Hosting Etiquette: The Dos and Don'ts of Being the Perfect Host - Home & Texture
Entertaining Hosting Etiquette

Hosting Etiquette: The Dos and Don'ts of Being the Perfect Host

Master the art of hosting so you can throw the parties that everyone talks about.

March 28, 2024 at 6:37 AM PST

There are two types of homeowners: those who enjoy hosting events in their homes, and those who prefer to attend events hosted by others. Hosting can be a lot of fun, but it comes with a lot of responsibility. However, no matter if you’re throwing a dinner party, a weekend stay, or a casual gathering, practicing proper hosting etiquette can make all the difference in ensuring a pleasant and enjoyable experience for everyone involved. To learn how to throw a fantastic party, here are the dos and don’ts of hosting etiquette.

Women greeting each other
Photo credit: Ron Lach 

Do: Welcome your guests warmly.

Part of being a proper host involves making visitors feel comfortable when they arrive. This includes greeting them with a warm smile, a handshake, or a hug — depending on your relationship.

To kick it up a notch, you can offer to take their coat or purse and walk them to a comfortable seating area where they can settle in.

Don’t: Leave your guests waiting.

Because visitors traveled to visit you, it’s important to be respectful of their time. The best way to do this is by having everything prepared before your loved ones arrive. Here are several ways to prepare:

  • Prep food in advance.
  • Set the dinner table early.
  • Clean and tidy up.
  • Arrange seating areas.
  • Turn on some music.

Additionally, be mindful of their arrival time so that you can plan to have everything ready before they come.

Do: Communicate expectations in advance.

To make sure everyone is on the same page regarding house rules, clear communication is key. If you have specific rules for the event or your home in general — i.e. a dress code, a specific arrival time, or house rules — be sure to communicate them clearly and respectfully ahead of the event. This can help prevent any misunderstandings or awkward situations from occurring during the visit.

Don’t: Overwhelm visitors with too many rules.

While house rules are important, having too many rules and restrictions can overwhelm people. So to avoid ruining the fun, always keep it simple by concentrating only on the dealbreakers.

People at dinner
Photo credit: Nicole Michalou 

Do: Cater to dietary restrictions and preferences.

Accounting for any dietary restrictions is critical for keeping your guests safe. So before the party, ask your guests if they have any dietary restrictions or preferences, then plan your menu accordingly.

The best menu is one that can accommodate multiple dietary needs with gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. So be prepared to add a few alternative food options to the menu for everyone to enjoy.

Don’t: Assume everyone drinks alcohol.

Sure, alcohol can really get the party started, but it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone likes to drink. To ensure everyone has a good time, add a few non-alcoholic beverage options to the menu. Water, juice, soda, or even mocktails are perfect for ensuring everyone has something they can enjoy.

Do: Foster conversation and connection.

The key to a great event is engagement. And a great host knows just how to facilitate conversation and connection among their guests.

To practice good hosting etiquette, encourage your loved ones to interact by introducing guests to each other, initiating ice breakers, playing games, and creating an overall welcoming environment in which everyone feels included.

Don’t: Dominate the conversation.

A good host is a sociable host, but if you’re the only one doing most of the talking, you’ve hit a wrong turn.

So to avoid dominating the conversation, practice active listening and ask plenty of questions to give everyone a chance to contribute to the conversation.

A person writing a 'thank you' note
Photo credit: RDNE Stock project 

Do: Express gratitude and appreciation.

The best way to let your loved ones know you appreciate them is through your hospitality. Be sure to highlight your gratitude by thanking them for coming, talking to them, and expressing your appreciation for any contributions made during the party.

Don’t: Forget to follow up.

Just because the party ends, doesn’t mean the hospitality has to. To leave a lasting impression, follow up with your guests by sending a short thank-you message thanking them for coming.

Let them know that you enjoyed their company and that you look forward to seeing them again.



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