Place SettingEarlier this summer, the hubster and I found ourselves hosting a variety of meal guests – all in one weekend. We love to entertain, and it just so happened that when this series of out-of-town guests arrived, we had lots of other responsibilities beckoning in other areas of our lives. These visits were planned long before our other responsibilities cropped up, and we didn’t want anything to mar our time with these far-flung individuals. We’re delighted to report that a joyous time was had by all – including us as host and hostess – and, not surprisingly, our “do ahead” preparations made all the difference. Following are a few tips that we hope will help you plan your weekend adventures and future gatherings even when things are especially busy or when you’re hosting dinner guests on a workday:

  • Set the table a day or two in advance, so everything is ready when you come home from work and have guests ringing your doorbell.
  • Consider awakening an hour earlier than usual so you have time to do some house cleaning and still get to work on time. Or if this is not an option, do a thorough house cleaning the weekend before and then spot clean throughout the week to keep things fresh for your guests.
  • Plan a menu that allows you to prepare the food in advance and bake it as soon as you get home from work (read: lasagna; vegetable quiche; fruit crisp).
  • In support of the aforementioned activity, purchase the groceries for your gathering a few days in advance.
  • Set the tone for your gathering well in advance of your guests’ arrival. If you intend to keep things casual, for example, encourage your guests to dress accordingly.

The beauty of “do ahead” preparations is that they support your hosting activities beautifully. They allow you to be organized and thoughtful in your event planning. And by helping you adequately prepare for your guests, these preparations foster the peace that’s needed so you can focus on welcoming your guests with grace, joy, and love – recognizing that each guest has wonderful qualities to express and share with everyone attending your gathering. After all, the more joy that you sincerely express and feel when hosting others, the more you’ll enjoy being a host or hostess.

Have some unique “do ahead” tips to share with others? Let us know about them and they could appear in a future blog post!

* Photo by Jonathan Eggers

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