Every good Southern host should be ready for company–the expected or unexpected.
Entertaining Punch Bowl
Credit: Becky Luigart Stayner

Southerners love to visit with one another. Here's everything you need to know to be ready for expected or unexpected company. Trust us, it would be a sin to ignore these subtle suggestions.

1. Thou shall always be ready to feed a small flotilla of drop in visitors. You can never have enough: Carr's Table Water Crackers, pepper jelly (to spiff up cream cheese), and pimento cheese. Extra points if you have appetizers ready for the oven in the freezer at all times.

2. Thou shall be ready for both on and off the wagon visitors – also known as children and adults. Keep waters, iced tea or lemonade on hand along with alcoholic beverages. Tip: buy wine by the case and liquor by the handle. Unlike your farmer's market haul, it won't go bad.

3. Thou shall welcome everyone graciously no matter if they were actually invited. Learn to say "The more the merrier" on autopilot.

4. Thou shall be a good conversationalist and always inquire with genuine interest about important people and events in your guests lives. Also, make sure you can speak easily about current events (read the news).

5. Thou shall put the comforts of my guests above all else and give them a seat, ask if they are hot or cold, and keep their cup runneth over with refreshment.

6. Thou house will smell fresh as a garden with either flower arrangements or a great smelling candle.

7. Thou shall not talk about how much work went into getting this gathering together. Your company won't really enjoy themselves if you make them feel guilty that you had to straighten the house or make an extra trip to the grocery.

8. Thou shall keep an orderly house – or at least have a plan to pull it together quickly. Fluff the pillows. Stash away clutter and dirty dishes. Clear out large dust bunnies.

9. Thou shall prep the powder room with monogrammed hand towels and an adequate supply of toilet paper in there.

10. Thou shall see company out properly. Don't close your door on them until they are packed into their car and it has been started. Also, be sure that they can drive safely. If not, call them an Uber.