Whether you are hosting a dinner party, a relaxed garden party, a special occasion at home, or a games night, the job of a host is often a lot more complicated than we expect it to be. When you attend a party or meal at a venue, you are looked after. People are employed to make sure that you and your guests have everything that you need and that the evening goes without a hitch. If something goes wrong, or someone is unhappy, there are people on hand to smooth things over, and you can enjoy your time.
When you host, you are responsible for the happiness of your guests. You have to plan, shop, and cater. You have to make sure your guests are well fed and looked after and that you are prepared for any allergies or other requirements. You have to keep them entertained and keep the conversation flowing. Whether or not everyone has a good time is a weight on your shoulders.
But you also want to be able to enjoy yourself, chat with your guests, and generally have a nice time without any stress. Some people seem to be naturally great hosts. They are relaxed and comfortable and everyone always has a great time at their homes. Other people struggle. The stress gets to them, mistakes are made, timings are wrong, and the evening feels like a failure.
Hosting doesn’t have to be a nightmare. It can actually be great fun. Here are some of the easiest, and most effective ways that you can wow your guests.
Give them Plenty of Notice
No one likes a last-minute invitation. It suggests a lack of planning, or that someone else has pulled out and there’s a spare seat at the table.
Invite your guests in plenty of time, and make sure you speak to them about any dietary requirements straight away.
Take your time to plan the menu, entertainment, and even a theme if you want one. Then get things ordered and booked so that there’s no chance that you’ll need to make last-minute changes. A well-organized and prepared party will run smoothly and impress your guests.
You’ll want to give your guests time to settle before serving dinner. But this period can be awkward. People will arrive at different times, and it can feel as though everyone is just waiting for the party to start. Serving fantastic appetizers can help to break the ice and give everyone something to do.
Prepare Food in Advance
Trying to cook a big meal and keep guests happy at the same time is one of the hardest parts of hosting. So, try to avoid it as much as you can. Create a meal plan that means a lot of the preparation and even cooking can be done in advance so that all you need to do is keep an eye on things and serve up once your guests arrive.
Get the After Dinner Coffee Right
The evening doesn’t end with dinner, but there’s often a slightly awkward period when people move from the table to more comfortable seating, and no one quite knows what to do with themselves. Serve a cup of Kopi Luwak coffee and you also create a conversation starter. Yes, it’s more expensive than instant, but it’s expensive for a good reason, and it will certainly help you to wow your guests while keeping the evening moving.
Spend Time with Them
One of the worst mistakes a host can make is spending the whole evening in the kitchen. Prep in advance and leave the clean-up until the next day. Spend as much time with your guests as you can.
Create a Comfortable Atmosphere
Try to make sure your home isn’t too hot or cold, that nothing you cook has an overpowering smell, and that you have a calming playlist ready to go to put everyone at ease. These simple touches can make a big difference.
Perhaps the most important thing that you can do as a host is to relax. Your guests won’t have a great time if you are stressed out and harried. If something goes wrong, laugh it off. Guests will remember the atmosphere and the fun, not the mistake.