I have lived in a very popular and trendy city since college. I originally came from a neighboring state and because of this I have many friends and relatives that live within easy driving distance.
Over the years I have had many relatives and friends visit and explore the city with me. Everyone visiting is always ecstatic to see the sights. It’s a lot of fun for me to see their joy and it helps remind me how lucky I am to live here.
Most of these visits start with a friend or relative saying, “How is it down there? I’ve always heard a lot about that place. Would love to see it sometime” or me saying “Feel free to come down and visit anytime! Would love to have you!”. In other words, it’s been pretty evenly initiated over the years.
As I’m now in my 30’s, own a home and am much more established, I have struggled with my role as a hostess. When I was in college or a young adult struggling, my friends that visited me were often in the same situation and we would see my city “on the cheap”.
Now that I am more established I wonder if I should be covering all meals consumed inside and outside during the visit.
This last summer I had 18 relatives come to visit for 4 days. (It was so fun!).
Understand that a HUGE part of the appeal of my city is the cuisine. We have food that you can’t get anywhere else and restaurants that are pretty well known so often the number one thing guests request to do is go out to eat.
Since I was the one that initiated and organized this trip I felt especially obligated to provide meals. If this isn’t already overwhelming enough, I am not a great cook and my skills are pretty limited.
The way I handled this was to provide a buffet breakfast (muffins, cheese biscuits, fruit) and a sandwich spread for lunch. This worked well because I was able to purchase in bulk and use the same food for 4 days. Also, it took a LONG TIME for 18 people to get ready so people could eat as they pleased and it was usually about lunch time that we were finally ready to leave to go sight seeing, with everyone fed and happy. It wasn’t the best food spread ever but I did the best I could.
Many in the group expressed interest in going to these well known restaurants and I obliged. I made a schedule for all 4 days of our activities and planned a dinner at the end at one of the requested restaurants.
It all worked out very well but I felt somewhat guilty about not covering meals when we would go out to eat. I provided the schedule in advance of the trip (in our facebook group) and that I would be providing breakfast and lunch and then gave a range of cost for the places we were going for dinner (most were $10-15 per plate).
In doing this was I a bad hostess? There was no way I could afford to buy dinner for 60 people (us x 3 dinners) but I still wonder if it was in bad taste.
(By the way, my family, being super classy, bought me a nice hostess gift and pitched in to cover the van I rented. They were super gracious of our hospitality, so I got no complaints or comments from them about this).
My question specifically is: in the future when I have guests visit should I be prepared to pay for all meals, eating in or out? 0210-17
I’m so overwhelmed with your level of hospitality that it took me days to get over the shock. A bad hostess? More like “Goddess of Hospitality”. Your guests should be genuflecting before you, saying prayers for your long life, and speaking your name in hushed reverence.
The answer to your question depends on whether your guests take the initiative to request a restaurant dining experience. If they are staying in your home and will be eating their meals in your home, then , yes, you do have an obligation to feed them at least 2 meals a day. But if they ask to go to a famous restaurant, thus eschewing your homegrown dining hospitality, the obligation then falls to the guests to pay for their own meals.