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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!

  • Alina Gersib

Going Social Media Free


The other day I felt like I was balancing on a tightrope. I caught myself becoming overly irritated at the smallest things. My thoughts were running through my head in a loop of negativity and I needed it to stop! I felt my mood improving after going on a short walk, however, I wanted to figure out what had triggered these tumultuous emotions.

After thinking through my day, I realized that on this particular morning instead of hopping out of bed to start my day with movement, reading, and journaling, I laid scrolling on Instagram. This one act had propelled me into a wormhole of negativity. Instead of setting my own trajectory and intentions for the day, I was filled with other people’s lives, ideas, and thoughts. When we don’t take the time to identify what is important for our lives, we are left impressionable to what other people are saying is most important.

For the next week I put in place a few measures to make sure I did not fall into any mindless scrolling. The first thing I did was charge my phone in another room. This kept me from grabbing my cell when I first woke up. The second (and arguably more helpful) thing I did was log myself out of Instagram. Every time I impulsively clicked onto the app without thinking, I was faced with a login. This small act was enough to break me out of the autopilot I so easily fall into during lull moments of life, like waiting to check out at the grocery store. Instead of becoming absorbed in my phone, I started to appreciate simply standing and observing the things happening around me. It felt both invigorating as well as unnerving to be untethered to a device, as if the small shield I used to avoid standing alone was suddenly pulled away. Only, instead of feeling anxious without my phone, I found myself enjoying the small interactions with the people around me. Smiles behind masks and nods of acknowledgment binding together patrons of the local chains.

I do not think social media is negative. I love the tool as a way to keep updated on friends’ lives and learn from people I appreciate. However, like anything on the internet, Instagram can be a ticking time bomb of negativity and people yelling from every corner. I find that in order to live my happiest and most balanced life, I need to limit the amount of time I spend on the apps or take breaks from it completely.

The world is made more beautiful when we live out the unique callings within our souls. Use social media as a catalyst to gain inspiration and connection, not as a tool of self-doubt or frustration. I challenge you to log out of your Instagram to give yourself a check when you click onto the app. You might be surprised at the increase in your positivity and decrease in stress. Not to mention the time added back into your day!

Alina Gersib - Contributing Writer