I recently discussed a good guest and what that can involve, but what about a good host? As a good host there are a number of things to consider, a little bit of everything for everyone, not being flustered but well organised as well, ambiance, mood, the time, and date and ensuring all are informed if there are special requirements (fancy dress?)
- Give enough notice – You won’t have everyone show up if you give a days’ notice, if you want your guests organised then you need to be too. A casual get together or BBQ of ‘bring your own meat’ can require a little less on the organisation front but if your preparing a dinner and don’t want the kids then at least allow a week or two notice for everyone to get their act together and for a more formal event, treat it as one with a proper invite.
- Cater for everyone – These days there are so many that range from vegan, gluten free, lactose intolerant, vegetarian etc. where able try and cater for everyone, have enough options and if necessary mark things as ‘gluten free’ so you aren’t being hounded all night as to what someone can eat. If there are limited options for those that require these foods notify the meat eaters not to touch the vegetarian food so they don’t go hungry but otherwise just have the options and I bet the meat eaters enjoy the veggie burgers as well and won’t even notice! When it comes to drinks having the options of red and white wine, then your standard beers should be enough. If going all out some top shelf of vodka or whiskey may be included but otherwise there is nothing wrong with asking those to cater for themselves if they are out of the ordinary!
- Minimalist items on display – You know that white rug you would be pissed off if someone walked over in their shoes, or split red wine? Roll it up. Don’t tempt bad things to happen to it as it likely will. So remove the vase of the easy to knock area at the end of the bench then no one needs to feel obligated to replace!
- Welcome people in – Sure you open the door when they knock, but open it with a smile, a hug and a handshake if necessary. You may need to take a deep breathe before you open the door but don’t make it look like organising this dinner has been an effort in itself. When your guests enter immediately take their coats, and have these in an area that they can be easily collected and put aside not just over chairs in the lounge, i.e. spare bedroom?
- Organisation – It’s key to your night running smoothly. You should really start organising the day before. Prep anything and everything you can that includes chopping vegetables, clearing fridge space, and house cleaning. Even writing a to do list, itinerary of the night and timing of when do put food into the oven etc. can help calm your mind. That way the morning of are last minutes, purchase ice and get things cooking. If you are flustered when the guests are there they will feel out of place and want to help when they are there to relax as well.
- Ambiance – Sett eh mood, this means the doors closed and heaters on in the middle of winter, a gas heater on if outside if necessary or spray and some ‘buzz off’ candles or spray if mosquitoes are out. Have cushions to sit on and enough seats for everyone. Play some light background music, old classics are the best that people know. We don’t want ‘hip hop, heavy metal or Taylor swift’ please.
- The necessities – this includes enough cutlery, glasses out for easy access so guests are sifting through your draws. Doors of rooms you don’t want people to wander into closed and a clear indication of the way to the bathroom. Take guest’s straight out to the ‘main area’ rather than everyone hovering in the kitchen while you try to get things done. Be ready when guests arrive not half doing your makeup and leaving them on their own. Bins at the ready so you save yourself too much clean-up the following day.
With these all ticked off, you will seem like super women/man and the best host ever. Your guests won’t know how you have done it!