Hospitality is something that appears to be genetic in my family. At least it’s part of my Scandinavian roots, something my mother naturally did so well at and something that I have so come to value and love so very much. I love welcoming a guest into my home and making them feel so loved and special-even if it’s the first time we’ve met. I love the little touches of ambiance from candlelight to mini salt and pepper shakers to fresh cut flowers. The truth is hospitality doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. And the good news is, it can be a learned skill as well. Maybe these tips will seem obvious to you or maybe they will be brand new. Either way, I am going to share with you my top tips for being the very best hostess you can be.
- Take a few minutes to do whatever makes you feel your best.
For me, as a busy mama it’s a quick spritz of perfume, some earrings and the occasional lipstick. It may sounds silly, but I find that if I feel good about myself, I am going to be a better hostess.
- Keep your home tidy.
A quick clean up of toys, wipe down of the bathroom, hauling out of the trash, and loading the dishwasher will do wonders. Just focus on the areas your guests will be–most likely living room, kitchen and bathroom. Your guests may not notice your clutter but not having it will make you all feel better. Trust me!
- If possible check beforehand with your guest about food allergies which seem more prevalent than ever.
Prepare a dish that you know they will enjoy. For some reason, I always try new dishes with guests and then cross my fingers that they will turn out. I love pinterest and trying new recipes. If that makes you nervous, stick with something that you feel confident cooking-a tried and true recipe. I always try to stick with fresh, wholesome ingredients and spices.
- Presentation is key.
It’s time to pull out what you have in terms of serving dishes.
Even if you bought the bread, don’t serve it from a bag. Heat it in the oven and put it in a nice bowl. Thought tempting, don’t serve the butter from the package but put it in a butter dish. It’s those little touches that will make the meal more special. Yes, it will take more effort to wash the dishes but it’s so worth it. Everything you are serving should be in a dish (matching if possible). The table should be set-use cloth napkins if you have them. Slice a lemon or lime to put on the edge of the water glass. Make sure they have both a fork and a knife.
- If it’s an evening try mood lighting like twinkle lights or candles.
Fresh flowers are great as well. If possible, cut from your own yard or by a $4 bouquet from Trader Joes. They have the prettiest flowers. Try some soft music in the background.
- While cooking, try to keep your dishes washed and your counters cleaned.
It will make for less clean up afterwards.
- Pray a prayer of thankfulness over your guests and for a blessing over the meal you are about to eat.
- Engage with your guests.
Ask them open-ended questions that make for an interesting conversation. Show your interest in them, that you care! One of my favorite questions is: If you could move anywhere in the world and take everything you love and everyone you love with you, where would you move? Or What have you been learning this past month/year? Tell me more about your family business and what it is that you do?
- Offer your guests more food.
Fill their water glasses if you see they are running low.
- If it’s too overwhelming for you to make a homemade dessert, buy some ice cream or have some fruit ready.
I always offer to make tea or coffee and leave it up to the guest to decide.
This was a fun post to write. I am certain there are far more than 10 tips to being a great host, but these are the ones that naturally came to me to write.
What about you? Do you like to host-big groups or small? Or does hosting intimidate you? What are some of your secrets to hosting? Who taught you the art of hosting? I would love to hear from you.