7 Ways To Make Guests Feel Welcome

When hosting a dinner party, often the first thing on a host's mind is the comfort of their guests. True, being relaxed and having the meal all planned out matters (experts say keep it simple), but the success of your get-together lies in your guests' hands. And it's the same when hosting friends or family for a night or weekend stay.

Click here to see the 7 Ways to Make Guests Feel Welcome Slideshow.

Expecting guests? A host need not plan a jam-packed schedule or hang a welcome banner from the door to ensure that your guests feel at home — more of the opposite, in fact. Ask guests in advance about any allergies. The night of your guests' arrival, be sure to plan a home-cooked meal. They're likely to be weary from their travels, so show them their room and allow them time to relax and settle in before dinner — it will make the transition as smooth as possible for both parties.

Beyond a home-cooked meal, there are a few things to consider when preparing your home for entertaining overnight guests. Begin with the guest room. Even if it's a blow-up mattress in your at-home office, stack some thoughtfully-chosen magazines or books by the bedside for before bedtime reading. Some hosts will even spend a night in the room, before the guests arrive, to check that everything is in place, like making sure the bed is comfortable and there is an alarm clock (albeit silenced!) on the table.

As days full of outdoor activities and nights likely filled with multiple cocktails are sure to leave anyone thirsty, be sure to set out a carafe and water glass (or two) in the bedroom in case guests awake in the middle of the night. Because no one wants to mistake the thirsty guest rustling through cupboards in the kitchen for a water glass for a burglar. (That would really scare away friends — and keep them from ever returning.) That goes for the fridge, too. Stock it with grab-and-go snacks and drinks that guests can feel comfortable helping themselves to without fear of eating the next day's lunch. Or, better yet, set out a basket or tray filled with fruit and snacks that busy guests can grab on their own — whether it's a pre-bed piece of chocolate or a banana between the afternoon hike and swim in the lake.

Now that fall is here, the time of tailgates, harvest-themed dinner parties, and weekend trips to the pumpkin patch (or your student at college) has arrived. But before welcoming those weekend guests into your home, ensure their comfort by addressing these creature comforts. It will make all the difference in the world.

Click here to see the 7 Ways to Make Guests Feel Welcome Slideshow.