Updated: Jan 29
How often do we find ourselves having people (family, friends, partners, co-workers) over and either being clueless or panicking about how to handle it all when they arrive?
It’s more often than not, right?
We often ask ourselves “should I just order pizza”, “should someone else do the catering?”, "do I need more chairs?"... and so much more.
So what can we do to be brilliant hosts without breaking the bank and looking tacky all while showing our guests that we care so much for their company? Well here are some tips...
TIP 1: Write a list, or 20
Lists are the best thing EVER in my opinion because they are a great way of getting things in order even before we see it physically.
Grab a notebook (a blank one is usually the best for this) and write a list of the guests who are coming, your options for decorating, food/snacks, drinks, things you have to buy, who you have to remind (because let’s face it some people need at least 10 reminders or they won’t be showing up), what needs fixing around the house before the event, and so much more. Whatever you have in mind, WRITE IT ALL DOWN!
TIP 2: Decorate a little
I’m not trying to get you to pull out balloons (although these just might do the trick), but depending on the type of gathering, you could get some candles out, fluff the pillows on the couch a little or even put some fresh flowers in a vase.
The right ambience does a lot more than you know.
TIP 3: Keep the food simple
Usually having people over means talking or laughs, and making a casserole or stew doesn’t usually cut it because it takes away time for ‘jazz or kaboozi’ as people sit around a table and eat in silence because they are trying not to be rude.
So to avoid this, get a serving board (or 3, psst we have some AMAZING serving boards made from various African hardwoods) and put together a charcuterie, bruschetta, dessert or fruit platter. Spread these out in your living room or backyard (wherever you're hosting). These are always popular and keep people mingling because they don’t have to sit in one place as they eat. 😋
Also, you’ll be surprised how full little nibbles make people.
Extra tip: When it comes to drinks at mixers like these, avoid red wine because once it spills, it stains. Instead do something fun like a fruit juice punch and add some diced fruits in there. You could also add a white spirit to make alcoholic. 😉
TIP 4: Play some "vibe-y" music
Music relaxes people, and is perfect during any awkward silences. Get a good chilled playlist going early enough so that even the first people to get there don’t feel like they are too early.
Avoid club music or music people are likely to start sing to AT ALL COSTS. You're trying to set a chill mood, not start a dance club or karaoke competition. 🤷♀️
TIP 5: Be alert
This is key to being a great host. You want all your guests to feel welcome at all times so check-in with the introverts every now and then and keep them company, or better yet change the topic to what they might feel more comfortable talking about.
Extra tip: Have some games on stand-by. Depending on what kind of guests you're having over, make sure you're fully stocked on games just in case things get a little slow. Board games and card games usually do the trick. A fantastic Ugandan game that I played recently is "Otyo!" It's similar to charades, and is so much FUN!
TIP 6: Don't be afraid to call it a night at some point
We are fully trained to not be rude (I'm speaking for Ugandan here) that we essentially become rude to ourselves.
If you had planned to have your hosts for 4 hours and it's now 3 and a half hours in, start slowing everything down- the conversation, music, drinks, food, EVERYTHING, and call it a night because you still have to clear-up ,lock up and get some much deserved rest.
So do yourself a favour and kindly escort your guests out when it's time.
I hope you're fully equipped with how to handle yourself and your guests when it's your turn to host. Now, go ahead and start sending those invites out!
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