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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!

  • Lisa Lou

What to Write on a Party Invitation

Every party needs an invitation, and there are certain guidelines that need to be followed. You have made your guest list and chosen your theme, so the next step is creating or purchasing invitations.

There are different forms of communication you can choose, from evites to hand-written notes. For a special evening, I recommend staying with an invitation that requires a stamp. For something quick and easy, an evite might be a suitable choice. No matter what you decide the information included will remain the same. The Why - Explain why you are having the party. Is it a birthday bash for a friend? A graduation celebration for your niece? Whatever the reason, this should be stated boldly.

List the Guest of Honor - If you are honoring someone at the event, you should list their name close to the top where you explain what type of party you are hosting.

Date and Time – Writing the date and time on the third row ensures this information can be quickly read. I spell out the month unless it is a casual gathering: Saturday, March 3. When deciding whether to list the year, this is not necessary for an informal invitation. For a formal event, spell out the year. The same holds true with the time. Use a numerical version for less formal: 7:00 p.m. But spell out for more formal: seven o’clock in the evening.

Location - If your party is a place other than your home, list the name of the place along with the address. In today’s age of GPS, zip codes are not necessary and only occupy space on the invitation.

Hosts - Next you will list the hosts for the event.

Response Guide – How do you want guests to reply to your party? Is it by email, phone, or both? List this here. If you are including a deadline for response, state it next to the email/phone number. You may call any guest that has not replied by your requested date to ask if they will be attending. Do not feel badly about doing this. Just be gracious! Most of us have been guilty of not responding to an invitation. Side note: Do not write “regrets only.” There is a great deal of complacency by people when responding to invitations and if you put “regrets only” you have no way of knowing who will show up. Always ask for a reply and always put a deadline.

Attire - List any dress code or suggested attire. It is unkind to leave guests wondering what they should wear as no one likes showing up dressed inappropriately. A party should be fun and stressing over what to wear is not fun.

Address - When addressing an invitation, I prefer to use titles. This shows respect to the person on the receiving end: Mr. and Mrs. Joe Cooper. A less formal way would be to say: Sally and Joe Cooper. If you really want to start your party off with a bang, hand deliver your invitation and attach a small gift. Example: An invitation to a birthday party might be delivered to your guests with a balloon.

Putting this together a typical invitation will look like this:

Together with you,

Lisa Lou