My mom grew up in Helena, Arkansas, where southern hospitality is more than just a baked good, a warm smile or a friendly hug. It’s a way of life. My mama got it from her mama and so on and so forth. Even though I’ve lived all over the world, this certain southern charm resides in my bones as well… it just needed some greasing up again when I moved back to Arkansas. I’ll never forget our first few weeks here when our neighbors brought over casseroles, breads and port wines.
“Do you know these people already?!” my Aussie husband asked.
“No, that’s just what you do here. You’ll learn.” I replied. And learn, he did! After all, it doesn’t get much more southern than growing up in the southern hemisphere 😉
Thankfully, I’ve picked up a few tips from my mom along the way, especially this month as we hosted friends at our homes. Here’s a few to put in your back pocket as we head into the best season of the year!
- Bring your casserole dish to the caterer ahead of time so the food can be served neatly in your own dish.
We’re starting off strong since this is one of my FAVORITE tips to share. We hosted a few friends in Little Rock earlier this month, and my mom had dinner for everyone at her house on Friday night. She had a few dishes catered that evening, and someone asked how she was able to transfer the scalloped potatoes into her casserole dish so perfectly from the caterer’s aluminum pan. Turns out she dropped off her Le Creuset with the caterer beforehand so they could make it inside, thus being able to be served in a neat manner.
- Add fresh flowers in all guest rooms.
This is an oldie but a goodie 🙂 I’ve watched my mom do this for years and listened to guests rave about the gesture. Fresh flowers create a warm, welcoming and cheerful space for those out-of-towners.
- Linen spray on pillows so when guests turn down the covers, it smells heavenly.
Talk about a hit to the senses. This one packs a punch for anyone who is about to turn down the covers in your guest bed. Benefits to linen sprays include relieving stress, improving your mood and helping you fall asleep faster.
- Place a carafe of water and glass at their bedside.
It’s something so simple but so appreciated! I always have a glass of water by my bed every single night. Don’t make your guests stumble to the kitchen at 1am. Instead, quench their thirst with a water carafe and glass set mere inches away.
- Invest in hotel-worthy linens, pillows and toiletries.
They don’t have to break the bank, but comfort is key especially when you’re sleeping somewhere other than your own room. It can be tough to get used to others pillows, mattress and sheets…so help make their trip worthwhile. Guests always rave about our Avocado mattress, Brooklinen sheets and towels, and Boll & Branch or The Pillow Bar pillows. I’d highly suggest just about anything from these brands!
- Ask about any dietary restrictions and favorite foods/drinks in advance.
It would be a shame to spend money, time and energy cooking a certain dish for a group of people and then come to find out… they’re allergic, vegetarian, vegan etc. Send a simple text ahead of time asking about any restrictions and while you’re at it, favorite foods, snacks and drinks to make them feel right at home.
- Have baked goods on the counter for easy access to snacks for something homey.
If you know what I’m about to suggest, you know me well. I highly suggest my banana bread recipe ahead of any guest’s arrival. Make it as-is, turn it vegan, whatever. It’s something that can always be out on the counter for them to grab, curbing any hunger pains or simply putting them in a good mood because what baked good doesn’t!?
- Show guests where the thermostat is if applicable.
The first thing I do when I walk into a hotel room is notice the temperature and look for the thermostat. I like to sleep on the cooler side. Knowing this, I always point out the thermostat to our guests when they come over so they can make themselves comfortable.
- Be present!
Get off your phone and enjoy being with your company! It’s not every day that they come over so soak up the good times. Remember that other people can feed off our energy so relax, smile and go in for the hug.