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hosting a haute event

If  you google good hosting these days, a series of appropriate tips and suggestions do not jump out at you.  Instead you are faced with a wall of internet hosting options for your very own web page.  And while we could always use a new website, it seems like the cache of hosting etiquette is still best found in the books that we were raised with.  So I dusted off a few in an effort to remind us what makes a great host regardless of the type of event.

1. Greet your guests at the door.  Look them in the eye and smile.  Make them feel like you are genuinely excited they came to your home/event.  If you have children, involve them in greeting guests as well so that everyone feels comfortable right away.  Take coats, shoes, bags or direct your guests on where to leave them.

2. You are the reason these people are here.  You are the link if there are multiple people at your event, so be sure to have everything prepared in advance so that you can spend time with your guests, and make connections for people as you introduce everyone.

3. No wall flowers – if you see a lonely guest – spend some extra time with them or bring them into the larger conversation.

4. No empty glasses.  This one actually comes straight from my Dad.  From the minute you walked through our door you had a glass in hand and it was always full … regardless of what was in it -somehow it made for many extremely enjoyable events.

5. Early/Late guests: If people arrive early, try to involve them in last minute prep or invite them to join you in the area that you are prepping so that they can converse with you while you finish up.  Stragglers need to be entertained to a point – but once you reach the end of your rope – start cleaning up with them while you converse – if they still don’t leave by the time you are all in your proverbial PJs find a polite way to signal the end of the event by either offering to call them a taxi or thanking them for coming and offering to walk them out.

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Easter. Hoppin to it

I’ve been a blog delinquent.  I have a backlog to share but thought I would start here since it is Easter tomorrow…

If you’re lucky enough to have friends or family sharing Easter with you tomorrow – we wish you happy hosting.  Our number one rule when hosting big family gatherings is food – and lots of it! Variety for all the picky eaters and volume for all the voracious eaters.

The most delicate parts of hosting a big family function are often keeping everyone’s scheduling needs and eating needs in order in your head.  In our case tomorrow is a blur of our whole family together, two different church times, an egg hunt, three different nap times, two baptisms and a dinner for 18.  Crazy.  But the best kind of fun.

The biggest tip from me is prepare in advance, which doesn’t help for Easter since it’s two hours away… apologies for the delay. In my case sugar cookies as name plates were made on Tuesday, three varieties of potatoes were made Friday, Mille Feuille for dessert made Saturday and just finishing the sauce for the green beans tonight that will be steamed quickly tomorrow.  I’m not hosting tomorrow, my lovely sister is, but I’m thrilled to be contributing to the fun meal.  By having everything done in advance, the evening can be more about the people and less about the stress of getting food ready and out on the table.  It means less stress for you and for your guests who will no doubt be asking – ‘what can i do?’

We have an adult table and a kids table at big dinners like this one so that some level of conversation can happen for both groups.  We also ensure there is a special detail that’s fun to sit down to for our big family meals; it might be a Christmas cracker and joke, or an Easter sugar cookie dressed up like a carrot with your name on it, a game for kids while they wait for food, or a little box of crayons and kraft paper for kids.  Sitting down to dinner should be fun.  It should also still involve manners.  This means kids ask before leaving the table, practice table manners by trying new food, having conversations at normal levels and participating in traditions like grace.  This is a great, fun place to practice being polite for young ones and a wonderful place to reconnect over a lingering meal for everyone.  It also means as an adult waiting until everyone is seated to eat, minding the conversation topics (and how much you talk), and showing your appreciation for the food and the host.

our biggest bunny getting excited for Easter with his Easter ears on last night at dinner 🙂

Hosting means not expecting to have help with dinner prep or dishes (but being very thankful when gracious guests help you especially with clean up!) It means ensuring wine or beer glasses are full, people are smiling, and food is a plenty.  It means saving the victim from the chatty relative in an unassuming way, rescuing the small child from the barrage of cheek pinchers with a little wink, and freshening the air with grace when things go sour for a moment (figuratively or literally

).  All the little things that go wrong (they are inevitable) are met with a smile.  It’s the best job there is.  You are CEO of your home and president of your party – and you have the ability to make it the best dinner anyone has ever had, that day.

Enjoy – have fun – and we’ll all raise a glass to you!  And please, share your Easter traditions or etiquette here as well.  Happy Easter!

mmm dessert!