Why is it that, no matter how much you plan and prep, the hour before any party is always spent frantically running around? I almost always spend the time hyper-cleaning things, and freaking out about the pillows being angled just so on the couch and whether the kids left popcorn kernels on the rug last night when they watched a movie before bed.
I'll admit it, though: While I love for the house to look perfect, not once has a friend come in and complimented me on the angles of the pillows on the couch. So as an apology for all past stress — and to help you stress less in the future — here's a list of things that hosts tend to care about that I'm sure no one else does.
- How fancy the wine is.
- Whether or not the place settings match.
- If the tablecloth is ironed.
- Whether the butter is served from a dish or a wrapper.
- If guests have to get their own glasses out of the cabinet.
- If the table's not totally set (it gives guests something to do!).
- If people have to sit in folding chairs.
- If the floral arrangement is lopsided.
- If dinner takes an extra 15 minutes to make.
- Whether or not your hair is dry.
- If the playlist is just right (another actually fun task for guests).
- If you made everything from scratch or if some stuff is store-bought.
- If the rug is vacuumed.
- If your toiletries are all over the bathroom.
- If you've got a pile of mail on the countertop.
Honestly — and I do know this in my heart of hearts — I've learned from my friend (and former boss) Clinton Kelly that the only thing that really matters to guests is that you seem relaxed and happy when they arrive. So next time, instead of stressing, I'm just going to have a glass of wine and let go of all these things instead.
What else have you learned to let go of when you're entertaining a crowd?