I am so excited to welcome fellow homemaker Felicia Graves to the blog to discuss how to be a good host! Felicia Graves is a full time homemaker who shares tips on practical homemaking, modest living, and biblical encouragement. You can find more from Felicia at her blog FeliciaGraves.com
I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did xo Jamie
I really enjoy hosting get-togethers and especially look forward to Thanksgiving each year when all of our family squishes into our home to enjoy lots of laughter and yummy food.
Practicing hospitality and being a great host does not need to be a daunting or overwhelming affair. It also does not mean that everything has to go exactly perfect. While it is always a good idea to try and plan to the best of your ability so that the event runs smoothly I want to come right out of the gate saying that you should give yourself permission to learn as you go. The first time, or even the one hundredth time, that you host a dinner party will not be perfect. Look at the little hiccups as the best way to learn and grow in your practice of hospitality.
The Best Tips To Be A Good Host
As a hostess you want to ensure that everyone on your guest list has a good time. Even when the event is attended only by your close friends there are important aspects of preparation and hostess skills that will go a long way towards achieving your goal.
1) Check The Bathroom
Rather than starting with what type of cheese board you might serve or the most appropriate background music I want to mention something much more practical and necessary. Give your guest bathroom, or any bathroom that guests may be using, a once over.
Aside from the obvious (is it clean?) try to anticipate any needs that your guests may have. Is there enough toilet paper? Do you have an extra hand towel available? Is there plenty of hand soap?
There are also some other more personal needs you might want to take into account. I like to make sure the guest bathroom has a plunger, feminine hygiene products, and matches.
You do not have to provide everything or anticipate every need but little things like this will be greatly appreciated by anyone who is in need of them and save your guests from embarrassment or uncomfortable conversations.
2) Set Children Up For Success
Whether you have children or not the best host is always prepared in advance of having children spend a few hours at your house.
Very little ones may need a place to take a nap and have a diaper changed. Simply laying out a towel on your bed will make an excellent place for a diaper change. For naps you do not need to purchase any expensive baby equipment but let the parents know that your bed is available to them and they are encouraged to rearrange the pillows however they need to. Just offering that solution ahead of time can be a great relief to parents. Moms who are breastfeeding may appreciate hearing that they are welcome to nurse throughout the entire house but should they prefer privacy or alone time give them one or two options, such as a guest room, where they can go.
For children that are a bit older make sure you have a few activities on hand to keep them entertained. I like to roll out a big stretch of butcher paper and provide some crayons. You can also find some free colouring pages online to print out. Play dough, kinetic sand, and water beads are also great resources to have on hand. While you do not need to invest a great deal of money it will benefit both you and your guests with children if you have made an effort in this regard.
Another thing to consider with children, even for casual events, is that you have appropriate table settings. Think about the plates and glasses that you are offering a child. Asking a small child to eat off of your wedding china will be one of the easiest ways to create a great amount of stress for both you and the parents.
Finally, always be sure to ask parent’s permission before offering food, treats, or screen time. Each household has different rules and you do not want to overstep or create an uncomfortable situation.
3) Inquire About Dietary Restrictions And Allergies
I have found that having a few vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free recipes in my repertoire makes hosting for different dietary preferences and allergies much less daunting. You can practice the recipes a few times by including them in your regular meal planning rotation so that you will feel more comfortable preparing them for your guests.
Always be sure to ask each guest if they have any food allergies or special requests. You want your guests to feel welcome, comfortable, and relaxed. If someone is worrying about allergies or does not find any food that they enjoy they will not have an enjoyable experience. As a good hostess you will want to take special care to ensure that everyone finds delicious food he or she can enjoy.
4) Try to Anticipate Needs And Comfort
You cannot predict every possible scenario but you can do your best to make a good first impression as well as to try and anticipate the needs that your guests may have on the day of the event.
What is the weather like outside and what would be most comfortable inside? If your guest is shivering on the couch adjust the thermostat or turn off the fan. Do you need a place to put coats and purses?
The most important thing that you can do during these special occasions is to be observant and listen. Overall, I just want to encourage you to be mindful and aware of the experiences your guests are having.
5) Be Flexible And Relaxed
When things inevitably do not go according to plan it is how you react more than what happened that will set the tone. If you burn the food just laugh it off and order a pizza. If someone drops a glass make sure they know that they are much more valuable to you than any kitchen wares and do not make a big deal about it.
Avoid hurt feelings and awkward silences by steering the conversation away from hot button topics. You probably know what topics of conversation will be troublesome for your guests and which ones can be handled with more grace. Never call anyone out but have a few topics in mind that you can switch too in a pinch.
6) Have Fun
Plan your event so that you are not spending the entire time locked away in the kitchen and unable to enjoy the conversation and fellowship. While some time away from the group may be unavoidable, do try your best to plan ahead so that you can have time to relax and enjoy the company.
You do not need fancy meals, elaborate decor, or a perfectly executed timeline in order to have a successful event. You just need friendship, love, warmth, and togetherness.