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Article: How to Help Guests Linger Around the Table

How to Help Guests Linger Around the Table
How-To Guide

How to Help Guests Linger Around the Table

The Table Is Where Memories Are Made 

Picture your most memorable gathering and ask yourself, why was it so special? Was it the delicious food, festive music, or maybe the conversations you had around the table? One of the most meaningful parts of any gathering is often the time spent re-connecting with friends and family. 
 
Lingering around the table is where memories are made and reminds guests that they are welcome in your home. We’re here to share a few ways to encourage guests to linger a little longer after dinner and enjoy the company surrounding them. 

 
A few ways to encourage guests to linger: 
  • Wait to clean  

  • Serve dessert and post-dinner cocktails or wine 

  • Ask a thoughtful question or tell a story  

 

Delay Clean-Up 

There is nothing worse than being invited to a dinner party and watching the host immediately get up to begin cleaning and gathering dishes after the meal. Try to clean as you cook to get a head start, then always, always, always save the rest for after guests leave. It may seem not bothersome to you, but your guests are paying attention and once you begin clean-up, it could imply that you want them to leave.  
 
If you feel you simply must clear the table, assign one or two people to help you grab dinnerware to scrape and stack in the sink (but that’s it!) and then make your way back to the table with dessert in hand. 
 
A great way to make clean-up a breeze and speed up the overall process is by stocking up on a few food storage containers to make sure you have enough for leftovers. Our favorites are these restaurant containers that can be easily stacked in the fridge for optimal storage...you’ll thank yourself later for this one! You can even buy them in bulk, and they’re inexpensive enough to send leftovers home with guests without having the inconvenience of returning dishes to their owner. Or if you prefer glass over plastic, another favorite of ours are these glass jars that come with a tight-fitting lid to ensure everything stays fresh!  

 

Serve Dessert 

A sweet treat to complete a delicious meal is always a good idea at any gathering. Serving a dessert alongside a signature cocktail or wine is a fun way to prolong the evening and remind guests that they are welcome to stay longer.  
 
As you prepare to serve dessert, make sure you have everything you need on hand or nearby. We always recommend having dessert plates at the ready and silverware passed right after dinner. Once your guests see the next course being served, they are sure to remain around the table for the next round of delicious food.  

Serve the sweet treat family-style or plated and place a few additional bottles of wine within reach so guests can top off their glasses. Another thoughtful complement to dessert is offering coffee or espresso – make sure your cream and sugar sets are readily available as well!  

 

Get the Conversation Started  

Even though dinner has wrapped up and dessert is being served, don’t let this moment lead to an opportunity for guests to feel like the gathering is coming to a close. Instead, cue up a conversation starter and encourage everyone to mingle a little longer.  

 

Fun Ideas: 

  • Tell a story  

  • Ask a question or play a game  

  • Ask every to take a personality test ahead of time and reveal the results 

 

Tell a Fun Story 

A great story always keeps everyone around the table. There is nothing better than laughing and reminiscing over an old memory with a group of longtime friends and family. A fun and engaging way to get your guests involved is to ask them to prepare two truths and a lie to discuss at dinner. It may sound cheesy, but this is a great way to learn something new and maybe entice additional storytelling!  

 

What is a personality test? 

A personality test is a questionnaire that allows people to better understand their overall mindset and motivations in life. One of our favorites that has been a tried-and-true conversation starter is the Enneagram test. This personality assessment is a system made up of nine unique personality types that people can relate to based on their motivations, fears, and ways of communicating.  
 
Everyone in our family as well as the entire Coton Colors crew has participated in the Enneagram, and it quickly became a fun and interactive way for each of us to learn a bit more about each other.  
 
This can be a great way to not only learn more about your guests but allows them to discover commonalities they have with others! 

 

 

By now, you probably know that gathering and celebrating with others is something we love to do. There is nothing better than bringing together old friends and loved ones for an evening to relax over a shared meal. While entertaining isn’t effortless, it’s moments like these that make the little bit of extra work worth it. 
 
The next time you gather, focus on ways to prolong the celebration and create lasting memories. Thanksgiving is next week, go ahead and jot down a few of these ideas for the big feast and let us know how the evening unfolded!  
 

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