4 Things to Consider When Having Company
Today I have some things to remember when you decide to have company. Sometimes the thought of having company can make you feel overwhelmed. Maybe you think the house isn't clean enough or that you can't afford to feed everyone. Hosting can be fun + easy and, it doesn't have to cost a fortune. To help make having company a breeze, here are ten tips to consider when hosting.
No. 1 Plan
If you take the time to plan everything out you will have a more enjoyable time. This is especially true if you feel anxious when having company. Give yourself time to plan it out. Be comfortable with your plan. Remember why you are having company in the first place. You want to have company. You want to strengthen your relationships and have those cozy conversations. Create a plan for yourself so you feel more comfortable following through with it.
Have your guest list be a generality. Maybe it doesn't matter so much who is coming over, but think about how many families you can accommodate. This is something to think about as far a space and what you are comfortable with. If you have a small home, don't feel bad for only inviting one or two families. Even if you have a large home, it's okay to only have a few guests. I personally enjoy smaller gatherings more. I feel more comfortable and I end up visiting more. Think about what feels comfortable to you, and do that.
One thing to consider when planning for company is how the traffic is going to flow in your house when there are more people. This could affect both the size of your crowd and your menu. Are you only serving snacks, buffet style? Or, are you having a more intimate dinner at the table? Keep this in mind as you move onto step two.
When you are planning for company remember to plan a separate day for shopping and meal prep. So many times I have tried getting groceries for company at the same time as I get groceries for home. What ends up happening is that by the time the weekend rolls around, the food I had intended for company is gone. This is probably because I don't have a pantry, but to solve this problem, I just have to plan on getting groceries a couple days before I have company. Give yourself an extra day to prepare.
No. 2 Theme
formal or casual
If you are hosting a small gathering, a fun thing to do is to choose a theme. This will help you decide on the menu and if you are going to do any decorating. It could be as general as the seasons and holiday's, or it could be something more creative. You could pick a scene from a favorite novel and recreate a dinner from there.
Hosting a casual dinner is obviously going to be easier than doing a formal dinner, but think about the memories you would create from doing a formal dinner. We are surrounded with so many families and so many children. Sometimes we forget to make the effort to dress things up. Adding a little touch really does go a long way. You don't need a full out formal table spread to do this. It could be something as small as cloth napkins or a table runner or a center display. When you dress it up a bit it makes the atmosphere more intimate.
Another thing to consider is the light. Lighting is a huge problem in my house. Especially in the winter time when it gets dark so early. If you can, add lighting. Perferrably dim, but not too dark. Bright light can be overwhelming and cast harsh shadows making it feel like you can't see anyway. That's why most living rooms don't have ceiling lights. Add table lamps or sconces if you have the space. Think of lighting as a bonus. Chances are, nobody is really going to notice. It's one of those background things that enhance our experience without us even realizing it.
No. 3 Food
choose your menu
Food brings people together. Having a theme can help you decide on your menu. One thing to consider when it comes to food is always the size of the crowd. Also, if you're going to be eating in the living room, the food is going to be a lot more casual than if you are going to sit at the table.
I'm going to mention diet here too. It is pretty common nowadays to have a guest that is gluten free or is on some other special diet. I think that as long as the menu includes fresh fruits + vegetables, that is enough to satisfy almost any diet. Do not let other people's diets hold you back from inviting them over. And, at the same time, do not be offended if they choose to not eat what is offered. I know from experience that I would way rather go hungry than suffer the gut ache + joint pain + brain fog for the next week. Don't feel like you need to go out of your way to satisfy all the many diets. Having fresh fruits + vegetables is enough. I think most people on special diets are used to having snacks in their purse or eating before hand.
Remember that having company should be fun. This means taking it easy on yourself and remembering to feel free to ask people to bring something. If you plan your menu first, it will be easier to know what to ask people to bring. I am pretty casual and I think it's fine to toss that offer in along side the invite. If you're not comfortable doing this then give yourself some room. Maybe say something like, Welcome over on Saturday! If you want, you can bring something salty. And the next invite could be something sweet, or something to drink, or paper products. Sometimes people will ask you what you would like them to bring. When you have your menu planned ahead of time, you can easily answer them with an item from your menu.
No. 4 Get Ready
stock the bathrooms
clean the floors
The last thing you want to happen when you have a house full of company is to run out of toilet paper. When you clean the bathrooms, make sure they have plenty of toilet paper and clean hand towels. They will be used more than normal, so plan accordingly.
If there is one thing that makes a house feel clean, it's got to be the floors. Whenever I sweep + vacuum + mop all together, my house feels sooo clean. I love it. Am I the only one who feels this way? Clean floors = clean house. Yes, it's going to get dirty because there's going to be lots of traffic but, if you are like me, you will feel better knowing that you are entertaining guests in a clean house.
*if you need a cleaning workbook, you can find one in the shop.
Another tip for getting ready for company is to do as much as you can the day before. This means cleaning, but it also means doing any meal prep that you might have. Check your menu for anything that can be chopped ahead of time. Maybe there's a salad or a dessert you can make the day before. Do what you can ahead of time so that you feel energized to have company. You want to enjoy them without feeling like you've been working all day. Make it easy on yourself.
Are you ready for company?
Of course you are! The best part of having company is having company. If you are together with friends and you have no plans of entertaining guests, you can still invite them over. Even if you don't have a plan, spontaneous company will still be enjoyable. Some might argue that those are the best times to have company because you skip the planning process that leaves some people stressed out. Planning makes me feel comfortable but, it's always a good thing to gather together with friends. I have never had company and later wished I didn't. But there has been Sunday's when I wished I would have invited friends over when I didn't. Gather together, friends. It's a beautiful thing.