By preparing ahead, you can be free to play the good host when guests come calling

We are officially one week from wedding week. Our friends and family start getting here in a few days, and we are anxiously planning for their arrivals.

We’ll be hosting our share of houseguests, and will have a total of eight people and one dog in our home. To save our sanity, I’ve finished up all the to-dos on our wedding checklist.


For everything else, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I can’t possibly plan for it all. Last-minute, unforeseen stresses are inevitable. But, I’ve also learned that planning for things that you know you will need will make those last-minute stresses much more bearable.

Make spare keys

You don’t need to give one set to each person, but try to make enough so that at least every couple has one. I also like to color code them with nail polish.

Test air mattresses

Make sure that there are no leaks, and that they are comfortable enough that guests wouldn’t mind sleeping on them for a week. While you are at it, double-check to ensure you have enough pillows and bedding.


Empty space in closets, and add extra hangers

Give every guest at least one drawer to store their things. If you don’t have empty drawers, consider adding rollaway storage for them to put their things under the bed.

Create suitcase storage


While we don’t have a space for six extra suitcases inside our home, we do have room in our storage shed outside. To prepare, I have gotten rid of the things in there that we haven’t used since we moved in, and I’ve nested our existing suitcases inside one another.

Write notes for household tasks

You won’t always be around to answer questions, and not all guests will always ask. Create cards and place them near their point of use. Some ideas: Specify which brush is for dishes and which is for the sink, instruct how to use the alarm system and note which WiFi network and password they should use.

Stock up on groceries

No matter if you have outside meals planned in advance, there are some staples your guests will undoubtedly use: coffee, cereal, milk, snacks and bottled water.

Expect the unexpected

Have extra toothbrushes, sunblock, beach towels and headache medicine at the ready. If your guests don’t need them, you can always use them later.


Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email