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The Art of Gracious (and Fabulous!) Hosting

Make their visit one that they’ll remember! When I host guests, I like to make them feel welcome—that my home has become their home away from home. As an avid traveler, I enjoy staying with friends; I can admit that one of the most gratifying feelings I experienced was feeling a warm sense of welcome in their homes.

entertaining invite1. Enjoy yourself! If you are having a good time, chances are that your guests are, too. Nothing is more disconcerting than when a hostess spends an entire evening in the kitchen either preparing food or cleaning up. Take the time a week in advance to set a schedule that works for you, or feel free to hire assistance in the kitchen and bartenders.

2. A clean home is a must. Guests will feel more comfortable in your home if it’s clean and free of clutter. Be sure to also stock up on important necessities like toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues. Make these items accessible to your guests so they don’t feel uncomfortable asking.

3. If you are hosting a party at your home, be sure to send out an invitation that sets the tone of the gathering. When my Aunt Sally, an avid hostess, entertains at her home, she always likes to include details that indicate the dress code in her invitations. Her method to communicating dress code: “If it’s casual and laidback, put on your jeans. If it’s a glitzy invitation, put on something fabulous.”

4. It’s a kind gesture to give your guests an extra set of keys so that they can come and go as they please. When I stayed with my friends Pierre and Sebastian in France, they gave me a set of keys so that I could explore the beauty of Paris while they were at work. They also gave me several recommendations of their favorite cafes and parks so I could savor the leisurely Parisian experience. Be sure to let your guests know favorite haunts so they can experience the flavor of your city or town!

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5. Nothing says you’re a good host more than leaving a few creature comforts in your guests’ bedrooms. It is thoughtful to place magazines and books in your guests’ bedrooms so that they can read during their downtime. Lotions, candles, and an extra blanket to snuggle up in will perfect the guest room’s ambiance!

It’s always a generous act to present gifts to your guests. A simple gift tells your guests that you are thrilled that they are staying with you and that you appreciate their good company.

6. Who doesn’t love a clean bathroom? To make your guests feel comfortable, provide them a fresh stack of bath towels as well as a toothbrush and extra toothpaste (in case they forgot theirs by accident!). Comfort is key, so make sure you set up everything they will need during their stay in advance.

8. After your guests leave, it’s thoughtful to express how much you enjoyed spending time with them in your home. Send a handwritten note.

Madeleine Garone,

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