“Southern Hospitality” is a phrase that is familiar to you whether you are from the South, live in the South, or love visiting the South. The welcoming nature of the Southern hostess has for hundreds of years been an elemental part of Southern culture, and I was lucky enough to speak with famed decorator and Virginia native Bunny Williams on the subject. As the designer for the 2015 Southern Living Idea House, Ms. Williams knows how to put together a welcoming space, and she and I talked about what “Southern hospitality” actually means, and how to be ready when people decide to drop in unannounced. Hint: it includes a really well stocked bar. For more on my interview with Bunny, as well as some photos of my following her advice at my house in Charleston, you can stop by Lacquered Life HERE.
1. Why is “Southern Hospitality” a phrase that everyone is familiar with? What characterizes “Southern Hospitality” and/or what hallmarks set it apart?
Southern Hospitality is a common phrase because so many southerners love their houses and entertaining. To me, Southern Hospitality means honoring traditions, being surrounded by big families and lots of friends, and always keeping your door open.
2. With the current national trend of people moving from the north to the south, what is one piece of advice you would give to those northern transplants living in the south about “Southern Hospitality” and being a good southern hostess?
Use your good things. Something should never be so precious that it is banished to a closet. A house is for enjoying life and sharing it with others.
3. As you mentioned in the video, the culture of the “drop in” has waned over the years. For those hosts and hostesses who want everyone to know that they’re always welcome, and to encourage people to drop by, how would you recommend they do so?
Be prepared and make entertaining seem effortless – a host should never seem stressed and should enjoy the get together with everyone else; if you can do this, guests will feel they can always drop in.
Below, Bunny Williams gives her tips on how to be ready when friends and neighbors drop in.