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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!

  • Alina Gersib

Rosemary Focaccia

This Italian flat bread is relatively quick to make and a crowd pleaser beyond compare. I have brought it to multiple events and it always receives rave reviews. The hands on time to create the focaccia is only about 20 minutes but the outcome tastes like you spent hours in the kitchen. From the oil soaked edges to fluffy interior, each bite of this tasty bread will leave you wanting more.

Even though the recipe is simple, there are two separate rise times involved before baking equaling about 2 hours, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time. Yeast breads require warm environments to fluff up fully. If your home tends to be on the cooler side a great place to let your bread rise is in the laundry room while you are washing/drying a load of clothes. The rising process may only take around 40 minutes if you place the dough in a particularly warm area. All in all this recipe is absolutely wonderful. We hope you enjoy!

Rustic Rosemary Recipes
Download PDF • 339KB

Makes 8 - 10 servings

Preparation Time: 20 minutes, plus 2 hours to rise

Cook Time: 20 minutes


*1 package active dry yeast, (2 1/4 teaspoons)

*1 3/4 cups warm water, 110°F

*1 tablespoon sugar

*4 cups all-purpose flour, plus a little extra for kneading

*1 cup whole wheat flour

*1 tablespoon sea salt

*1/3 cup + 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

*2 tablespoons rosemary

*1/2 teaspoon Maldon flakey salt for sprinkling


*Stir together yeast, water, and sugar in a medium sized bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes until the mixture is covered in foam.

*Combine flours, 1 tablespoon sea salt, 1/3 cup of olive oil, and the yeast mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.

*Mix on low until the mixture comes together, then turn the speed to medium-low and continue to knead for about 6 minutes. The dough will be ready when it's slightly sticking to the bottom of the bowl and looks soft and a little tacky.

*Transfer the dough to a clean and lightly floured surface. Knead the dough a few times and form a ball.

*Brush a large bowl with a few teaspoons of olive oil.

*Place dough in bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

*Move bowl to a warm area and allow dough to rise until doubled in size, about an hour.

*Coat a large baking sheet with 1/4 cup olive oil.

*Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and kneed a few times.

*Place the dough onto your oiled baking sheet, pressing and spreading it until it reaches the edges.

*Flip the dough over to coat the opposite side in oil and spread it out to the edges again.

*Use your fingers to make indentations every few inches over the surface of the dough.

*Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and move it to proof in a warm area until it doubles again, around an hour.

*Preheat the oven to 425°F.

*Remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle surface of dough with rosemary and Maldon flakey salt.

*Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.

Recipe Creator - Alina Gersib