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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!

  • Patti Hatton

Q/A How to Love Yourself

Updated: Oct 22, 2020

Q: How do you love yourself? How do you stop comparing yourself to everything you see on Instagram? I recently unfollowed people who made me feel bad about myself. I began surrounding myself with more motivational and inspirational people. It made a huge difference.

A: We are all tempted to compare our lives with others to see how we measure up. While it is wonderful to gain inspiration, encouragement, and ideas from others, using our time and energy to live in a tormented state of envy or inferiority is just not worth it.

I use the hula hoop as a metaphor to describe what I own and what lies within my jurisdiction. Imagine a hula hoop around you and a hula hoop around someone else. Everything in your hula hoop belongs to you. Your hair is in your hula hoop. It is your hair, you own it, and you are responsible for it. You can cut, color, or do whatever you please because it is your hair. Your spiritual gifts and natural talents are in your hula hoop. It is your responsibility to learn what those are and to develop and use them to make a meaningful contribution to society. They are your gifts and talents. You own them and you are responsible for them. Your desires, feelings, ambitions, etc., are within your hula hoop.

Why would I use my time and resources to focus on another person’s hula hoop when I do not own anything within their hula hoop? If you look at it through the lens of the hula hoop metaphor, you can see what a loss it would be not to explore and discover what you own and do your very best to love, nurture, and develop those things. Think of your hula hoop as a pie chart divided into sections. Each piece contains something different. Spiritual, intellectual, relational, creative, physical; all are a part of you.

Ask yourself, “What can I do to grow the intellectual part of myself? What books can I read, or classes can I take to stimulate my mind?

What can I do to grow the creative part of myself?” Make goals that are small, specific, and measurable to cultivate wholeness and move towards success.

Scripture tells us in Psalm 139 that God fashioned and formed us in our mother’s womb. We were HIS idea and he has declared each of us to be “wonderful and complex.” God did not make a mistake when He created you. Learning to love and develop yourself as if you were your own best friend is your privilege and responsibility. It is a choice, though. You could choose to squander all that God has given you by focusing on what you perceive others have that you do not. God gave them their gifts for a reason, and he gave you your gifts for a reason. Think of your traits, your gifts, as tools. When we set out to complete a job, we make sure we have the right tools. A carpenter needs a hammer. A cook needs a stove.

God has given each person the tools we need to perform the work he has placed before us. Embrace it and be the best you that you can be. You were created, just as you are, for a reason. It is your job to figure out that reason. We should surround ourselves with healthy relationships, this includes on social media. Just as we would never consume poison, we should not consume destructive things that hold us back from the plan God has set before us. When you are old and gray, you want to be able to look back on your life and know you took responsibility for that which God entrusted to you, and only you. No regrets!

Patti Hatton, MA, LPC