6 Unspoken Rules When Having Guests Over, According to Etiquette Experts
If you don't follow this advice, you might come off as a so-so host.
Hosting a get-together in your home comes with a lot of pressure. You spend the day cleaning, prepping, and cooking, making sure every last detail is perfect. But outside of how your house looks, how you treat your company is just as important to make them feel comfortable. To learn the unspoken rules of hosting guests, keep reading to hear from etiquette experts about the six things you should always do.
Always be welcoming.
Always make sure your company feels welcome when they come into your home. "Greet your guests as though they were family," advises Lisa Mirza Grotts, a San Francisco-based etiquette expert. "Be flexible and gracious no matter what happens."
Chantelle Hartman Malarkey, a hosting aesthetic expert and interior designer, suggests doing something personal and unique for each guest. "If you know their favorite drink or snack, make that! This will make them feel special, wanted, and welcome."
If you're worried your guests might feel too welcome in your home and will never leave, Malarkey recommends setting expectations for when the gathering ends. "No one wants to overstay their welcome so let them know up front."
Be equally present with all of your guests.
A gracious host never plays favorites, which is why a big hosting mistake is "conversing with just a few guests and leaving others to their own," Grotts points out.
You'll also want to make sure you're present with all your guests. "When you have people over, be ready to give your full attention. This goes a long way and has a huge impact if people want to come over again," Malarkey notes.
And yes, this means not being on your phone when you have company, which can make your guests feel like they should leave, Malarkey adds.
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Be ready for your guests.
Procrastinators, listen up: A common mistake that prevents hosts from being present is spending too much time in the kitchen. "Preplanning is the key to having a successful party," Grotts advises.
Do as much prep work as you can the day before or the morning of, suggests Malarkey, "so by the time guests arrive, you are ready to mingle and spend time with them." This includes cooking as well as cleaning up.
If you're running behind schedule this can make guests "feel like they came too soon or like they're intruding" cautions Malarkey.
Always share the guest list.
You probably wouldn't want to be surprised by running into your ex or someone you don't get along with at your friend's house, so make sure you give your guests the same consideration.
"It's always an awkward surprise when you accept an invitation and find out that other people were also invited if you were not expecting that," Malarkey advises. So, let guests know in advance who else is attending.
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Ask about dietary restrictions.
Of course, you want to have enough food and drinks for everyone you're expecting. No one wants to be left empty-handed because the wine ran out or have to pick up dinner on their way home because they're starving.
But you also want to make sure you're not ignoring your guests' food allergies. "I'm not talking likes and dislikes but food that might kill them," Grotts warns.
For example, if you're serving coffee, it can be a nice touch to have a non-dairy milk substitute available. Ask guests ahead of time about any allergies or food sensitivities.
Make sure you have enough essentials.
A good host is always prepared, and this means making sure you have enough essentials for your guests.
"Have toilet paper and soap in the guest bathroom," says Malarkey. "You don't want to leave guests stranded and in an awkward situation." The same goes for plates, glasses, cutlery, napkins, and anything they'll need to enjoy their food and drink.