We couldn’t have chosen the name “Southern Hospitality Company” without supplying helpful tips to becoming a great host or hostess at an event held in your own home. Being a great hostess doesn’t mean having the cleanest house, nicest décor, or even the most expensive food or beverage. To us, we believe the best hostess makes his or her guest feel welcomed. Here are a few ways to make your guests feel that comfort and leave believing that you were a “hostess with the mostess”.
Hand guests a drink when they arrive: Whether it is a cocktail, glass of wine, bottle of water, or sweet tea, give them something to hold on to when they enter the party. Have you ever been to a dinner party with nothing in your hands while making small talk? It can be a little uncomfortable. This gives your guests the ability to take a quick sip during conversation lulls and, if it’s a cocktail, the ability to encourage more talking!
Introduce guests to one another: If you’re hosting an event in your home, chances are that your guests will be familiar with the attendees. A good rule of thumb for a small event is to make sure that everyone knows at least two people at the party prior to arrival. For larger parties, increase that number to 3 or 4. If a “plus one” or a more introverted guest comes over, make sure that they’re introduced to everyone. In the event that you have to step away, they will feel comfortable enough to be alone with another guest. When you do introductions, try to make a connection between them to get the conversation flowing. Some topics include: a common interest they might share, an random fact about one of them, a trip they’ve recently gone on, or even someone they both might know.
Self-serving pitchers & beverage buckets: As we have stated before, to make a guest feel at home, comfort is key. Put out a pre-mixed cocktail pitcher with cups, ice, and napkins in a common area ,so people are encouraged to make their own drinks. It relieves the stress of your guest waiting for you to ask them if they’d like a refill. Other substitutions include putting out a big ice bucket full of beers and a bottle opener. While having easily accessible alcoholic beverages is important, don’t forget to have water available as well. Especially, when people are driving home later that night.
Light snacks & appetizers before dinner: Have you ever gone to a social event on an empty stomach? Well, we have, and it is NOT a good time. Especially, when that stomach of yours decides to make noises of its own. They don’t have to be extravagant, but we highly encourage you to put out appetizers, munchies, or some type of light display to tie your guests over until dinner is served. Hors d’oeuvres come in handy particularly when dinner is taking a longer time to cook than you expected.
Ask about dietary restrictions: In this day and age, there are dietary restrictions for absolutely everything. There are gluten and peanut allergies, vegan and vegetarians, and countless others. If you’re not close enough to the guest to know what they do and don’t eat, reach out to them before your event to see if they have any food sensitivities. It’s always best to be safe when choosing menus by selecting a variety of different options for guests to choose from. Knowing in advance will save you a great deal of frustration and will also deter you from serving carb-loaded Italian dishes to your gluten free guests.
A well-stocked bathroom: It is important to remember that when a guest steps into your home, the chances are high that they didn’t bring any personal belongings or toiletries. We suggest making sure that there is plenty of toilet paper, soap, and hand towels for the size of your group. A helpful tip is putting together a “guest basket” that includes products such as lotion, safety pins, feminine products, bleach pens for food spills, and gum or Listerine for garlic or onion laden meals. When your guests leave, hide the basket away under your sink until the next gathering. Your attendees will appreciate your thought and might even take this idea into consideration the next time you’re in their home.
Let us know YOUR helpful tips to creating a warm environment during gatherings!
Southern Hospitality Company