You've just received an invitation to the cottage and you're counting the days to lakeside bliss, a much-needed retreat from the daily grind and a good dose of peace and quiet. As a guest, you might want to consider a few dos and donts, or you might never get the invite again! Before you head out to the cottage, consider the following tips and advice.
Clarify exactly when and for how long you've been invited to stay. If your hosts are planning a casual BBQ on Friday night, then don't stick around until Sunday brunch. Your hosts might have other plans, other guests arriving, or simply want to treat the rest of the weekend as a romantic getaway for two.
Find out roughly what's on the menu and, if the invite is overnight, inquire about sleeping arrangements. That way you can plan to bring along some extra supplies such as food, coolers, towels and bedroom linens to ensure everyone's stay is comfy, and clean. You might also want to consider bringing CDs, board games, a soccer ball or a book so there are extra activities for guests, and yourself.
The cottage is a great place to relax and unwind, so make everyone's stay as stress-free as possible. Do whatever you can to help out, even if that means improvising as sous chef, setting the table, chopping wood, or taking the garbage out. Appreciate you're the guest and act accordingly to ensure a spot at the next soiree.
Help to keep the cottage clean, as your hosts probably won't appreciate picking up after you. That's what they do for children. So if you take a shower, don't leave toiletries strewn across the bathroom counter; if you make a snack for yourself wash your dishes. If the cottage rule is no shoes inside, then don't break it.
Bring something that says thanks. If you've got the time, bake some cookies or other tasty dessert, but if you're in a rush then bring a nice bottle of wine for dinner. Find out about your hosts' latest décor project and bring something you think would fit the theme.
Don't Surprise Your Hosts
Don't show up unannounced, and with 10 friends in tow. If you want to bring a friend or two then call and find out if that's okay. Surprise guests aren't accounted for, and this can put hosts on the spot resulting in an uncomfortable evening for all.
Don't Plan a Packed Weekend
Don't assume your hosts and other guests want to go on that three-hour bike excursion, or swim a kilometre or two. If you're antsy, do your own thing and don't whine about being bored at the cottage.
Don't Waste Water
If you're staying the weekend, and there are a few other bodies as well, then don't take those lavish half-hour showers, or do your laundry for that matter.
Don't Move In
Don't hog the food or the space. It's one thing to get cozy, but it's quite another to take over. Be respectful of people's space. If the chocolate pudding is for dessert, then don't eat it for lunch! If you've brought a lot of gear, then store it in an inconspicuous spot.
Don't Drink Too Much
No matter the party's size, it's never fun when guests get too drunk, too obnoxious, or insufferable. If you're going to drink, then set some boundaries. Don't over do it mid-day when you're supposed to be helping out with dinner, or heading out for a planned excursion.