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8 Things You Should Always Warn Your Guests About Before They Arrive

Etiquette experts say it will help everyone get ready for a fun and stress-free stay.

Even those who love to entertain will tell you that it's not easy work. Beyond just making sure the house is clean and ready, there's a slew of different tasks to complete before  having people in your home, whether they're coming from out of town and staying the night or just popping by for a summer barbecue. With so much going on in the days leading up to their arrival, it may slip your mind to debrief your guests on some of the more important things they need to know. Even if you've already worked out sleeping arrangements or have the whole party menu planned, you'll want to give them a heads-up about a few key things beforehand. Read on what etiquette experts say you should always warn your guests about.

READ THIS NEXT: The 6 Best Things to Ask Guests to Bring—If They Offer.

Other guests

outdoor dinner party
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If you're hosting a dinner party or summertime soirée, you probably go out of your way to cultivate the right atmosphere. But even the most inviting vibes can be thrown off when your guests are caught by surprise. This is why it's a good idea to let your guests know who else is attending your gathering, especially if they don't know each other. And if it is a larger party, give them a heads up on about how many people will be there.

"Nothing is worse [than] when someone shows up thinking it's going to be a casual get-together with just you, and then there are other people there. It's a surprise that not everyone is comfortable with!" Chantelle Hartman Malarkey, interior designer, home chef, and hosting aesthetic expert, tells Best Life. "It's nice to mentally plan ahead to know if you will be hanging with close friends or might be around other people you don't know as well and have to plan for some small talk!"

This is that much more important if your guests offer to bring drinks or snacks along. "It's great to give them a headcount ahead of time to plan for," Malarkey says.

House rules

Couple greeting their guests at the door of their home
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock

Something else your guests should be aware of are basic house rules. They should feel comfortable, of course, but you want to ensure that there's mutual respect for your home and your space, experts say.

"If you have house rules regarding quiet time, smoking, or the need for uninterrupted work time, it's helpful to inform your guests ahead of their stay," Kristi Spencer, etiquette expert and founder of The Polite Company, says. "Sending a note or text about these rules can serve as helpful reminders and ensure everyone is on the same page, rather than relying solely on a verbal conversation."

READ THIS NEXT: 5 Things You Should Put Away in Your Kitchen When Guests Come Over.

The length of the stay

Cropped shot of an unrecognizable woman packing or unpacking her things into a suitcase at home before traveling

There's nothing more awkward than trying to politely ask a friend or family member to leave, but they're simply not getting the memo. Spencer recommends nipping this in the bud and avoiding tricky conversations at the end of their stay by confirming how many nights they will be there before they arrive.

"When hosting houseguests, communicate your expectations regarding their length of stay and your availability," she says. "Let them know how long you are willing to host them and when you'll be available to spend time together or assist them."

And if you're having a party and you want everyone out by 11 p.m., make sure to let people know before the festivities begin.

Meal arrangements

guets preparing dinner
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We all have to eat, which is why talking about food is so vital before your houseguests arrive.

"When it comes to meal arrangements for guests, there is no one-size-fits-all etiquette answer," Spencer says. "What really matters is your approach. Whether you choose to stock the fridge with their favorite foods, offer to take them to a local market for their own shopping, or provide them with a convenient link to a delivery service, the key is to ensure they feel well taken care of."

Similarly, if you're having a get-together, you should let your guests know if you are serving food, and definitely don't forget to clue them in if you aren't planning on it.

"Oftentimes people think that hosting comes with food and beverages," Malarkey says. "If you are not providing those things, it is a nice curiosity to give a heads up so that they can eat beforehand or bring their own beverage, etc. No one wants to feel stuck and hungry."

READ THIS NEXT: 6 Items You Should Always Have in Your Living Room When Guests Come Over.


Woman sneezing from allergies

For everyone's safety and peace of mind, you should also communicate about any allergies.

"As a thoughtful host, it's important to check for allergies once guests accept your invitation to visit or stay at your house. If this doesn't happen, it becomes the guest's responsibility to inform you," Spencer says.

Etiquette expert Lisa Mirza Grotts echoes this, but she notes it's also on your guests to let the host know ahead of time.

"It's really up to your guests to let you know if they have any food allergies," she says. "A 'dislike' is one thing such as they don't like fruit in their salad or salmon, but if they are allergic to something that could kill them, chances are they will let you know beforehand."

Vice-versa, if your guests are bringing something to your party, let them know about any relevant allergies of your own.


domestic cat and dog cuddling

Your pet may be a member of your family, and depending on their temperament, they may be even more eager to greet your guests than you are. That's precisely why you should warn your guests about your furry friends, especially due to potential allergies or anxieties.

"If you have a pet at home, it's always a good idea to inform your guests," Spencer says. "Pet allergies or fears can easily turn a warm welcome into an uncomfortable situation."

Malarkey says that you can also keep your pet separate from your guests, if space allows, and if someone is allergic, a deep clean of pet hair before their arrival certainly doesn't hurt.

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construction worker carrying wooden board
Ground Picture / Shutterstock

In general, no one really enjoys having construction done at home, but your visitors may be even more uncomfortable if they walk in and find workers they weren't expecting.

"If you are having work done to your home, give guests a heads up so they know what to expect," Malarkey suggests. "If they were thinking of hitting the pool, but it's currently under maintenance, it's nice to share that insight ahead of time!"

Babies or children with bedtimes and schedules

putting baby to bed
Jacob Lund / Shutterstock

Even if your guest is a friend or family member who knows your kids, they may not be privy to the details of their daily routines. If your children do have set schedules, familiarize your guests with the timing.

"It you want to call [it a] night at a specific time to put down babies or kids, it's best to let guests know up front so they are not caught off guard and feel like the night is rushed!" Malarkey warns.

Abby Reinhard
Abby Reinhard is a Senior Editor at Best Life, covering daily news and keeping readers up to date on the latest style advice, travel destinations, and Hollywood happenings. Read more
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