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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

The 5 Love Languages: Giving Gifts

Updated: Jan 28, 2021



My oldest daughter, Jessica, has the love language of gifts. She surprises my husband and me with unexpected presents that meet specific needs or desires. She pays attention to things we are drawn to for pleasure as well as things that we need to make life easier or more efficient. The things she chooses always match our needs, wants, and desires. When we receive a gift from Jessica, it communicates thoughtfulness and intentionality.


We are always surprised and moved that unbeknown to us, she notices things we want, but also need. I love a hot cup of coffee and have often stated the best rated coffee makers are the ones with a high heat setting. On my birthday, she gifted me with an Ember Mug! This wonderful invention allows you to electronically preset the desired temperature for your coffee, and the level of heat will be maintained for about an hour. I can now pour my favorite java and drink with confidence knowing my morning beverage will be consistently warm. These mugs are relatively new to the market, and I had no idea they existed. She saw my need and solved the problem. I am reminded of her thoughtful heart every time I use it.


I have learned how to be a good gift giver because of Jessica. People who communicate through the language of receiving gifts not only cherish the items given to them, but they also enjoy the element of surprise, the presentation of the gift, and the thought behind the token of affection. Beyond that, the memories of gift-giving occasions can also fill their hearts for years to come.


Tips for those with loved ones who speak the language of gifts is to consider gift buying a skill that can be developed over time. Understand the monetary value of an item is not important. It is the thought and sentiment behind the token received that touches the heart.

For a big surprise, consider buying gifts outside the traditional special occasions. Learn to give randomly for the gift lover in your life. A single package of bubble bath with a votive candle to enjoy after a hard day at work. A gift card for free food delivery when your friend or loved one is traveling. A single piece of delectable chocolate placed on the pillow to set the mood for romance. The possibilities are endless for giving gifts. The only thing you must ask yourself is, “How can I bless the heart of the recipient?” If you can accomplish this one task, you will succeed in the love language of gifts.


Patti Hatton, MA, LPC

www.pattihattoncounselor.com