Recently, Southern Living dropped by my house to talk about my secrets when it comes to entertaning at home. That got me thinking about how I do love to host a dinner or two for friends and loved ones. When special occasions come around, you can count that I’m up to having a small party over. Hosting a dinner is quite a job, a pleasant one, but it does take some work and expertise. But it always has to have a personal touch.
I’m sure you follow different styles when hosting a party at home. It has to be something suited to your personality and a little bit to the personalities of your guests. My way has been refined through the years and has also evolved with the company I keep. But there are a few things I always abide by, and would be quite a good set of rules to follow whatever type of host you may be.
#1 Message beforehand and ask about food allergies or restrictions
Particularly when you have new guests, ask a few days before if they have food allergies, restrictions, or if they are observing a certain diet. To be sure, ask returning guests as well. Nothing ruins a party like finding out one or two guests can’t partake of the food you’ve laid out on the table. It also shows how you considerate and respectful of every person’s food preferences. Plus you won’t waste resources by serving food no one can eat.
#2 Use nameplates
I prefer handwriting name plates for each guests. For me it feels you are truly welcoming them , by taking time to sit down and think about where they shall sit. Nameplates which assign where every person will set makes it more comfortable for your guests. You avoid that awkward dance everyone gets into when determining where they want to sit. It also makes sure that no one gets left out or isn’t paired with anyone.
#3 Drinks, anyone?
As soon as you welcome them to your home, have someone ask what they prefer to drink for the night. It’s a gesture that automatically invites to feel relaxed in your home. This is why it’s key to train your staff well, as I mentioned to Southern Living. This little detail, when done at the right time and correctly make a huge difference.
#4 Do a home tour
A little before your guests start arriving, do a tour of your home. Check for the little things that will keep the party ambiance going. See if the candles are lit, the music that’s playing is appropriate, and if the bar is ready for guests to pour their own drinks, etc. These details can be overlooked when you’re preparing for the biggest aspects of your party. So when you double check, they relieve you a lot of stress. It makes you feel comfortable and when a host is at ease, the mood of the party will be light and festive.
#5 Have some entertainment ready
Not all parties necessitate having small games. Some parties are filled with conversations, some might even merit karaoke. But when you need to spice things up, be ready to be the game master. At my house, Empire is a popular game and is fun for any kind of guest. It breaks the tension, lightens the mood even further, or simply serves as a good way to mix things up during a party.
#6 Be concerned
Before your guests leave after the party, make sure they are in a capacity to get home safely. If they’ve had a bit too much to drink, offer some coffee and insist they sober up especially if they have to drive home. For others, you may also offer to book the car for them, so you have the details of the driver. A good host always makes sure every guest goes home safely and with the least hassle possible.
For more on my Southern Living feature and hosting tips, you may read the article below:
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