6 Easy Chores You Can Let Guests Do—If They Offer
It's totally fine to offload a few tasks, etiquette experts say.
Whenever you're hosting a gathering, you're bound to hear the question: "How can I help?" Sometimes, this inquiry is welcome, and you can easily rattle off dozens of little tasks that need to be done: There are candles to be lit, crumbs to be cleared, and a table to be set. Other times, it leaves you stumped—and the task of finding a task to assign your guest adds an extra burden to your to-do list.
It can be confusing to remember what exactly needs to be done and how much you can reasonably ask of your guest before it becomes rude. But fear not. We asked party and etiquette experts for the simple chores you can let guests do if they ask. Now, you'll always have a few ideas you can give off the top of your head.
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Help with the party's kick-off.
There are so many tasks to get done at the beginning of a party—and fortunately, many of them are easy enough to hand off to a guest.
"Some assignments that can help your party launch nicely include greeting other guests at the door and welcoming them into the party, taking coats and directing people to the action, and speaking with any guests who do not know many people or who are on the shy side," says Jodi Smith, an etiquette consultant and owner of Mannersmith.
That way, you can get a few extra moments to set things up, and all of your guests will know at least one other person at the party. A win-win!
A unique assignment is to ask a guest to be the designated photographer.
"Everyone loves taking pictures of the event, and having someone dedicated to capturing all the fun is a great way to ensure that all the memories are preserved," says Carissa Kruse, professional event planner and founder of Carissa Kruse Weddings. "My advice is to assign someone who's good with a camera and can shoot great photos."
Ask them to get both candid and staged photos, and don't forget to share them with other guests after the event.
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No matter what you're serving, drink prep can be time-consuming, so ask a guest to take care of it.
"Opening a wine bottle is a three-step process: Cut the foil, insert the opener, pull out the cork," says Christine Schaub, host of the web series Come On Over about all things hospitality. "If you're offering a wine-and-cheese appetizer, opening several bottles could easily use up sacred pre-party minutes."
You could also charge a guest with making a simple large-batch cocktail or even just slicing lemons or limes to be used in drinks.
Take care of refills.
A helpful guest can easily handle serving food and drinks to others throughout the night.
"Having someone dedicated to making sure everyone is well-fed and hydrated helps keep the party going and ensures that your guests are comfortable and enjoying themselves," says Kruse.
At the beginning of the event, make sure this guest knows where to find the items they'll need to refill, like snacks, ice, juice, and mixers. They'll be able to take things from there.
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Clearing the table is a pretty standard chore to assign guests—and that's for a reason! It's quick, easy, and is extremely helpful to the host.
Schaub says you can ask folks to both scrape plates and sort silverware for the dishwasher (although it might be a step too far to ask certain guests to load the appliance).
"Your cleanup process may be specific, but even a child can safely sort dirty forks and spoons into a container," says Schaub.
Put leftovers away.
Putting leftovers away—whether for other guests to take home or to stash in your fridge—is a burdensome chore, especially when you just want to be done with the party.
"Have your storage containers ready and hand over this irritating task," says Schaub. "You're less likely to just dump it out because you're too tired to care." And tomorrow, you will be thankful for the yummy meal.