by Jenny Wells
You’ve been asked to host an event in your home. Maybe it’s a girl’s night out, direct sales party, or bridal shower. “We’ll take care of everything,” you’re told. “We just need a place.” And you think, “Great! I can do that. It should be a breeze.”
I have a question for you, Readers. Do you think this is realistic?
One of the reasons I have been unable to post to Tea Party Girl as often over the last few weeks is because I attended and helped host a number of events in real life. Each involved group efforts and I found myself asking this question off and on. Here’s my top three observations and it would be great to hear some of your perspectives in the comments below.
- If you are hosting the event in your home people will use your bathroom, ask for your ice, and be afraid of your dog. In other words, there’s a certain level of prep, availability and clean-up that will be required of you. Unless you’ve hired a professional caterer, it is unrealistic to think that whomever is coming into your home to put on the event will remember everything and need nothing.
- Because it is your home, you help set the tone. For various reasons, I assisted at two events in a row where at the beginning, everyone bunched together in a passageway and awkwardly stood around. It would have been a great help for the homeowner to direct people where to sit, turned on some music or even helped with quick glasses of ice water.
- Someone has to be in the kitchen. Think of your warmest memories of events/gatherings that have taken place in homes. Whether it’s with friends or family, most likely someone spent a chunk of time in the kitchen. And they were relaxed about it. Maybe they poured you a glass of wine or cup of tea while you chatted with them from the breakfast bar. Usually the best home gatherings take place when the hostess is at ease sharing her role in the kitchen with others and conversations can happen while the food prep is taking place. If you are hosting an event in your home ask yourself how you can utilize your home’s center and heartbeat, the kitchen. If the kitchen is not a place you like to be, is it realistic to host events in your home?
Last Friday evening, my family and I experienced a home gathering that provided real refreshment for the guests. It was casual. People arrived at different times. Some were family, some were friends. The ages ranged from six-over sixty. Wine flowed, laughter erupted, and guests put their feet up. The kids swam and played basketball and hide-and-go-seek. Our hostess spent time in the kitchen making enchiladas and dishing up homemade ice cream. She seemed at ease with my husband constructing a huge salad for us all and her father’s wife making margaritas while her brother and I hung out in the kitchen discovering mutual friends and a fondness for classic literature. She even found time to sit and laugh with us on occasion.
But when all was said and done, she was the one who gathered up the abandoned drinks, discovered the muddy footprints in her guest bath from the numerous children, and swept under the table where we ate. I am guessing she and her husband didn’t calculate the financial cost, but willingly gave it. How I long to be a hostess like this to others.
So what do you think? What takes a home-based event from good to great? How much hinges on the hostess? Are you a realistic hostess?