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House guest hacks – how to host overnight guests, without losing your mind

These 5 tips, proven to impress and stop you from dreading your house guests! From hosting your in laws to a group of your closest friends, it can be stressful. 

Whether you’ve known your in-laws/friends for 30 years or you are meeting for the first time, hosting can be a daunting task, no matter who it is. Some may find it too stressful a task, and simply ask their in-laws to stay at a hotel. That conversation we can save for another day.. Setting boundaries with family and in-laws! 

While these same tips apply to any and all house guests, we’ll focus on hosting your in laws. As some of the most frequently asked etiquette questions are actually around “how to make my boyfriend’s parents love them”, or wondering” what to bring my girlfriend’s parents for the first meeting.” Consider hosting the superbowl of all in-law interactions. Just like with friends, you can learn alot about how one behaves as a host or a guest in someone’s home. Of course, when hosting we try to make our guest’s feel at ease, anticipating their dietary & beverage needs and how to maximize the time spent with them. Planning out meals can save quite a bit of time, and allows you and your partner to not waste time at the grocery store and instead spend quality time with family. 

  1. SET THE TABLE before everyone has arrived, set the tone with an elevated tablescape before the party has even begun. Pick a neutral table runner, charges and/or placemats, dinner and salad plates, statement napkins and napkin rings placed on top or just above the plate. Add dimension with varying heights to the tablescape centerpieces – mixed candle holders and medium or small sized vases. Don’t forget to add fun glassware and a water glass with a water pitcher. Fresh flowers from Trader Joe’s never disappoint, for a quick bouquet on the table or your entry table.
  1. PACK A VISITORS BAG with your favorite local treats to sit upon your guest towels you’ve laid out for the guests. Local chocolate desserts, air freshener/candle, your favorite spice mix to cook with, or dried fruit & nut mix. It’s the thought that counts with this one, no need to go overboard on cost, but be thoughtful in sharing a bit about where you live. Even an old school paper map of your city is still a hit with many Baby Boomers (if you can find one). They’re likely there to learn about your life and where you live together! 
  2. STOCK UP & SCHEDULE Of course no one likes an overly scheduled visit, but having a general game plan prior to their arrival is super helpful to everyone. Both for packing needs, managing expectations and planning for your house to be stocked appropriately. Being transparent on your timing and any pre-existing commitments or plans you’ve made for the group will put everyone at ease. You don’t need to break the bank, but planning for at least their favorite genre of beverages is key, if they like beer don’t spend a ton on wine. Are they sober? No problem, find their favorite flavored seltzer water or throw some mint and lemon in a water pitcher. Make sure their designated rooms and bathroom are set with air freshener/candle, plunger, and plenty of closet space (when possible). 
  3. MAKE BREAKFAST AHEAD OF TIME: Maximize your visit and start the day with the first meal at home.  it’s an easy win, scrambled eggs, english muffins/bagels, fruit & arugula salad – and you’re a star! HACK: or, prepare this easy quiche recipe prep the ingredients the night before, throw the mix in a pre-made crust.  I keep pillsbury and a gluten free frozen pie crust in my freezers, quiche are a great quick meal for a larger group cost effective and still one to woo the crowd with the right mix. 
  4. END ON A HIGH NOTE Like all social interactions, it’s important to end fondly, make sure they know you were happy to have them in your home! 

Voila! She’s ready to go into the oven the moment you wake up and have the house smelling like Martha Stewart’s Maine house. 

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