Every host wants a party to go well and for their guests to be happy and entertained, but there's nothing more awkward than when the guests are so happy and comfortable that they forget to go home. The poor host is left trying to figure out a charming and tactful way to get their guests to go home without having the evening end on an awkward note. I'm so sleepy! How are you still here? Please leave!
Fortunately Mary Berry is one of the reigning queens of elegant entertaining, and she has some suggestions for how to get guests to go home.
As the former judge of The Great British Bake-Off and the author of more than 75 cookbooks, Mary Berry knows how to entertain. And she knows what it's like when guests overstay their welcome.
"Some people love people to stay on and on … but if you feel that you want to end the evening, you can give them a hint by gently starting to clear things away," she tells Good Housekeeping UK. She says her husband has even been known to close the curtains to drive home the hint.
If that doesn't work, she suggests dropping some hints by saying, "Gosh, you've got to go to work tomorrow morning!" or "Shall we find you a cab number?"
If a cab doesn't fit the bill, you could always try a modern version of Berry's classic, like saying, "We should check and make sure there are Lyfts in the area. Sometimes there's a wait."
If the subtle suggestion of calling a cab doesn't work, Berry's next move is to escalate to saying, "'Do you think you're going to stay? If so, we'll open another bottle of wine?" But that seems likely to backfire. If you offer to open another bottle of wine, your new roommate might think you mean to keep the party going, and then they'll never leave.
Fortunately, Berry agrees that you can just say, "OK, time's up!" to very good friends (and those are the people most likely to overstay their welcome anyway).
How do you get guests to leave when the party's over?