on his next hunting trip. The Paracord survival bracelet contains a compass, knife, several feet of cord, and a fire starter.

*Bombas Socks: Sometimes, it is the simple things in life that are the best gifts. I gave my dad these socks for Christmas and he still talks about how comfortable they are and how much he loves them.

*Dinner/Homemade Treats: They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach! This could not be truer for the men in my life. Honor Dad with a Father’s Day dinner or visit him with his favorite homemade treats in hand.

*Personalized Gifts: Dads tend to become more sentimental as they get older. My dad proudly displays any type of personalized gift we have given him over the years. Some ideas are engraved whisky glasses, a monogrammed baseball cap, or a personalized golf ball gift set.

For Son or Son-in-Law:

BBQ Tool Set: Son prides himself on his grilling skills, so why not get him something he will want to use every week? We love what Williams Sonoma has to offer! Bonus points for you: your daughter/daughter-in-law will be thrilled when he takes over the cooking more often!

For Brother or Brother-in-Law:

A Pocketknife: Any man’s eyes will light up when he unwraps this new tool. We recommend a quality, made in the US brand, like Benchmade.

For Grandpa:

Grooming Set: Treat Grandpa to a fancy grooming set that includes a shaver, face wash, moisturizer, and cologne. He will feel ten years younger!

Let’s celebrate the men in our lives who have been there for us!

Samantha Reyna

Mom to 2 toddlers and loving wife