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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

Gifts Ideas for the Mom in Your Life

Mother’s Day is quickly approaching! As a busy mom, Mother’s Day can sneak up on you with the chaos of end of the year school activities, home projects, and travel plans. Moms have a heart of gold and do not have expectations of presents, but we still love the gesture of gifting to make the day special and show our appreciation for everything she does for the family. Here are some thoughtful ideas for the loving and selfless moms in your life!

For your mom or mother-in-law:

1. Upgrade her tired, old loungewear! Chances are, this probably is not on Mom’s priority list. Make her feel luxurious with a fluffy new robe and slippers or some silky soft pajamas. Monogramming these items is a nice touch!

2. Make a gift basket with a new study Bible, planner, or journal. Add a cute coffee mug, some pretty pens, and a bookmark. She will think of you every morning during her quiet time!

For your daughter or daughter-in-law:

1. A trendy, personalized necklace that says “Mama” or her children’s initials. I love Lola James Jewelry!

2. A coupon for a day off or a night out! Whether she works inside or outside the home, your daughter will deeply appreciate some time to refresh and recharge. Offer to babysit the kids and go the extra mile by booking her a nail appointment, foot massage, or a dinner reservation!

For your sister or sister-in-law:

1. Gift her some self-care products she might not normally treat herself to such as cooling eye gels, a body scrub, bath salts, or a facial roller. DIY spa day!

2. Inspire her with a new cookbook from her favorite cooking personality! I love Joanna Gaines. Add an oven mitt and matching apron set from Williams Sonoma and tie it all together with a pretty ribbon.

3. Sis will love a wine subscription! She will enjoy a glass after the kids are tucked in bed and she is unwinding after a long day of mom life!

For Grandma:

1. Brighten her day with fresh flowers or a houseplant.

2. Satisfy her sweet tooth with some cookies or cupcakes from a local bakery. Then sit and enjoy them with her! Brew a pot of coffee and spend quality time together.

3. When it comes to Grandma, you can never go wrong with photos. She will love displaying a framed picture of her children or grandchildren!

For the mom who has it all:

1. Give her a spa day! Every woman loves to be pampered! Book a massage or a facial at an upscale location. She will not forget it!

2. Take mom out to brunch! Enjoy some avocado toast, mimosas, and celebrate motherhood!

3. Personalized gifts never miss the mark. Give her a monogrammed makeup bag, hand towels, or jewelry case.

Samantha Reyna

Mom to 2 toddlers and loving wife