Weekends With Wine

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Nine Necessary Tips for Being the Perfect Weekend Host

If these tips don’t make you a great host, then we suggest springing for a hotel for your guest. No one will blame you, and people love surprise stays at hotels. You can try a discount code for Premier Inn so that it doesn’t break the bank for you either.

In “Poor Richard’s Almanack,” Ben Franklin warned that two things stink after three days: fish and house guests. With some advance preparation, you can avoid the stress and enjoy the visit. As a weekend host, your goal is to create a comfortable, welcoming environment that allows your guests to function autonomously while still feeling like part of the family. Start with a checklist:

1. Make sure the guest room is properly outfitted.

It doesn’t have to be the Ritz, but make sure the essentials are all there. Obviously, clean sheets and towels, cozy blankets, but also window shades (not everyone likes to wake up to the rising sun), a bedside lamp, a wastebasket and a place for your guest’s stuff. If you can swing it, add some mini-toiletries. They’re easy to score at a drugstore in the travel section and add a luxury touch. How about a power strip for charging all those traveling electronics?

2. Ask in advance about food allergies and preferences.

It’s nice to know if your guests want milk for coffee, lemon for tea, or gluten-free toast in the morning. And more importantly, nobody wants to have to bust out the epi pen because you forgot cousin Betty was allergic to the pine nuts you so carefully ground into your signature pesto sauce. This is also a good time to find out exactly how long your guests are going to stay and what time they’re going to arrive.

3. Inform your guests in advance of any special events or activities you have planned so they can pack the right clothes.

They may want a sweater for the lakeside fireworks, a swimsuit for the pool, or sneakers for backyard football. Don’t plan for an evening at the opera if you haven’t told your guests to bring black tie attire!

4. Plan for parking.

If your guests are arriving by car, you most certainly don’t want them driving around trying to find a parking space. If you have a garage or a driveway for your car, why not scout out a parking spot for yourself earlier in the day and reserve your space for your guest? They’ll feel special and love you for thinking of it.

5. Leave the light on.

Even if you’re picking up your guests, leave some lights on so there’s a warm welcome. If you’re home awaiting their arrival, perhaps you could light some candles or, in winter, stoke up the fire. Let them feel they can come in and drop down somewhere to relax.

6. Greet them with a beverage and some snacks.

After even a short travel time, most people are grateful for a bit of refreshment. Make sure to have some wine, cold beer, sodas and water on hand. Those coming from another time zone might want to perk up with coffee or tea. Depending on arrival time, offer up some cheese and crackers, veggies and hummus, or even sandwiches, especially to someone who’s coming off a long plane ride with only peanuts for sustenance.

7. Help them get their baggage to the room and the give them a tour of the spaces they’ll be using.

Point out the light switches, extra blankets and pillows and any quirky bits like jiggling the toilet handle. Consider squeaky board, night kitty attacks, and that strange sound that comes when the water heater starts up.

8. Encourage your guests to make themselves at home.

Show them where to find snacks, drinks, and the supplies to make coffee and tea. It’s not as if you are giving them the combination to your safe. Unless, of course, you’ve posted on the fridge so you don’t forget it. 

9. Lastly, let your guests know if you have plans for entertainment or exploration and ask what time they’d like to start their day.

Just because you get up at the crack of dawn doesn’t mean that they want to, and vice versa. 

Being a host with the most is simply a matter of considering how you would like to be treated if you were a guest in someone’s home. Whether your digs are small and your guest is going to sleep in a glorified broom closet or you have a big house with a plethora of spare rooms, do your best to warm the proverbial hearth to welcome your visitors. When they’re gone, the only odor you’ll be left with is the sweet smell of being a successful host.