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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

Why a Travel Agent Makes Sense!

Our son and daughter (in law) were finally able to take a long-overdue honeymoon to St. Lucia in December. Cecelia interned one summer for a travel agent so naturally called the company to book their trip. What an incredible experience they had, and I was reminded WHY using a travel agent is worth the expense. Fees range depending on the service, but most charge between $300-350 to plan a vacation somewhere in the Caribbean Islands.

When you hire a professional, you benefit from all the influence and connections they have built over the years with the various hotels and resorts. Whatever perks the company is given, they can easily pass along to their clients. Look at the bonuses Caz and Cecelia received because they hired a travel expert:

  • $560: 7 days of free breakfast-for-2

  • $100: resort credit to spend as they wished

  • Bottle of champagne greeting them in their room upon arrival

  • Free wi-fi

  • Early check-in and late check-out

  • And the best upgrade of all: because there was availability, they were moved to one of the most expensive suites which came with a private butler!

Total benefits received: Just under $3,000!

Using an agent also guarantees other benefits. When Caz and Cecelia arrived, the hotel had already been informed of their food likes/dislikes/allergies, as well as the reason for the vacation, which came with its own bonuses provided by the hotel.

In our current, and post, COVID world I believe utilizing the many services of an agent becomes even more important. I am planning a trip to Maine for the summer. One of our friends who is traveling with us has a family member who lives in the state. We were just informed that a negative COVID test is required for those of us coming for a visit outside the state. It is either that, or we must quarantine for 10 days. I would not have known this if we had not been privy to this inside information.

My travel agent, though? She would have known. She would be able to give me all the scoop I need before departing on a trip. Flight delays or cancellations? Call your agent. Last minute emergency? Call your agent. Unplanned tour you wish to take after you arrive? Call your agent. And even better than this? A good agent will solve the many hiccups that arise with travel before you even know there is a problem. They become the point person for everything you do.

With a seasoned professional, your stress level is reduced dramatically, not to mention they know how to navigate the world of travel much better than most civilians, because they do it every day. For me, using an agent is like buying insurance for a trip. As our world begins to open back up, and we start to venture back out, having someone watch out for me is something I will not leave town without!

This is not a paid-for advertisement. I write this to convey my strong feelings on having an advocate when you travel, as well as to give a big THANK YOU to Cristina Buaas of CSB Travel for making my son and daughter (in law’s) honeymoon a smashing success! Be on the lookout for future posts on vacation etiquette, including one on traveling with friends! Here’s to exciting adventures for all of us in 2021!

Together with you,

Lisa Lou