How to Prepare for Guests

How to Prepare for Guests

Since we’ve moved to the ‘burbs, all of our city-folk friends constantly ask us if they can visit. We, of course, love it because we get to hang with our pals on our turf, and they feel like they’re getting a country getaway. As someone who is new to hosting guests in my home for more than a dinner or brunch, I’ve learned a lot about hosting over the last few months and thought I’d share the love.

Before they arrive

Be clear about timing + transportation: The train from NYC to Stamford is only 50 minutes so the commute is a breeze, but our house is about 10 minutes away by car. I let my guests know that, if they’re taking the train, one of us will be there to pick them up when it arrives. I tell them exactly where to meet me at the station so there isn’t any confusion.

If they’re driving, I ask when they expect to arrive and make sure I’m ready for them 30 minutes before that in case they are early. There’s nothing worse than showing up at someone’s house and having the hosts running around trying to clean or make your bed last minute.

Stock up on food + drinks: I always stock up on my usual favorites before guests arrive like La Croix seltzer, hummus and carrots, chips and guac, along with white, red, and rosé varieties of wine. I try to stick to snack foods that everyone loves and multiple bottles of wine so that everyone is happy. But I also shoot them a text a few days before they come over to see if they want anything in particular. Because we’re a dairy free home, people usually say milk or cream for coffee or whatever else they prefer for breakfast and cocktail hour.

Prepare their space: Change the sheets on the bed where they will be staying, put out fresh towels in the bathroom and clean both rooms. I like to take it a step further by putting out fresh flowers on the nightstands and on the bathroom sink. Walk into the guest room pretending that you’ll be staying there and think about what you’ll need. Perhaps a place to put your clothes (make sure extra hangers are in the closet), water before bed (I always set out this carafe), or slippers in winter months (I put out two sets of hotel slippers for my friends so they don’t have to walk around barefoot).

Carafe of Water copy

While they’re at your house

Show them around: When guests first arrive, show them where they’ll be staying, what bathroom they should shower in, where to hang their clothes, and other things they might need to know for their visit. Let them know that they don’t need to ask to get food or drinks and they’re welcome to make themselves at home.

Chill out: There is nothing more annoying than a hostess who is always on top of you, worried about your every move. Once they arrive, let them know the plan for the weekend or the time they’re staying and then chill out, relax and have fun! The whole point of the visit is to have a good time.

Don’t apologize: I have a terrible habit of apologizing for “the mess” (my house is always insanely clean because I’m insane about it) or not having the right drinks or my meal not being perfect or whatever. No one notices the small stuff except for you. And if they do, they probably don’t care.

Fresh Pink Roses copy

As the stay winds down

Don’t push them to leave: You might have things to do but getting antsy about your friends and family leaving your home is awkward and rude. Instead, make it a point to ask about their departure time at the beginning of the stay, and say something like “Oh that’s perfect, I have to be somewhere at 4pm anyway”. That will cement it in their minds that they need to be out of the house at that time. If they forget and you really do need to be somewhere, gently remind them an hour or so beforehand that you will have to leave at that time.

Host them all the way home: I like to have mini bottles of water and little bags of trail mix made up for drives or train rides home. When they get hungry or thirsty, they’ll be grateful for the treats.

Clean up after they go: Don’t start stripping the bed or cleaning up after your guests until they leave. It will seem like you’re pushing them out of your home!

Prepare for Guests

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  1. Emily said:

    Great post! Having just moved into a home and having people stay with me for the first time – this was helpful! I love putting out fresh flowers and I make sure everything is perfect. Great tips!


    3.31.16 · Reply
  2. Katie said:

    I love these tips, Julia! So helpful!


    3.31.16 · Reply
  3. Olivia Tennant said:

    These are all such good tips!! So thoughtful, but it’s the little things that count!


    3.31.16 · Reply
  4. Maggie said:

    These are great- I love the idea of asking departure time before they arrive. It keeps everyone on the same page!

    3.31.16 · Reply
  5. Alyssa Thomas said:

    Great tips!

    3.31.16 · Reply
  6. These are great tips. We have a lot of overnight guests as well since we live on Long Island and our friends like to escape the city and be close to the beach. I especially like the idea of the carafe next to the bed. I usually place water bottles there but the carafe is a much nicer touch!

    Taffeta & Tulips

    3.31.16 · Reply
  7. great tips my friend!

    4.18.16 · Reply