Heyyyy, I know you. We’re made of the same stuff. Exquisite menus, perfectly designed table scapes, calming playlists, and a charming personality. I’m not going to give you tips on how to be the perfect host because you already are! This post should really be titled “5 challenges for the perfect host,” but look how I lured you in with tips! Ok, here we go…
Take your makeup off
Everyone has their own version of makeup. It may be a spotless house. Or maybe it’s a “my life is wonderful” face put on just before guests arrive. Makeup covers what we’d rather hide and enhances what we wish was better. In other words, it keeps us from feeling too vulnerable. You, my dear friend and perfect host, are especially susceptible to makeup. Start with small steps. Instead of spending an hour in front of the mirror, wear something that makes you feel comfortable and most like yourself. It will feel awkward at first, but I promise you’ll be better for it. Let them see the real you.
Let them help
Gatherings are meaningful because they bring people together. It’s the sharing that makes guests feel like they belong, connected to the bigger picture. Let them share in the joy of making food and serving friends. Let them share in the beauty.
Let it linger
The sweetest moments around the table linger well after the meal is over. Bellies are full and the candles burn lower, while the conversation lends to stories and deeper topics. These are the moments you worked so lovingly to prepare for. Let them linger. Let those dirty plates be evidence of food enjoyed. Instead of focusing on the crumpled napkins, focus on the faces of your guests. Let yourself be filled with the joy of gathering.
Accept the compliment
If they knew you just copied a real designer’s dinner party post, they wouldn’t be so impressed. In fact, you prayed no one follows that designer’s instagram account. Here’s the good news for you: curated things are just as meaningful as created things. You knew what your guests would like and you made it for them. So the next time a guest says, “Your decor is gorgeous!” or “This is seriously delicious.” I challenge you to smile and say, “thank you.” Let their compliment sink in.
Enjoy being the guest
A perfect host is usually known in her circles as the gatherer or party planner. When special events and holidays come around, you jump at the opportunity to celebrate. This is part of what makes you YOU, but it’s not the only thing you bring to the table. Every so often, make room for someone else to be the gatherer. Enjoy being guest and not being in charge.
Whether you’ve been gluten free for five years or five days, you know that finding a delicious gluten free biscuit is like finding the perfect Christmas gift for your second cousin. I have been guilty of literally sniffing (almost inhaling) regular biscuits at restaurants because of how much I miss them. Please don’t judge me, I’ve spent four years in a biscuit-less void. So when my sweet grandmother-in-law, “Baba”, sent me biscuit cutters and a Southern Living Cookbook I knew it was time to try to for fluffy, buttery gf biscuits again. And after a weekend of experimentation, I finally found the biscuit recipe my heart desired.
Be realistic about what you have on your plate. Is this a crazy season of life for you? Plan for shortcuts. Serve cheese and grapes instead of the wrapped baked brie. Find the best gathering hacks and stick to them. We often procrastinate when the task at hand seems overwhelming. Be kind to yourself and keep it simple.