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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

How to Host an Unforgettable “Galentine’s Day” Party!

Over the years, I have looked forward to hosting Galentine’s Day with my best gals rather than actual Valentine’s Day! It is so fun to get together and really indulge in that “girly-girl spirit” without the men around. We change the theme up every year, and it has become an annual tradition. Here are a few fun ideas if you want to host an unforgettable party!

1. Decor: Create a festive vibe and go all-out on decor! Target has adorable Valentine’s items this year! I love getting to decorate my home with hearts and pink and red, even if it is only temporary. Fresh flowers are a beautiful touch for every party, so make sure you add them for the girls. Buy a large bouquet of pink and red flowers and make your own small arrangements around the house. I also love to decorate by filling up glass jars with Valentine’s candy! This makes a great centerpiece for the table. It is important to indulge all the senses when hosting a party. You can do this by lighting candles and playing fun, girly music, you know your friends will enjoy!

2. Food and Drink: You can find adorable heart shaped food inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram and at my parties, brunch is always a huge hit with the ladies! You can never go wrong with mimosas, coffee, heart shaped waffles, pancakes, bacon, and fruit. Or make it easy on yourself and head to a local bakery to pick up Valentine’s themed desserts. Another fun idea is to create wine and heart-themed charcuterie boards for an evening party. You can easily cut out heart shaped cheese, meats, fruits, and veggies with cookie cutters.

3. Photo op: These days, a photo op staging area is a must for a Galentine’s Day gathering. If you have never done this before, do not be intimidated. It is quite simple! The most important factor is choosing a spot with good lighting. Pick a wall and get creative! Adding simple elements with streamers, balloons, or garland is all you need. If you really want to go all out give your gals cute matching Valentine’s Day themed t-shirts and heart shaped sunglasses as a party favor. Everyone will want to take photos together!

4.Activities: It is always nice to have a creative activity to do together at a party while you socialize. Purchase craft kits and make your own Valentine’s Day cards. Another nostalgic throwback is making friendship bracelets.

I hope this inspires you to have a little fun and throw a party just for the girls this year. Quality time with friends is important if you are to keep your relationships strong. There is no better time to spread a little love and celebrate the precious people in your life!

Samantha Reyna

Mom to 2 toddlers and loving wife