I've been spending the better of the day (since the crack of east coast dawn) preparing for a visit from a good friend and her son. Our daughters, no doubt overcome already by the fumes of cleaning spray, think i'm in a panic over a royal visit. My gal pal is royally fun, for sure! But the girls have amnesia, unable to recall surrendering their bedroom when our friends last visited. We've been going round and 'round ever since. Naturally, besides providing another great opportunity to nag my daughters about social graces, I knew there was a blog in here...somewhere...between the freshly washed towels and flowers.
Our family LOVES to entertain, no matter the zip code or level of formality! Opening one's home to visitors is a good reason to get our summer slugs up off their beach blankets, but it is also a great way to put so many lovely touches into a 24-hour or 48-hour window.
If you invite someone from out of town to visit, absolutely insist they stay under your roof, unless you live in a studio apartment furnished only with a futon and a bean bag. In our case, our guests will occupy the spoiled teen suite, forcing a temporary relocation of the natives upstairs. [Insert eye rolls and gasps here].
Like a bowl of She Crab Soup, they are warming to the idea, even getting involved in the preparations. Make sure bedding and linens are fresh, and don't forget to provide clean sets of towels as well. I like to have a small vase of flowers on the nightstand.
In our family, 'mi casa es su casa' is our mantra, so with that, I make sure the refrigerator and pantry are fully stocked with fruit, munchies, and beverages. It isn't necessary, but another thoughtful touch is to do some advance activity planning so everyone doesn't sit around staring at each other. Conversely, make sure to give your guests some down time to relax, especially if they have traveled some distance.
Plan your meals before guests arrive, so as not to put them on the spot about dining out. Make sure not to keep them up late either. They will be exhausted, and surely be anxious to get a good night's sleep.
Like dinner parties, entertaining guests overnight is about making them feel welcome and comfortable. If you're uptight, they won't be at ease. Remember, the goal is to create an environment conducive to spending time together, catching up and making memories. Remember, It 'Manners' A lot!