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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

Gift Ideas for Father’s Day

Our dads are often the backbone of the family. How do we celebrate them when our covid-19 world keeps us home more? In times like this, we need to think outside the box. Get the ideas flowing with the help of these 10 suggestions that you can do from home.

BBQ Grill: With more time spent at home and summer approaching, now is a great time to invest in that BBQ dad has been wanting.

Steaks from His Favorite Meat House: Don’t just buy the new grill, gift him the entire party. Buy a family pack of steaks online. Include the seasoning and don’t forget his favorite sides.

Binge Watch HIS Favorite Shows All Night: It’s one thing to purchase his favorite shows on a streaming service, but you elevate your gift when you hop on the couch and watch the shows with him. Pop popcorn and make it a great night.

Coupon Book to Organize His Closet: …or any other part of his life that he would like to have organized. When we spend a great deal of time at home, things that we have ignored suddenly start bothering us. Offer a day of cleaning and organizing to help your favorite man de-clutter his life.

Gift Card to His Favorite Hardware Store: He may not be able to shop in person at his favorite hardware store, but most have an online presence. Let him stay in his robe and go on a shopping spree from the couch. If your local store does not have online shopping, an Amazon card will always work. Try to support small businesses, though. Buy local when you can!

Make His Favorite Breakfast: And make it a big one! Add a twist by flipping the day. Start by grilling steaks in the morning. Let Dad relax during the day and end the evening with a big breakfast.

Favorite Earbuds: Earbuds or headphones, whatever he prefers. Being quarantined at home with a great set will allow him a little extra quiet.

Indoor/Outdoor Slippers: He may be dressing from the waist up for those at-home Zoom meetings but treat him to a soft and sturdy pair of house shoes that can be worn inside or outside. Trust me! No one from the office will know!!

Upgrade His Desk Accessories: At this point in our semi-quarantine, Dad has probably mentioned he would like a nice desk set for his home office. Now is a great time to spruce up his space.

New Running Shoes: If the dad in your life has spent as much time outdoors as mine has, he is probably due for a new pair of athletic shoes.

Although our mind usually goes towards tangible items when it comes to gift giving, the best way to please the man in your life is by speaking his love language. These languages include words of affirmation; acts of service; receiving gifts; quality time; physical touch. If you do not know what language Dad speaks, I encourage the entire family to take the 5 Love Languages quiz. You will learn how to better communicate to both your spouse and your children. When it comes to gift giving, if you can speak his language, your gift (whether tangible or spoken) will be a hit!

Together with you,

Lisa Lou