Okay, this post was inspired by our friends over this last weekend. If you didn’t know (which, I am sure you did because I have legit been talking about it on IG for months, lol and I overshared every single detail of our magical weekend) we had our first annual Friendsgiving this past weekend. My friends were literally the best guests EVER and they inspired me to write a whole blog post on how to be an amazing guest. With the holiday season here there is a 99.9% chance that you will either be hosting or attending some kind of function– and if not, please come to ours, because nobody is meant to spend the holidays alone. I joke that I run a bed a breakfast, but seriously during football & the holidays it’s kind of true– people usually arrive late Thursday night or first thing Friday morning and by Monday morning my house is empty- pretty much, a bed & breakfast. So, having people that show up and don’t leave my house even more of a disaster than it naturally becomes with having two small children and two dogs, is SO appreciated (and noticed). On the flip side: there is something to be said about being a hostess, as well.
HOW TO BE THE BEST HOST/HOSTESS THAT YOU CAN BE:
GIVE YOURSELF LOTS OF TIME.
When you decide to throw a dinner party, or a full weekend long ordeal, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to plan. Even when something is fun, it can still become stressful if you don’t properly plan ahead. Let’s be honest, having small children makes it kind of interesting when it comes to running errands and preparing a home for an event– so, if you are also a mama, do yourself a favor and find someone that can help you out once a week. For me, this day is Wednesday; I go to pilates, and then run errands.
SIMPLIFY YOUR MENU & DON’T COOK SOMETHING NEW
Plan food and drinks ahead of time and don’t try to whip up something that you’ve never done before. I am all about easy and convenient, especially when I have a house full of people– I much rather spend my time with my friends and family versus preparing food. I usually plan to have one meal catered or delivered. For our Friendsgiving weekend I chose to use this for Friday night. We had Uber Eats deliver our favorite pizza. All of our friends drove through the night on Thursday and a few arrived during the day Friday, so having a low-key day/night was crucial. We ordered food, drank wine and played games (thank you for all of your recommendations) and it was perfect.
MAKE SURE YOUR HO– USE SMELLS GOOD & THAT YOU HAVE MUSIC ON HAND
I always have candles burning and it really adds to the ambiance and energy of our home. I am also a smell person: meaning, a smell can take me back immediately to a place and time. So, I like to have candles burning during special events because a simple lighting of a candle (weeks or months down the road) can bring back a flood of amazing memories. Side note: I am so much a smell person that I have a perfume that I wore on our wedding day and I only wear it during special events between Rico and I: date night, vacations, special nights at home, etc.
When it comes to the music, I am not the best at this lol. I always delegate the music out to someone else and they never let me down. If nobody wants to step up, I just simply ask “what do we want to listen to” and then find an Apple Music or Spotify playlist that matches the vibe.
PREPARE THE GUEST ROOMS WITH FRESH BEDDING, EXTRA TOWELS, FRESH FLOWERS AND SPECIFIC ITEMS THAT COULD BE NEEDED
Example, if it is a female staying in your guest room, be sure to put pads and tampons under the sink or on the back of the toilet. It can be awkward if someone doesn’t know you well enough to ask for those kinds of things, if needed. If it is a male staying in your guest room, make sure you provide shaving cream, etc. Always be sure to have a few extra rolls of toilet paper under the sink. I keep an abundance of toothbrushes and toothpaste on hand (even if it’s just the free stuff from the dentist) and I leave a little card with our wifi info on it!
The first thing that I tell people when they come to my home is to make themselves at home. Like, literally, it makes me uncomfortable when I know that my guests are uncomfortable. I tell people off the bat to help themselves to food (I show them the pantry), to water (I show them how to work the water system), to alcohol (I show them to bar/wine cellar), to coffee (I show them where the coffee is stored and how to work the Nespresso) and to anything else that that they could possibly need. At the same time, I set boundaries: when you go down to the basement you MUST latch the gate at the top of the stairs, when you go outside lock the door behind you, etc. If it is important to you that people take their shoes off at the door, let them know. Without telling your guests what is expected of them you cannot assume that they know.
HOW TO BE THE BEST GUEST THAT YOU CAN BE:
Even if you know that the host will say no, offer help, always… and if they say no, help anyway. It literally makes me so uncomfortable when people do their dishes and help me to clean MY kitchen–BUT, my friends literally didn’t care that I said no and they stepped right in and helped out and it made the weekend so much better not doing everything myself.
DON’T SHOW UP EMPTY HANDED
Ask “what can I bring” and if the host says “nothing! I’ve got it covered” still show up with something. If a roll of paper towel is what you can afford to contribute, bring it. If a bottle of Champagne or wine is in your budget, bring it. If you make a box of brownies, perfect. It is 100000% the thought that counts. Every single one of our friends contributed something this weekend and it was amazing. Whether it was Dev’s secret recipe lemon cake, or Rae bringing an entire liquor store, or T being the handiest helper/dish washer/kitchen cleaner of all time, the guys using their handyman and grilling skills, Aria and Cristian helping with the babies, you get the drift: everybody helped in one way or another. Do what you can. Offer what you can, it won’t go unnoticed or unappreciated!
DO YOUR OWN THING
My friends were amazing with this and honestly I never knew until this past weekend how important this quality is in a guest. If the trash was full, someone took it out. If someone was tired, they simply said “I am going to go lay down for a bit.” If someone wanted to pick something up that we didn’t have they simply said “I am running to the store, does anybody need anything?” To know that your guests can fend for themselves and that they don’t need to be entertained every single second is such a relief as a host. Also, to know that if someone is thirsty that they are comfortable enough to help themselves takes such a burden off of a host when it comes to keeping people comfortable and cared for.
SHOW YOUR GRATITUDE
A simple “this is a beautiful table” or “oh my gosh, this food is amazing” or “your house smells/looks/feels amazing” goes such a long way. As a “hostess” it is so important to me that my guests feel comfortable in my home and I really do go out of my way to make sure that all things (for the most part) are thought about. So, knowing that my guests notice that I love them and care about their feelings while in our home is affirming.
COLLECT YOUR TOWELS/DIRTY THINGS.
Make sure that you collect whatever towels/stuff that you used. Simply piling towels in the bathroom is good enough, or if you know where they put their dirty laundry, place them there. This just shows the hostess “these have been used and need to be cleaned.” Also, it never hurts to ask if you should strip your bedding or leave it on the bed.
I am thankful to have such amazing people in my life. You all are the reason that I love to entertain and open our home. I am already planning next years Friendsgiving and cannot wait to see the way this tradition grows over the years.
there’s no place like home for the holidays. xo, G