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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!

  • Alina Gersib

Say Yes to Life



Last week I talked about journal prompts for growth. If you did any of the prompts, you may have realized there are things in your life you want to shift. If that was the case, great! It is crucial to periodically check-in and assess your attitude towards life and if you like the trajectory you are on. One practice that I believe to be incredibly underrated and helpful in this process is challenging yourself to say “yes,” more often.

Now, I am not talking about living like Jim Carry in “Yes Man.” That could leave you in some predicaments you do not want. However, I do think it is important to approach opportunities without fear and with excitement for what may come. Even if you cannot see the result from where you are now, get excited.

Teachers and guides talk about following your passions to reach your desired end goal. Though this is a good idea in theory, in practicality is can be difficult to figure out what your passions are. The easiest way to identify the things you are passionate about is to act. Say yes to opportunities and find out if they resonate with you when you do them. If you do not try a new thing, you miss out on ways to discover more about yourself.

When I was in college, I was unsure about what career to pursue, however I loved to write, so I challenged myself to contribute to a publication weekly for 6 months. I had never done anything like it and, being someone who typically keeps thoughts and opinions to herself, it was a leap I was nervous about, to say the least. However, when the opportunity presented itself, I knew it would challenge me and help me grow in new ways. I said yes to the job, which led me to a great internship, which ultimately paved the way for a career that I love!

We find what we are looking for in life. If you are seeking out the good and the growth, you will find the good and the growth. If you are seeking out the negative and the wrong, you will find the negative and wrong. Our attitude can make things appear like either opportunities or roadblocks. It all comes down to mindset. When we approach prospects with a mindset of openness and a willingness to say yes, not only does our world widen but we may be pleasantly surprised to discover a new hobby, workout, or job that we love.

A few ideas:

*Grab a pen and paper and sketch the scene in front of you.

*Sign up for a Pilates, Yoga, or Zumba class at your local community center.

*Watch a video about a hobby that has always interested you (gardening, photography, line dancing), whatever it is, there’s a video out there that explains the basics.

*Instead of picking up take-out of your favorite meal, try to make it at home.

*Already have an interest that you do sporadically? Commit to it for a set amount of time. Example: write or practice daily for 30 days; make a new meal once a week for the next 3 months.

*Ask a work friend out to dinner.

*Accept the offer that you have been putting off.

*Start the business you have been waiting to begin.

*Volunteer at a local pet shelter, homeless shelter, or soup kitchen.

*Reach out and network; do not keep waiting for the “perfect moment.”

*Bring your talent to an open mic night.

Do not be afraid of new opportunities. If an idea peaks your interest, explore it. Do not keep yourself in a box to satisfy a projection of the person you think you are “supposed to be.” Let yourself change and become. Life is too short to avoid trying new things. Step outside your comfort zone and enjoy discovering what you love (and what you do not love), all while cultivating a deeper relationship with yourself in the process.

Alina Gersib