Host a small Gathering

We recently hosted a last-minute cookout for 10 people on Memorial Day weekend. For some, this may stress you out and normally I would be with you. But these were life-long friends that I haven’t seen in a few years, so I was more excited about seeing them than making sure our house was put together perfectly. I’d like to share my 5 simple tips to help you host a small gathering this summer.

What should we Eat
  1. Food & Drinks – Typically, the host will provide a main dish and you can ask guests to bring a side and/or dessert. It’s grilling season so hamburgers, hot dogs, and brats are all great options. Of course if you have vegetarians in your party, there are wonderful meatless grilling options too. Similarly, you can also provide water, sun tea and/or lemonade and have your guests bring their preferred alcoholic beverages. We also have a “beer” fridge that we keep stocked with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks as an option for guests.
How can we eat
  1. Plates, Napkins & Utensils – When hosting more than 6 people, I recommend disposable products to help with quick & easy clean up. I like to keep a small contingent of paper plates, plastic solo cups, napkins and cutlery in the pantry to be used in last-minute situations. My favorite color is blue (Go Colts!), so I tend to buy matching products with hints of blue to give the appearance that everything was perfectly coordinated specifically for that party, but really, it’s all I have and they always go together!
where should we eat
  1. Location – This can be tricky since weather can be a factor. If you are hosting outdoors, I’d recommend that you at least clean off the area where people will eat. This could mean wiping down tables and/or picking up the area from leaves and tree droppings. We still have quite a bit of work to do on our landscaping, but my bare minimum was to pull the weeds that encroached onto our deck 🙂 You may choose to mow and even get flowers for the event. And just in case of weather, I’d recommend having an alternative option – whether that’s folding tables in a garage, basement or living room. Of course, a dining room also works, but our house is so small that we don’t have one, and have to make do with other rooms.
Most important – The atmosphere!

Mood – I believe that this is the most important planning item on the list – and sometimes it’s the hardest. While it’s easy to have music playing – we love the Chris Stapleton station on Amazon Music – mood is more than just music. It’s about the whole atmosphere in your home. For example, smell is a factor too – I like to have a candle burning before guests arrive and spray Febreeze (paid link) in the walkways and furniture. I try to remember to check the bathrooms for both smell and cleanliness.

Finally, it’s about your spirit to receive your guests. Take a moment to center yourself and prepare to welcome people into your home. What do you want people to remember? How do you want them to feel while they are there and after they leave? If you’re like me, you’ll probably need to apologize to your partner or spouse so you are unified and both ready to accept guests, and that your moods are pleasing and peaceful!

  1. During the Party – Let go and let your friends help. It gives them something to do and the conversation naturally flows while people are busy getting things together. Start with food and if it’s not ready, at least make sure people have drinks. Be present in the moment and if there’s a lull in conversation, it’s ok. I’d just recommend having a few questions in your backpocket to help keep the conversations going. You can plan games, walk to the beach or just sit and talk. The most important thing is that you engage with your guests.
Relax, You got this

Congratulations, you did it!  Each time you host a gathering, you’ll get better and better.  And you may even have a few tips of your own.  We’d love to hear what you think the most important thing is to host a small gathering. Please add your comments so we can learn from you!

– Kyle & Kara at Zeke Life

Live like Zeke
You’re such a good boy!

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