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Entertaining Hacks: 4 Essential Things To Do BEFORE Guests Arrive

Entertaining guests is not an easy feat, especially if you’re a bit of a control freak and want everything to be perfect. (Hello, my name is Diana!) There’s so much you can do, so in order to start off on the right foot and get most of the job done, I want to talk to you about 4 essential things to do before guests arrive. 

I speak from experience, especially in the last few years. I had to entertain people at my place because of at least two main reasons:

  1. My brother’s family wanted to see the place where he was living, plus it was a chance to get to know each other (me and his family) better;
  2. We regularly host board game nights at our place;

So I know how it is to get the house ready for entertaining guests, especially since I always try to make our guests feel welcomed in our home. I’ve accumulated a few entertaining hacks along the way, and I’m here to help. This post is the first in a series, so please do come back for the rest, I think you will definitely learn one or two new tricks. 

If you check off this short list of 4 things to do before guests arrive, you will be more prepared, less stressed, more comfortable and you will be able to actually enjoy the day (gasp!). The 4 items of the list are not groundbreaking, but they are very important entertaining hacks. So if you accomplish them, “the job” is almost done before it even gets started. 

So let’s talk about the 4 essential things to do before guests arrive:

1. Tidy the house

This is a no-brainer, but you need to tidy up the house before guests arrive. You don’t need to scrub the floors and make everything perfectly clean. Or clean absolutely every room of the home.

I just mean you should make sure that the main rooms for entertaining (living room, kitchen, the bathroom, maybe even the patio) are pretty clean and organized. Things to consider:

  • Counters should be clear of all other stuff besides food and drinks for guests. 
  • There shouldn’t be crumbs or dirt on the floor or the couch.
  • You don’t have any dirty dishes in the sink. 
  • Ideally, all the toys are stashed away or organized in a corner, so that they don’t disturb the guests.

The goal here is to make sure the house looks tidy at a first glance. Nobody will use a magnifying glass to check for stains on the carpet, but you don’t need to give them a reason to do so. 

2. Set up Music / Background noise

This might not work for any party / entertaining situation, but I think most parties do well with background music. It can help with awkward silent moments, or the opposite, to get people dancing. Depends on the situation.

The first thing you need to do is to prepare a playlist beforehand. You could go with classic songs and current pop music, to have something for everyone. Or you can just play instrumental jazz or chill hip hop music, that works wonders, too.

The second thing to do is to play the music you chose, and you could do any of the following:

  • If you’re old school and have a surround sound system, go for that.
  • You can use a big portable speaker and play music from your Apple Music or Spotify. 
  • If you’re entertaining inside and don’t have a portable speaker or sound system, you can play YouTube or Spotify on your Smart TV. 

If you’re not good at making playlists, you can do what I do most of the time, which is to put on this YouTube Chill Hip Hop live video, or turn on the TV on a music channel like VH1.

3. Have some refreshments ready.

The food / drink section of entertaining guests is probably the most stressful one for hosts. It is for me, anyway. If my boyfriend’s family is coming over, I always feel like I should prepare something and make lunch / dinner, even though I don’t have to. I did the first couple of times and it stressed me out, so after a while I decided to just order food, and only make sure I have drinks and some snacks on hand. 

things to do before guests arrive food

When it come to food things to do before guests arrive, it all depends on the type of party you’re having:

  • If you’re inviting people you constantly have over, like friends, or do board game nights, you don’t need to cook. Just make sure you have some drinks and snacks on hand: water, soda, orange juice, beer, popcorn, chips, nuts. If the party gets hungry, you order food. 
  • If the gathering is a one off, or a first meeting of sorts, then I really do think you should make an effort to prepare food, even if it’s just a big charcuterie board. It’s basically a first impression of you and your home, and even though most people would say to not care about things like that, I say that you should make a small effort for it. For this, you need to think of a menu beforehand and make sure the food is done by the time the guests arrive.

Either way, please try to not put too much pressure on yourself (or your partner / family who also live in the house). Although it is expected to provide guests some refreshments, most will be happy with the minimum. It’s a party for socialising, after all, not for eating. 

4. Get yourself ready to entertain.

The house is tidy, the music (and decor, if you want) are set up, and the food & refreshments are prepared. You still have a bit of time left, so here is the last step of the list of things to do before guests arrive: get yourself ready!

You are an integral part of the party, since you are the host, so you have to take care of yourself, too. 

This is the time to take a shower, change into nice, but comfortable clothes (like a casual summer dress, or jeans and a nice shirt). Maybe even put on some makeup, if you like to. 

Getting yourself ready for the party is the last and most important part of the preparation process, because it seals the deal, and it dictates the mood you start the party. So make sure it’s a nice one!

So here are the 4 essential things to do before guests arrive. Let me know in the comments if you do all of them, and if I missed anything!

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