The saying ‘Athithi devo bhava’ (which translates to a guest being equivalent of a lord) takes on a new meaning with the modern guest. In a fast-paced life with hardly any time to finish daily chores, guests can pose an interesting problem – we love to have them but need to miraculously find extra time and put in extra effort keep them happy. Luckily, with some handy tips in guest hosting etiquette, you’ll be entertaining at home like a pro within no time.
The modern Indian guest comes with a fair understanding of your situation but that does not mute their expectations. Being a guest is about the whole package experience – the ambience, food, the courtesy and a little enrichment served on the side. The best thing to do is plan out as much in advance as possible, tailoring the experience to their preference.
Next comes an important aspect in entertaining guests – your home décor. Take a good look around your home. Almost every part of your home from curtains to wall art can be interesting conversation starters. They shout out your general taste of things in life – cheap and make do v/s thought out and well invested. For a first time visitor, the aim should be to create little wow pockets that they instantly like. The combination of a rug and floor cushions, the home garden corner or the artfully created bookshelf or an unusual floor lamp can be a focal point in your room drawing eyeballs instantly.
Ready to prepare your home for guests? Follow these entertaining tips.
Once your guest feels settled in, you can take your role of a host to the next level by politely drawing up conversation about your home and inviting your guest to have a look around. This needs to be a guided tour which gives you the advantage of leading your guests and drawing their attention to the interesting elements. If you’ve tastefully decorated the passageways with family photos, it can be a great place for the tour to halt and draw the guest into a conversation about your travel experiences and family milestones. When entertaining at home, your guest will be running a cursory glance through most places at first so you can take the initiative to draw their attention to a point where their eye can rest. This can be an interesting wall texture, a unique piece of furniture or even a unique arrangement of fresh flowers.
A happy guest experience starts with interesting food. Think of guests who may have taken the time to put on their finest clothes and traveled far to share the experience with you. As a good host you’ll have the opportunity to give them a glimpse of the treats that await them with a good appetizer. Appetizers should be typically served as finger foods with a napkin so that your guest can savour it quickly and easily. A good tip around appetizers is to go for one tried-and-tested snack along with two unique makeovers. Play with the flavours of spicy and sour, mix out healthy with fried, add one hyper-local snack that’s unique to your community or even traditional to your home. Your guests are bound to like a unique mix that can be a great way to get your guest experience started.
Begin your guest’s home tour at the living room and have a stopover in your garden for the next round of appetizers. After all, your guests need to keep up their energy levels charged for the interesting sensory fare that’ll soon be served. Gardens come in all forms and sizes – some wild, some manicured. No matter what your style, it is a perfect place to show a slice of your everyday life on how you enjoy a relaxing coffee and a book in the space. Some great entertaining tips for the garden include offering your guest a fresh produce from the garden that can quickly go into their salad or a fresh flower pick for the center table vase. This garden in the picture seems to be the perfect venue for entertaining your guest.
Creating collections is a somewhat lost art these days. Between smart phones and chaotic work schedules, it takes real passion to give time to owning and upkeep of a collection. But if you have one, it is a must-show to your guests. Prepare your home for guests by choosing an interesting corner to showcase your collection. Whether it is your collection of stamps or your escapades in origami or your love for miniature automobiles, each can be an interesting story on how you started and where you’ve reached. You never know if one of your guests my just connect you with the things that you’ve been waiting for.
If only life had background music. Some conversations could be so interesting! When you are hosting at home, you can play a collection of your favourite tracks or store bought instrumental music that can create a soothing ambience. In moments when you step out and there is a break in the conversation, there really will be no room for silence as your guests will be remain upbeat. Like other elements, music too can be a good conversation starter. If you make a collection of your own tracks, you’ll keep your guests on what’ll come next!
Most informal guests love to offer a helping hand in the housework with non-intrusive chores like setting the table. It provides an opportunity to show their gratitude to the host and the fact that they are now moving from the ‘guest’ to ‘friend’ category. The kitchen can be a great place to have a private conversation when a guest offers a helping hand with the dessert. Invite them over to indulge them in with a visual treat, creating an anticipation for the delicacies they’ll soon be tasting.
Entertaining guests starts with a warm welcome and ends with a smile filled goodbye. Everything else that happens in between can be crafted by you. Keep the compliments flowing, the good food coming and the ambience light and you’ll just about have mastered your guest hosting etiquette.
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