I just got off the phone with my brother. I called him to confirm our Civic holiday weekend plans. He and his wife, will be joining my fiancé and I, at our newly purchased cottage on the lake.
This will be our first time hosting big bro and his bride of 3 years. They usually host all family gatherings and are amazing at it!
My sister-in-law is the Canadian Martha Stewart. I feel overwhelmed and stuck. Where do I start?
When hosting weekend guests the key to success is simple: 'Imitate hotels.'
Hotels are known for exceeding expectations and they do so by anticipating your needs before you even think about them.
Of course, the basics are fresh crisp linen, clean quarters and bathroom.
In addition here are seven guidelines to make all your guests, family and friends alike, feel like they are staying at the Ritz.
1. Prep them before they get to you
Inform your guests of the weekend's activities so may they may plan out their wardrobe and bring along all their necessities for participating in the fun.
Agree on an arrival and departure times.
Inquire, or confirm, food and other allergies to offer a safe and comfortable stay for all.
2. On the freshly made bed
Place an assortment of towels: face, hand and bath, in a neat pile (you could even wrap them in a fabric bow) or in a basket.
Add a throw or blanket, to cozy up chillier guests and extra pillows for comfort.
Write a note to welcome your guests, state the upcoming weather forecast, explain the room's techno (TV , alarm clock and internet access code) and provide an agenda of the weekend's activities.
Delight your sister-in-law with a couple of fancy chocolates. You could even sweeten her up with a small assortment of her favorite treats.
3. On top of the night table
At minimum, have a lamp, a box of tissue and a plastic (safer than glass) glass.
A battery powered alarm clock with a touch light and large numbers, to facilitate an easy read without glasses, will be appreciated by visiting sleepers even when there is a power failure.
4. In your storage spaces
In the closet, make room for at least five free hangers. If it is not possible, add a clothes tree, a clothes rack on wheels or hooks, that slide on top of the door.
Empty out a drawer or two and line it with scented paper or a sheet of fabric softener.
5. In a basket or on a bed tray
To occupy guests that are in quest of quiet time activities, place: a few magazines, a book or pamphlet of your region's history and culture. A game booklet such as Sudoku, a coloring book with crayons, paper, pen and televions/radio earphones will also be welcomed by insomnia sufferers.
6. In the bathroom
A nightlight is a safe addition to guide guests in the dark.
To maintain cleanliness for all, have disposable cleaning wipes well in sight.
To fill the void of forgotten toiletries, make an emergency kit available to your guests: soap, toothbrush, mouthwash, hairdryer, manicure set, cotton balls and swabs, mini sewing kit and shoe shine sponge.
7. When your guests arrive
Give them a tour of your home and kitchen including morning staples. Tell them to feel free to help themselves to food, drink and to ask you if they need anything else.
If you have house rules like where to leave footwear or not letting your dog out, share them at this time.
At a cottage on the lake the rules may include safe water practices, like where the safety vests are kept and the depth of the water.
Lastly, remember that face time is better than screen time.
Enjoy making memories with your brother and his wife by being a polite host and saying goodbye to your computer and phone screens for the next three days. The only screen exception this weekend, should be sitting in front of the tube to cheer on our Canadian athletes making 2012 London Olympic memories.