Surprisingly Simple Hospitality Etiquette for In-Home Entertaining

Home entertaining is a wonderful way to bring people together, whether they’re friends and family members or work colleagues. Entertaining guests at your home can save you time and money compared to the cost and effort of renting a venue or meeting up at a restaurant. It also gives you the chance to show off your home and brush up on your hospitality skills! Many of our clients hire us because the thought of serving a large party at home stresses them out. We’re happy to take that stress off the table! So while you leave the cooking and cleaning to us, here are some home entertaining etiquette tips to help make your next event a success.


Although some events and get-togethers can be spontaneous and planned last-minute, it's a good idea to send out event invitations at least two weeks in advance if you know you want to have a gathering. Know your audience and use the type of invitation they are most likely to respond to, whether that's Evite or snail mail. Along with the usual details (date, time, and location), be sure to specify what you'd like guests to bring or not bring (food, drinks, gifts) and ask if they have any special needs or dietary restrictions. You might also want to include or imply a dress code. Setting clear expectations and providing and gathering all the event details in advance helps everyone feel prepared and comfortable when event day arrives.

If you are on the receiving end of an event invitation, please respond promptly to your host on if you can or cannot attend and let them know at least two days in advance if your RSVP changes. Hosts and hostesses go to great lengths to prepare their home and their food in anticipation of welcoming guests.


Before your event, call on the Honest to Goodness team to plan your menu. We’re happy to incorporate your concepts and accommodate dietary needs and requests you and your guests may have. Your personal chef will then do the shopping and arrive at your home to begin cooking. While that happens, you can prepare your home for your visitors. Set the table and/or ensure that there is enough seating and there are comfortable gathering spaces in the areas of your home you’re making available for the party. In addition to the usual tidying tasks, a fresh hand towel and a candle in the bathroom can make the occasion feel special. If you’re pressed for time, remember that clear horizontal space can create the illusion of tidiness even when your space is less than spotless.

Greeting & Grub

When your guests arrive, we’ll be cooking so you will be available to greet them! Offer to take guests’ coats or bags, or show them where they can put them. A welcome drink and snack can help them feel at home right away, so talk to your personal chef about incorporating these into your menu. Our clients often hear from guests that one of the highlights of having us prepare the food for their home entertaining event is seeing it happen before their eyes. So if your home allows for it, make the kitchen an accessible area for your guests. When dinner (or breakfast, brunch, or anything in between) is ready, your chef will do the serving so you can focus on enjoying the company and the food.


An important part of your duties as host is to help keep the conversation flowing. Introduce guests who don’t know each other with tidbits they might have in common to help them spark up a chat. Party games can keep things lively and fun for a group who already knows each other. In the right setting, communal conversation starters can keep everyone engaged as well. Once your guests are gabbing, sit back and enjoy – don’t feel like you need to interject or entertain them constantly, unless the need arises.


As your event begins to wind down, your Honest to Goodness personal chef will get to work on the cleanup! We’ll clear the table, run the dishwasher, and leave your kitchen cleaner than we found it. If there are any leftovers, we’ll pack them away in your fridge as well. Meanwhile, you can say goodbye to your guests and make sure they are safe to drive home (or call them a ride, if not).

In-home entertaining doesn’t have to be stressful. With the right preparation, some hospitality etiquette, and the right support from an Honest to Goodness personal chef, it can be as fun for you as it is for your guests. Together, we can ensure that everyone has a memorable and enjoyable experience.

Learn more about our home entertaining options here and contact us to hire a personal chef for your next in-home entertaining event!!