Why you should host – no excuses!

ou should host. You really should. It doesn’t  have to be fancy.

Remember back in our early twenties when we’d just have friends over? Like college times, young-adult life, people just came over and we’d hang out which became the foundation of our friendships? I don’t know when we got all stuffy as adults or too busy (or kids) thinking our homes aren’t done yet, or we don’t like setting the table, or cooking (me) – but these are not good excuses my friends!

A well-lived life is about the time we are given doing things we enjoy – time is fleeting and we don’t get it back. For me, that means spending time with friends and family, quality time with people and traveling. Time is most precious and spending time with friends is much more rewarding for our soul than having an object. Good company and conversation can totally fill your cup which is why I love to host – after all, I put in all this work into our home – which is also why I love being home.

We have homes that we decorate to make it welcoming for our family and friends not just ourselves, so have people over!

You don’t have to set the table elaborately – we have had friends over just for a casual meal. You’re going to eat anyway so make more or order more and ask friends to come over! Being invited into one’s home is so intimate and an honor!

This is when I set the table and ordered Cheesecake Factory which is close by. I realized the table looked naked to me so adding the napkins and some votives on the table really helped but I’m just giving you the basic idea.

Of course I set the table and have fun picking out my dishes but I don’t go over the top for every meal – that can be a lot and if I had to then I would be way too overwhelmed and not host. So I’m going to give you reasons why you should and going to argue the excuses you might have in your head on why you don’t.

how to host dinner guests easily

Reasons why you should host and how to prepare your home for dinner guests

Reasons to host

  • Life is about relationships
  • Relieve your hostess friends from a night off from hosting
  • If you are creative, the more you host the better you get at it!
  • It makes you finish projects around your home or redecorate because it’s enjoyable
  • It makes you clean your home
  • It will bring you joy
  • It’s a gift to your friends to open your home up and it makes them feel so special!
  • If you don’t make plans, who will?

You can even get some design and decorating advice from friends who you trust – if you ask I mean, they probably won’t be critiquing your home unless you ask them for advice.

Also, I strongly suggest inviting older couples over – your friends parents, a couple from church, there is so much wisdom and joy being with older friends! You can learn so much from the time together and be inspired.

Invalid excuses to not host

These might be your excuses, but I’ll argue them to prove you can host! :)  Also hosting doesn’t have to be formal – you can easily set another place setting or two when you set the table.

  • I don’t cook. I don’t either, I either pop in a frozen lasagna I picked up or anything ready to bake item, or I order delivery. Or, you can handle the main dish (catering or whatever) and have one couple bring a salad, and another bring a dessert to relieve pressure. Trader Joe’s will save the day. My friends know this and they don’t care, they just want to come over and hang out!
  • It’s expensive. It doesn’t have to be. Make an extra serving for a friend or a couple. Or, like I mentioned earlier, have someone bring a part of the meal (if they ask).
  • The house isn’t perfect or done yet. Your friends don’t come over to see your tablescape theme. They come over to spend time with YOU. Think about it yourself, do you go over to someone’s house for the meal or the tablescape or are you simply excited to see your friend(s)?
  • I don’t like to clean. You are not an animal and this is not an excuse to keep your house filthy. This will make you clean your house – not ALL of it, just the entertaining spaces and the powder bath. Don’t feel like you need to clean the entire home. Don’t show it if you don’t clean it.
  • But, kids. I can understand this, so wait until the kiddos can sit in their seat for a full dinner. Kids LOVE being invited to homes even if you don’t have kids! I remember all the times we went to other people’s houses and I don’t remember what we are or the table setting but rather how excited my parents were and got us dressed up and we played with other kids. Also – kids? Pizza party!! Done!

How to be a good guest

  • If it’s your first time to the home for dinner or just to say hello, bring a small gift. My friend Lily told me it is European tradition if you arrive to someone’s home for the first time to bring a small gift. I like this idea!
  • Offer to bring something – ask. It is always nice to ask if you can bring something, even if it’s a bag of ice, or a dessert.
  • Show up on time. Or at least not too late – be a respectful guest. Even if it is a big party with lots of people it doesn’t mean you can arrive 30 minutes late.
  • If there is a dress code or costume request, honor it. This goes for a themed party. Dress presentable anyway, your host goes into a lot to make things happen so you can show up looking presentable. Especially if there is a formal attire dress code, don’t show up looking like a slob – you’d be mad if you spent tons of money and a guest showed up looking like they didn’t care. Better to be overdressed than under dressed.
  • Don’t ask to see the entire house. If they didn’t offer don’t ask because it’s probably not presentable to them. So just be in spaces your host and hostess keeps you in.
  • Send a thank you card after dinner. I have learned this from the older women in my life to send a thank you card after being hosted – and also from Martha Stewart.

Of course I would say some of this can go out the window if you’re like really close friends, manners are manners of course but sometimes you just know friends are like family. Remember if you host, check out my hostess party checklist to help you prep even the small get together it just helps you feel less frantic when you get the house ready, super easy. If you want the PDF version of this list, click here.

The Ultimate Hostess Party Checklist

Related posts:

hosting checklist to get the house ready

Party inspiration

But even though you don’t have to be fancy, let me share some fancy ones with you! Also big tip, since I throw parties and often invite friends who aren’t familiar with my other friends or who are more new, I sit the guest right next to me. My best friend Meagan is sometimes close to me too, but since she is very social and knows everyone and is so welcoming like a co-host, I can often count on her to make new guests/friends feel welcome.

When I have new friends come I make sure I spend some good time with them sitting by them whether it be a sit down so they are seated right next to me, or I find them during a big party and sit down with them. I want to make my new guest feel comfortable and welcome!

twilight midnight sun dinner party vampire theme

Twilight Midnight Sun Party

Galentine’s Day Dinner

Sex and the City Party (And Just Like That…)


Just a reminder as we close out August, this month only, use my Alice Lane Home promo code DIANAELIZABETH to get 20% off site wide on Alice Lane Home instead of 10% off! This is one of the best contemporary twist on traditional home decor sites!  Shop now.

Diana Elizabeth’s entertaining season is coming up, she can’t wait! All the holiday parties, great weather, outdoor dinners, and replanting the entire garden from the scorching summer, she can’t wait to be wrist deep in dirt!


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Diana Elizabeth Steffen setting the table for her annual garden party


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Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive thrift shopper. You can typically find her in the garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next creative themed party. She continues to blog weekly.


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