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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!

  • Rebecca Steinbach

God’s Upside-Down Kingdom

Updated: Dec 11, 2020



“But whoever would be great among you must be your servant.”

“Whoever loses his life for my sake, will find it.”

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

Matthew 20:26; Matthew 16:24-25; Matthew 5:44


God often encourages us to think in an “upside-down” way - love your enemies; lose your life to find it; serve if you want to lead. These things sound like nonsense compared to the wisdom of the world. With this “backward” thinking in mind, a friend once gave me the advice to try “doing the opposite” when having a frustrating day. For example, when your kids are clingy and you really want to be left alone, instead of trying to hide in the bathroom, read a book together or start a dance party. If you have bickering kids, make them work together on a task, instead of separating them.


Our family has a “kindness jar” which is a jar with chores written on pieces of paper. When siblings argue, I do not try to figure out what is happening or who started what, I just hold out the kindness jar and they have to choose a job to complete together. This might be vacuuming mom’s car, sweeping the garage, or washing the patio furniture. Once they start the task, it only takes a few minutes before they are laughing together again. One Christmas break I had my entire household to-do list completed with this method!


To add to the anticipation of pulling out a chore card, and to reinforce the idea that God’s grace saves us from what we deserve, there is one “grace card” in the jar. This card has a quick and silly task such as: “Sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star together.” The grace card always leads to a sigh of relief from the offending sibling, and the performance provides hearty laughter for the entire family.


By choosing the opposite of what seems logical, we can model for our families what it looks like to pursue God’s upside-down kingdom. It is a reminder to show love when we have been hurt, to put others’ needs before ours, and to choose humility when tempted by pride.


CHALLENGE: Sometime this week, choose the opposite of what seems logical and see how it goes.


Rebecca Steinbach

“In the Trenches” Contributing Writer

Wife, Mother of 3 girls, and avid travel planner!