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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!

  • Lisa Lou


Meeting friends for dinner after work, grabbing coffee with your girlfriend or just ordering pizza on a Friday night with neighbors. We all have a deep desire to be connected in a world that often forgets the importance of relationships. Many of us have the desire to entertain, but we let our circumstances keep us from extending hospitality. Often it revolves around our lack of confidence in our ability to host events. I get this!

But here is what we need to remember. Your friends will appreciate an invitation from you, and they will not care if everything in your home is perfect. (If they do, I question if they are truly friends.) My family and I have lived in a 1950s ranch-style home for close to 30 years. We have endured five remodels and spent months living in a construction zone. Entertaining in these conditions might seem impossible, but we need to remember it is more important to extend hospitality than to worry about what we perceive as the perfect party. Enjoy life and make the best of your circumstances.

A favorite party theme of mine was held during one of our remodels. Our house was torn up for 14 months, and there was no way I was going to go that long without entertaining. As is my philosophy in almost everything I do, go with what life gives you! I sent out construction themed invitations and told our guests to dress casually. Our floors had been ripped up, so it was a fantastic opportunity to throw confetti everywhere.

When people arrived, they were handed decorative hard hats from the party store and all food was served on paper plates. We had plenty of room to entertain, because there was no furniture in most of the rooms. I gave everyone a pen and we wrote on the walls, which had been torn down to their studs. Our friends had a blast, and it was a perfect party, even during disaster.

Remember, hospitality is how we extend love to our fellow neighbors and community. Entertaining is how we show our hospitality. Do not let your desire to entertain like the picture-perfect Pinterest posts keep you from extending hospitality.

With that said, one of the goals at Lisa Lou’s is to help you break down all aspects of entertaining to help you feel confident in your ability to extend hospitality to the world around you. Organization is the key to success in most of life. Hosting a party is no different. Throughout our past and future blogs, we spend a great deal of time taking you through easy-to-follow steps when hosting a party.

Our goal has always been to help families and communities come together, regardless of their surroundings. At Lisa Lou’s, we believe in connection, and we believe this happens best in the home where you can extend joy and love to friends and strangers.

Together with you,

Lisa Lou