The Art of Hospitality

Having a dinner party? Weekend guests? Want to learn how to up your hospitality skills? Keep reading!

I have truly always been someone who has LOVED hosting parties, going to parties, having friends or family over, and I learned a lot from my sweet southern Meme growing up who always had a spotless house and 15 different kinds of food ready when we’d come to visit.

Hospitality and experience is something I am passionate about. When having someone in my home and my space, I want them to know that I care for them. Hospitality and learning to entertain is one way in such a busy world that we can slow down to love our friends + neighbors well.

Some of these things are must-do’s to truly show your guest that you’re happy to have them, but other things you can take it or leave it. Not everything on this list I do each and every time, for every singe person or group. It all just depends!


(Dinner) Parties

Whether it’s a larger or smaller group, most of these things still ring true. If you only take two things away from this blog, it’s cleanliness and prepare ahead of time.

Make sure your counters, tables, bathrooms, and all spaces you’ll be using are spotless. Truly there’s nothing more cozy than home that feels clean.

Is there a theme? We’ve had our fair share of themed parties, which are so much fun. Whether you’ve got a theme or you’re just having a few friends over for dinner, it’s important to figure out the kind of vibe in advance to help plan the meal and the evening.

I think it was Ina Garten who said “Make a few, buy a few” for a dinner party. Usually, I’ll make a main dish or two, maybe the dessert, and buy the rest to make sure you’re not slaving away. Make sure that all dishes pair well together- from start to finish.

Try to prepare as much as you can for food + drinks ahead of time. Keep the oven warm, low on the stove, or in the fridge. That way, the last little bit before your guests arrive, you’re able to do last minute touches.

  • Another easy thing I have prepared is a cheeseboard or snack situation. Usually I like to wait to eat dinner until about an hour after people have arrived, so having a nibble with drinks gets the evening going at a good pace.

Ambiance! We seem to always have music on in our house in the evenings (whether there’s a party or not), so make sure to turn on something that sets the mood.

Fresh flowers + a few lit candles add a homey touch, too.

When friends arrive, I am usually either making them a cocktail or have their drink ready to go at the bar. This is a special touch.

  • Here’s a fun tip when entertaining: Move to different spaces for different phases! If the weather is nice, I usually usher everyone out to the porch to chat, drink + snack. This is also a good idea if your house is set up where (like mine), people usually gather and stay in the kitchen since that’s where you are cooking. Getting everyone outside (or some other location) to sit and relax.This also gives you opportunity to pop in the kitchen when you need to check on things without everyone. I, for one, get VERY distracted when I talk while cooking, and will salt something 3 times if I’m not focused 😉

As the evening goes on, be mindful of finished plates on the table and grab them to move to the sink before going on to the next course. Have your dishwasher unloaded prior to your friends arriving so you could quickly pop them in there to keep your kitchen cleaner if necessary. (Not to the detriment of the evening! Nothing says “GO HOME” more to guests than to hear the host clanking dishes.)

Lastly, enjoy! Hospitality is all about being present to love on and laugh with your people. What a blessing it is when we are served in this way from our family or friends. Take the time to return that feeling!


Prepping your home for a weekend guest

This one obviously takes a bit more preparation, but is so fun to add your own touches to making a guest feel at home during their visit! It doesn’t take long, it just takes thought.

I am breaking this into three parts: Cleaning, Meals, and Extra Touches.

Cleaning:

Try not to skip these steps! I am one of those people that enjoys cleaning when I’m in the mood to do it. I try to keep up with most of these things on a weekly/bi weekly basis (depending on what it is), so when a guest is coming for a visit, this usually won’t take me too long.

Dusting: From top to bottom- fans, counters, bookshelves, flat surfaces + baseboards – they should all be cleaned and wiped. When I clean baseboards, I use a microfiber cloth, a spray bottle with water + essential oils or just a little all purpose cleaner to freshen up the smell of the house. You’ll be surprised how clean your house will feel after this.

Bedding: Fresh sheets + clean throw blankets are essential for a good nights rest. I will sometimes put a few lavender drops in the laundry when I’m washing guest sheets for a touch. I like to keep an extra set of fresh guest room sheets in their closet just in case they need it.

I love these pillows!

I get all our personal laundry done prior to their arrival so I wont have to do it while they’re here, and allows the washer/dryer to be available if they needed it.

I have a set of these white towels for just the guest rooms. Always wash them with whites only, and put in a scoop of Borax to make them crispy white.

When cleaning the kitchen, start from top to bottom. Don’t forget to wipe down the faces of cabinets with an all purpose spray.

Do the “eye level” test on your countertops after you’re done cleaning the kitchen to make sure you cleaned up any crumbs.

Vacuuming + Mopping: I do this last, just a few hours before they arrive.

Meals:

Just like the dinner party section, people truly feel loved and cared for around food.

I like to make sure I have a few things prepared for breakfast, snacks and desserts that are ready to go before they arrive. Here are my favorite make ahead foods:

Breakfast Casserole

Muffins

Cinnamon Rolls

Coffee cake

Puppy Chow

A big jar of homemade cookies

Have a cocktail + appetizer ready for them when they arrive

Make the dinner reservations for the weekend

Be sure to check and see what they like to eat (or what they don’t) before you start planning food.

Extra Touches:

Replenish all the things. Coffee pods, shampoo/conditioner/body wash, toilet paper, etc.

Put a basket under the guest bathroom sink with travel size things that they might need (hair ties, toothpaste + toothbrush, hair gel, advil, lotion, floss).

Get a fresh room spray from Trader Joes or make one yourself and spray on their pillows, or keep on the bedside table.

Put a small fan in their room for a sound machine option

Lay out a folded towel and rag on the bathroom counter for them

Grab some eucalyptus from the store and hang on the shower head – the steam will make the bathroom smell like a spa.

Put a basket with handwritten note and snacks on their bedside table

Put some fresh flowers in their room and around the house

Light a candle in their room prior to their arrival

Make sure throw blankets are in their room available to them

Keep the house a little cooler at night – you sleep better in a cooler home.


Above all, have a heart to serve! Hospitality is just another word for thoughtfulness.

Let me know if you try any of these tips, and what I should add to my list!

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