Ever wonder how some people appear to pull parties together effortlessly while others look significantly more frazzled? Maybe there’s a ‘hosting gene’ that only shows up in a chosen few? No, fortunately, there’s no natural selection at play here and, actually, hosting dinner guests or overnight guests can be enjoyable. So, what is the key to smooth-running, stress-free entertaining?
It’s nothing complicated—just two words: advance preparation. If you love getting together with family and friends but hate the stress that inevitably goes with it, then take a look at these six easy ‘prep steps’ for entertaining.
1. Keep “a cocktail party on-hand at all times,” said Richard Hoying, buyer at OFD Total Home. “For the unexpected visitor or guest that drops by, I keep a selection of waters, wine, cocktail napkins by the season, mixed nuts, goldfish crackers, rice crackers and hot pepper jam for an instant party. I keep several dishes in the same basket to serve the nuts and crackers and a dish for a cream cheese topped with the jam and a spreader.” This way, Hoying said, “I never have to go searching and I am always ready for a snack to offer.” The rice crackers, he said, are good to have on-hand to accommodate guests with dairy and gluten allergies.
2. Hosts should sleep in their own guest bedrooms at least once, Hoying said. This way hosts can be alert to uncomfortable mattresses, dripping faucets, window treatments that don’t block sunlight, etc. Too, make sure the guest bedroom and closet haven’t become a ‘catch-all’ with extra furniture, clothes and unneeded household items piling up. When guests unpack, they’ll want plenty of room to spread out. The same goes for drawer and closet space. Make sure guests have room to store their things.
3. Guest baths are important, too. “Guest baths should have sufficient lighting for makeup and counters should not be cluttered so a guest can unpack toiletries,” Hoying said. He also recommended keeping a set of towels and bath mats just for the guest bath so they aren’t worn looking and always match. For the utmost in guest comfort, Hoying said, “Keep a stocked basket at all times with soap, extra toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, etc. These items are inexpensive to purchase and great to have if someone forgets.” A trip to the dollar store is an excellent place to shop for these. Also, outfit each tub with a bath mat (to avoid falls) and each toilet with a plunger (to avoid embarrassment).
4. Don’t make people ask for bathroom supplies! Bring toilet paper, towels and toiletries out of hiding, and place them on open shelves or in a basket so guests can find them easily.
5. Put motion-activated night-lights in hallways, bathrooms and bedrooms to ensure safe passage after the sun sets.
6. Keep staples handy. Hoying said, “I like to keep bottled waters and a few snacks for guests in the room for those late night snackers.” Hosting guests is about being together. And with the steps listed above, a little time and some forethought, it is possible to relax, enjoy yourself—and your company, too.
Choice Designs Inc,, Fort Wayne, 260.490.6393, choicedesignsinc.com
NEST Furniture and Design, Warsaw, 574.267.6267, nestfurnitureanddesign.com
OFD Total Home, Fort Wayne, 260.487.6336, ofdtotalhome.com