My 10-Minute Entertaining Countdown

I looked at the clock … 10 minutes.

Our guests were coming in 10 minutes …

What do you do the last 10 minutes before your guests arrive?

I know hostesses take advantage of this time in various ways. It really is the 10 minute countdown for me … what essential things need to get done, what’s the best way to spend my time?

Considering that the food is ready, table is set, I think there’s nothing so essential to your composure as having the final 10 minutes for a last-minute survey of yourself, the house, and preparation for the party.

Taken from Dorothy Draper’s book, Entertaining is Fun! (written in 1941) I thought her list, compared to mine 72 years later, would be fun to share on RE today.

And here’s my list, the things that I quickly run through my mind, that keep me on track, and I find important:

My 10-Minute Entertaining Countdown

1. Entry way inviting.
2. Music on.
3. Drinks and appetizers out.
4. One bathroom clean.
5. Candles lit.
6. Counters wiped off.
7. Food prep work done.
8. Serving utensils and platters out.
9. Dressed with clothes I like, hair combed, lipstick on.
10. Attitude adjusted and ready to give and love others.

Entertaining has changed a lot in the last 60-70 years. It’s more casual now, simplified, and maybe a bit cozier.

I will admit, the last 10 minutes sometimes are a scramble for me. It’s not always calm, and often I’m doing 3 things at the same time.

But … when the guests walk in the door, I’m ready.

And if I’m not, I just ask for help. For example, I often ask the guests to pour the water into the water glasses.

What’s important to you to get done the last 10 minutes before your guests arrive?

(Top photo, I’m wearing a Hip Hostess apron.:) )

19 comments on “My 10-Minute Entertaining Countdown”

  1. Pingback: Marinated Cornish Game Hens Recipe | Reluctant Entertainer I Sandy Coughlin - Lifestyle, Entertaining, Food, Recipes, Hospitality and Gardening

  2. I love this list and that you have attitude adjusted in there. It’s a great reminder to not let the stress of getting prepared transfer to your guests.

  3. Love reading both lists Sandy. Mine is similar to yours–#10 is crucial because I’m usually a tad stressed before a large group comes over.

  4. I’m always down to the wire when we have guests coming over. Maybe this list will help out next time!

  5. I love that Dorothy Draper list!! In that last 10 minutes…I always hope that I have it together enough to actually pour myself a drink and simply sit down and wait for guests to arrive.

  6. In the last ten minutes, I pour myself a drink and savor it as it will most likely be the only drink I enjoy for the rest of the evening. I remind myself that nothing else matters but that my guests find comfort in my home.

  7. Sandy,
    I have two questions for you.
    Do you meet your guests with an open door or do you wait until the door bell is rung?
    At the end of the evening do you walk your guest to the gate or car?

  8. Ah! I loved this. Bookmarking for future reference.

  9. Love these tips, so smart! I always want to make everyone feel warm and welcome in my home.

  10. Always love your tips and healthy reminders for entertaining. I always have to stop to remember to get #9 done in time. Not good to be caught otherwise. ;)

  11. I love this. Especially having 1 bathroom clean. Fun post!

  12. Ha! Somehow I always forget the piano, ashtrays, and foreign magazines. Think I’ll stick to your list, especially the clean bathroom. I’m a bit OCD about that.

  13. Love your list. In the last ten minutes–with the fireplace already bright, food out, and visible areas clean–I just go around the guest-visible areas and light the candles. It calms me and switches my mind from the “chaotic last-minute preparations” station to your #10 (my favorite)

  14. Love #10 — great list overall too. Happy New Year!

  15. Thank goodness we can go with your list and not the one from 1941! My list is much like yours. It seems with a house full of men….I always feel nervous about the bathrooms. Usually I get the front bathroom clean and ban them from it. Probably shouldn’t share that but it’s true.

  16. How cute is your apron? Adorable! I love this post. My list of things to do in the last 10 minutes is pretty much the same as your list. The number one thing is to put a big smile on your face when the doorbell rings and warmly welcome your guests into your home. They will never know how frazzled you have been the last 10 minutes! ;-)

  17. Honestly #10 is probably the big one for me…people can always forgive a dirty bathroom or messy counters, but the attitude is the thing that really sets the tone for entertaining!

  18. Last month gave many opportunities for entertaining…. and I loved working backwards. Meaning my list started with the guests’ arrival time. I scheduled time to sit and relax before they arrived. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. But my lesson learned was that I felt SO much better throughout the evening when I had taken that time. PS ~ Love the apron. :)

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