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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!

  • Patti Hatton

Love Your Enemy

Fear serves a healthy purpose when the clouds become dark and a dangerous storm is approaching, and animosity is a normal reaction to an armed robbery, but these emotions become toxic when they linger past the purpose they were intended to serve. How do we overcome these emotions? Scripture tells us to bring every thought captive, to praise God in all circumstances and to love our enemies, which feels very unnatural when we are in pain. But if we want to gain control over our mind and emotions, we will consider the wisdom behind these commands. Many times, the offenses we ruminate over have to do with petty circumstances such as a friend saying the wrong thing or a mother-in-law overstepping her boundaries. (Be on the lookout for a vlog with Lisa Lou and Cecelia on healthy Mother/Daughter-in-law relationships!) Our quality of life will be a direct reflection of our state of mind. Protective boundaries against harm are imperative but obsessing over offenses does not serve us well. Here is an exercise used by psychologists to help break fixated thought patterns: 1. Go to a place in your mind where you feel calm, peaceful, and loved. Some may see themselves by a stream or in the mountains, and others on a beach watching a sunset. All is well in your safe place and you feel relaxed and at one with yourself. 2. Picture your enemy, or the person that caused an offense in your mind and allow the same feelings of love and beauty you are experiencing to enter them. Stay in this place until you see this person receiving the same good that you are receiving. 3. The next time this person comes to mind or you interact with them, go to that place of refuge and safety and see them through the lens of love. For the believer, we can do the same exercise, but we internalize God’s love in the midst of visiting our place of refuge. His love is greater and more powerful than anything we can provide. When we allow and offer that love to another, even our enemy, it changes our disposition. It breaks the stronghold of allowing our damaged emotions to rule our thought processes. It sets us free as we see the enemy as someone who is also in need of the Father’s love. This exercise does not require our protective boundaries to change, but our minds will shift to willing good into the life of the person we once thought had hurt us. The same applies to praising God in all circumstances. Love overcomes evil. And when we shift our thinking from our pain to a God who sees and knows our circumstances, we can put our faith in a power greater than ourselves to care and act on our behalf. God’s got you! Patti Hatton, MA, LPC

www.pattihattoncounselor.com