Hospitality Journal

“Practice hospitality.” Romans 12:13

“The heart of hospitality is about creating space for someone to feel seen and heard and loved.  It’s about declaring your table a safe zone, a place of warmth and nourishment. Part of that, then, is honoring the way God made our bodies, and feeding them in ways they need to be fed.” – Shauna Niequest in Bread and Wine

“I think preparing food and feeding people brings nourishment not only to our bodies but to our spirits. Feeding people is a way of loving them, in the same way that feeding ourselves is a way of honoring our own createdness and fragility.”  Shauna Niequest in Bittersweet

One of my biggest desires for our house is that it will be used to bless others. I’m not sure what that will look like over the years, but I long for it to be a place for people to gather, a safe haven to meet needs and bring comfort and community. One of my favorite books (and reinforcer of this desire) is Shauna Niequest’s Bread and Wine (quoted above). She paints a gorgeous picture of what life looks like when you open your messy home and invite people in.

As I’ve mentioned before, hosting doesn’t come naturally to me. The reason is easy, really: I’m afraid people won’t have a good time or things won’t be perfect or people won’t like me. Again, why I think that is silly, but there it is.

Most of that, I just need to get over. But some of these fears can be eliminated by preparing and planning head.

The first thing I do when I start to plan a party is think about what worked and didn’t work from previous events. But a lot of times the details are a little foggy. That birthday dinner — did that pasta dish have shrimp or chicken in it? Where was that recipe from? Do people respond better via email or Evite? Who did I originally invite and how many people came? 

I decided to create a hospitality journal, to help remember these events and make notes for future reference on what worked and what didn’t.

Here’s a little preview into what this journal looks like:

Hospitality journal - to keep a record of all events, parties and people staying over to reference later

First, find a journal that you can devote to record any time that you had people over, hosted a party, or had overnight guests over. Some examples of what to record, include:

Parties / Dinners:

  • Date of party
  • Invitation format – ex: word of mouth, evite, mailed invitation)
  • Menu – what the host cooked/prepared, what guests brought
  • Music – what playlist or station?
  • Who is invited and how many came
  • Decorations
  • Summary of party, highlights
  • What would you do differently?

Overnight guests:

  • Date
  • Who stayed over
  • Occasion / reason
  • Meals at home (ex: what did you keep in your fridge for snacks, breakfast, etc.)
  • Summary of overnight stay, etc.
  • What would you do differently?

Here’s an example from a dinner party I had the other day:

Excerpt from hospitality journal

Maybe it’s a little silly to have record of only parties and hosting, but I think having a guide to reference later should be VERY helpful for future events. (Also, it’s not any stranger than having a journal full of dinners.:)

Do you host a lot of events at your house? Do you have any tips for preparing for parties?