Summer is the season for entertaining – especially at the cottage! The key to enjoying entertaining is to prepare ahead.
We suggest starting with the bedroom as it can be prepared in advance. Make up the bed with clean linens. Iron the pillow cases and top edge of the top sheet for a clean crisp look. Put a small water jug and glass on the bedside table. Ensure there is at least one empty drawer in the dresser and some free hangers in the closet so your guests can unpack. Put a magazine or book on the bedside table.
To avoid having to run back and forth to the grocery store, plan all the meals ahead of time including any side dishes, vegetables and fruit. Write the menu down so all you need to do is refer to it each night in preparation for the next day. Try to include some items that can be made ahead of time and frozen to save you from spending all your time in the kitchen. For example, marinate meat and then freeze it, casseroles are good to just pop in the oven and reheat especially if you have been out all day, baked goods like cookies or muffins, etc. Just make sure you remember to take them out of the freezer in time!! Don’t forget to stock up on wine and beer as well.
Clean the bathroom the day before your guests are due to arrive. Make sure the shower is stocked with shampoo and shower gel. If you prefer to use a bar of soap then we recommend you put a new bar of soap out with your guest’s towels. Put clean towels on the bed – this way your guests know which ones are for them. If you have small children make sure you check the bathroom just before arrival time in case of any accidents.
On the day your guests are due to arrive, fluff the pillows on the bed and spritz the linens and towels with linen spray. Fill the jug by the bed with fresh water.
When your guests arrive show them to their room and point out which drawers they can use to unpack. Show them where the bathroom is and where to find amenities like a hair dryer and extra toilet paper. Before your guests retire for the night show them where to find cereal and coffee so they can get up and help themselves in the morning – especially if you are a late sleeper!
Tiffany & Co’s recent advertisement in the Globe and Mail included the following verse:
A Good Guest
Arrives slightly late. And leaves on time.
A good guest brings energy and charm and a small present.
A dinner guest engages the person on his right and his left.
A party guest mingles and meets everyone.
A house guest is self-sufficient, not needing constant entertainment.
All good guests write thank you notes.
Very good guests also call the next day.