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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!

  • Patti Hatton

Fill ‘er Up! Fuel to Live My Best Day



“It’s your day. Own it!” That was the message I received from the instructor at one of the first Soul Cycle classes to open in New York City. Our gregarious motivator addressed the class members as “Saturday.” He said, “Good morning, Saturday! How are you today?!” He continued to tell “Saturday” that this day belonged to us. It was ours to do with as we pleased, and he suggested filling it with self-love, healthy habits, and hard work. He told Saturday that they mattered, and they deserved to have the best day possible! I was ready to conquer the world after that class!

I agreed with the instructor that I should do everything in my power to make my day great, but I also remembered the wisdom found in God’s word that tells us to lean not on our own understanding, but to acknowledge God in all circumstances, and He will direct our path (𝙋𝙧𝙤𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙗𝙨 3: 5-6). God tells us to make plans but trust the result to Him (𝙋𝙧𝙤𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙗𝙨 16:1). The rigidity required to MAKE our day super productive can put us in the driver’s seat and remove us from God’s best. There is a delicate balance between owning our day to control what we can and yielding to the leadership of the Holy Spirit, but the two do go together. With that said, COVID and quarantining has provided more opportunity than ever to manage one’s time. What should I do with the gift of time and freedom that have been given to many of us? Here are some thoughts to consider.

Fill ‘er up! I need spiritual, physical, and emotional fuel to live my best day.

SPIRITUAL: I like to begin and end my day in prayer. Accountability and structure are important to me, and I find that a morning quiet time and involvement in a group Bible study are good life-time disciplines to practice. My morning quiet time consists of Bible study and prayer. Resources for study vary from Bible study books, Christian devotionals such as Jesus Calling, Oswald Chambers’ podcasts, or U-Tube sermons. I love to combine exercise with listening to a sermon or Christian music. I also listen in my car and at home while I am preparing dinner. I end my day by listening to a 15-minute devotional from an App called Abide. The sleep meditations help me release my burdens and prepare my heart for a restful night’s sleep. My last thoughts of the day are focused on God’s love and goodness. Strive for repeatable practices. Find the ones that fit with your personality and lifestyle and do them over and over. They will form a foundation for living your life with strength and purpose.

PHYSICAL: Three categories to consider everyday are food/water, exercise, and sleep. Food and water are medicine for our bodies. Exercise is the #1 antidote for depression and should include cardio, weights, and stretching. Sleep is a time for refreshment and regeneration. How are you doing in these vital areas? There are many resources to help create a healthy lifestyle. Find the ones that resonate with your needs and lifestyle and get busy! Strive for repeatable routines that work for you.

EMOTIONAL

"Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24 NIV). Often things like worry, anxiety, fear, insecurity, and self-doubt are revealed in my heart. It helps me to acknowledge these emotions and ask God to direct me to a fueling station. As I am admitting my hurts and concerns to the Lord, I ask Him for strength and direction and for scripture I can meditate on throughout the day. I ask for a rhema word, which is when we hear that still, small utterance of God, and we see how scripture’s universal truths can apply to our personal life. The Lord also uses the body of Christ to encourage and strengthen us. Who can I call that will energize me and offer constructive feedback? Our beliefs and mood can quickly shift when we hear another’s perspective. We need healthy voices inside our head besides our own! Our perspectives can be narrow, so reach out to others. We were created to have relationships for a reason. We need one another!

SUGGESTIONS

Mimic the Soul Cycle instructor and divide your day into manageable segments. Set goals for each segment. Good morning, Monday! Good afternoon, Monday! Good evening, Monday!

Observe your actions for a few days. Make notes and decide what you want more of and what you need less of. An example would be I need more time to read and reflect and less TV time. Categories to address each day are what time you wake up and go to bed (this determines your quality of sleep); what are your priorities and obligations for the day; meals; exercise; spiritual nourishment; leisure and recreation; journaling each evening to cultivate the habit of thankfulness and appreciation.

Viewing each day in segments allows you to wrap your mind around achievable goals. It is easier to manage 4 hours verses 15. Interview people you admire and ask them what their typical morning, afternoon, and evenings involve.

As you fill up your tank with the fuel you need to live your best life, I pray you will lay your head on your pillow each night with a smile in your heart and fond memories of “your” Monday.

Patti Hatton, MA, LPC

www.pattihattoncounselor.com