My mom taught me how to be a good hostess. As a child, I remember her welcoming people into our home and providing a good meal, paired with stories and laughter. Even though she might not have thought so, I thought she was the best hostess in the world and I wanted to be like her. Once Dearest Carl and I got married, I was able to use her example as a template for hosting which made learning much easier.
Now one thing you need to understand is the kind of hosting I’m talking about. Dinner parties with their fine china and fancy food are pretty and have their appropriate settings, but that’s not this post. Here, I’m talking about the casual gatherings. The kind where you invite a group over after church or have your family for dinner, sometimes spontaneous, sometimes planned. Here are my 5 rules for hosting!
1. Ask for help. Most people are happy to bring something! Ask if they would bring a salad or a dessert and that will be one less dish for you to worry about.
2. Don’t experiment with recipes out of your depth. Sure, creme brulee sounds delicious, but if you’ve never made it before, trying it out on the fly just before your guests arrive isn’t a good idea. Stick with recipes you are comfortable with and nothing will go amiss.
3. Declutter instead of deep clean. None of your guests are going to rifle through your drawers or spend time in your bedroom. Clear your counters and coffee table by whatever means you can (yes, dumping the pile on your bedroom floor is acceptable), sweep the floors and wipe down the bathroom. All this can be done in just a few minutes and your house will look squeaky clean.
4. Light a candle. One of my mom’s hosting lessons. A flame brings a sense of home and coziness to a room, not to mention they smell good. I’ll usually have one on the coffee table and one in the bathroom. If you’re worried about guests with children, a wax warmer is a great investment for the same effect.
5. Enjoy yourself! There are lots of ways to do this. If that means having everything prepared before people arrive, do that and then relax for the party. Many times though, I’ve invited guests into my kitchen while I was finishing up baking the garlic bread or some such task. However that works for you, enjoy the time with the people you’ve invited into your home. But don’t clean up until afterwards. Washing dishes while everyone is talking over dessert is no fun at all.
I hope that those of you who think hosting is too hard will take a new view. Having people over only has to be as difficult and stressful as you make it. If your home looks clean and smells good, you’re basically ready for the best party ever.
What are your hosting tips?