The season for getaways is upon us and whether you’re readying your home to play host or packing a weekend bag as a guest, we’re here to bring you a little primer on the best ways to prepare to ensure maximum relaxation and comfort for all parties. Myka Meier, founder of Beaumont Etiquette, will be sharing practical, often straight-shooting advice in a series of posts addressing common summertime scenarios. Our first will center around ways to be a great host (spoiler: anticipate). We hope these points will serve as helpful guidelines rather than rigid rules, meant to complement your existing customs and routines.
Ever wonder how a veritable etiquette expert would weigh in on a social conundrum? Be sure to leave a comment below, we’d love to hear from you!
The best hosts are those who plan ahead and make their guests feel as comfortable and happy as possible from the moment they arrive! The trick is to anticipate your guest’s needs. It’s a fair amount of work to prepare and host, even for just a weekend; however, your guests will leave feeling so taken care of and impressed if you follow these hosting tips:
Prepare the House: Clean & Stocked
- Ahead of their stay, and as soon as they RSVP, ask your guests if they have any food allergies or dietary restrictions.
- A few days before your guests arrive, make sure you do a good shop to ensure you have everything you’ll need. From extra toilet paper to a variety of drinks and snacks to offer them.
- The one to two days before they arrive, the house should be sparkling clean.
Prepare the Room
Before your guest arrives, you should have everything organized and laid out in the guest room. Here is a list of suggested items you may want to include:
- Fresh set of towels folded and laid on a side chair or table (I recommend two of each size towel per person)
- One pitcher of water with one glass per person or bottles of water
- A tray with a little snack on it (the more tailored & thoughtful, the more impressive!). So if your guest is a health nut, a selection of protein bars, or if your guest has a sweet tooth, little packaged sweets.
- Vase of fresh flowers
- Magazines or newspaper that you think they will like
- Their own set of keys to the home so they can come and go as they please
- In the bathroom, make sure it’s stocked with everything your guest may need: a little basket of extra hand towels, toothpaste, mini soaps, shampoo and conditioner. If you have small travel-sized bottles, this is a great time to put them out! Make sure to have spare tooth brushes on hand.
- An alarm clock
- Lightly scented candle with matches
- House shoes
- A robe
- Night light or lamp
- Make sure there is closet space (with hangers) and drawer space where possible for your guests to unpack.
- A place to put their suitcase
- Bed linens should be crisp, clean and the bed should be neatly made; an extra blanket and two pillows per person (one firm and one soft)
- Home Info.: Put together a little card that includes all the information they will need during their stay, from the Wifi code to the home address, and any contact numbers they may need.
- If they are in town and do not know the city, a small city guide is a great idea
- Check the weather: Will they need an umbrella?
Make Your Guests Feel Comfortable from the Moment They Walk in:
- Always have snacks and drinks ready upon arrival. If it’s in the morning, why not put out a fresh pot of coffee and a tray of bagels with cream cheese and salmon.
- Set the mood. A festive and fun weekend? Select music that matches the mood upon your guest’s arrival.
- Show your guests around so they are as relaxed and at home as possible. As you walk through your mini-tour, explain little things that make them feel at ease: “Please help yourself to anything in the fridge at any time!” Show them where cups, bowls, wine, and silverware are so they can feel they are welcome to help themselves.
Let the Weekend Begin!
- Have a plan: Ask ahead if there are any wishes of your guests in terms of things they really want to see or do. Then it’s up to you to organize and coordinate the plans for the weekend. This could simply mean making restaurant reservations ahead or researching fun activities to do.
- Be considerate of space: Do not go into the room or space you have given to the guest while they are staying with you, unless you ask them first.
- You should wake up before your guest or at least at the same time so you can make sure the coffee is brewing and you’re there to entertain.
- Last impressions are almost important as first: A thoughtful takeaway gift as they leave your home is an added element of surprise that is sure to make your guests smile (for example, when you leave my house in Florida, you’ll get a box of little chocolates in the shape of palm trees).
How do you like to prepare for guests and make them feel most welcome? What are the biggest challenges to playing host (be honest)? Share them with us below!