Entertaining is something you know I adore doing. It is always important to remember some of the most simple things and it will create the home run of an event that we all hope to have. Here are some of my most helpful hints to remember when entertaining.
1. Be especially courteous to the women guests. Hold the door for a woman, assist her with her coat and belongings, seat her at the table before you sit down, and of course offer her a drink if she seems to be empty-handed!
2. Acquaint guests early on to include them in conversations. One of the most uncomfortable things at a party is when NO ONE knows each other! You can help that process.
3. Refrain from mentioning job titles when in non-business situations unless it is a specifically prominent person at the event such as a mayor or reverend. Let them introduce what they do for work. It’s not your job to do so.
4. Find out any dietary restrictions beforehand! Diets due to cultural preferences or allergies are important to accommodate at all times. If someone is a vegetarian and you didn’t know, it can be a devastating blow to the event.
5. Balance the energy in the room and get people talking by mixing up the scene! Separate spouses around the table, other than the few couples who may be exceptions. If the party is being hosted for someone, the host sits at the head of the table while the guest of honor sits in the seat to the right. If there are two hosts, one sits to the left of the guest of honor and one to the right. Seating charts are key to a party’s success.
6. Serve the women at the table first. The host serves from the left and clears the table from the right. The host should indicate that guests may begin eating once there are three or more plates on the table. If the host is a woman, she should be the last woman served before the male guests. It is important not to make your guests feel rushed! If there are under ten guests, the host should wait for the entire table to finish before clearing the table.
7. If a guest is late, do not panic! Simply keep on schedule and remove the tardy guest’s place setting. If the guest arrives during the dinner, the host should blissfully greet the guest and make the appropriate adjustments.
8. Serve one to two glasses of wine with each course. Be sure to recognize those who do not drink and offer a preferred nonalcoholic beverage!
9. Engage your guests and oversee the flow of conversation. If the conversation is flat, pick a current topic to make it more lively! Try to execute this back up plan with something light like a new movie or a vacation spot. This will help you steer away from religion and politics!
10. A subtle way to signal the dinner party is over is for the host to get up from the table. If after a while guests are still lingering, be politely direct and say “I hope you’ll excuse me, I have an early day tomorrow” or “Thank you all so much for coming, I look forward to talking to you in the morning.”
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