It’s hard to believe the day with a white dress was more than two years ago.

There are many great things I remember. Most are set in slightly hazy, slow motion montage to a sound track of Stevie Wonder and Ben Harper.

Ducking in for a nervous trip to the toilet just before dashing down the aisle. Trays of peking duck pancakes. Rivers of pink wine; including one glass which went all the way down the front of my dress after an exuberant hand gesture. Picking at ocean trout with almond tarator. Riedel glasses smashing. High heel shoes piled in cairns at the corner of a dance floor.

One memory that pops up with an audio track of its own is a reading done by a dear friend, currently residing the other side of the world (and offering fantastic bespoke art tours of London)

Let us be guests in one another’s house
With deferential “no” and courteous “yes”;
Let us take care to hide our foolish moods
Behind a certain show of cheerfulness.

Let us avoid all sullen silences;
We should find fresh and sprightly things to say;
I must be fearful lest you find me dull,
And you must dread to bore me anyway.

Let us knock gently at each other’s heart,
Glad of a chance to look within–and yet,
Let us remember that to force one’s way
Is the unpardoned breach of etiquette.

So, shall I be host–you, the hostess,
Until all need for entertainment ends;
We shall be lovers when the last door shuts
But what is better still–we shall be friends.

(Carol Haynes, Any husband or wife)

Two years on, I say with such certainty. You’d be hard pressed to find a better host than The Hungry One.

For some it’s a trial, for others it’s a drain. Sometimes when you arrive at someone’s home you can feel the strain on the relationship as you walk in the door. You can almost taste it in the food.

But hosting in our home is something that comes so naturally to him.

As the years go on I realise it’s one of the things I love most.

So, here’s five golden hosting rules I’ve gradually absorbed over time from watching The Hungry One. They may seem rudimentary, but together, they just make everything flow.

1) Pants on.

Be ready when your guests arrive. That means everything from having music cued, to not having your washing drying in the living room, and most importantly not being upstairs having a nap when the doorbell goes.

2) 30 second rule.

People relax when they’ve got a drink. It’s not just ex smokers who need something to do with their hands. If you can get a beverage into someone’s hot paw within 30 seconds of them arriving, everything else will flow from there.

3) Nibbles cued.

Have something set out to nibble on when people arrive. It could be some cheese, some edamame with salt, or just some nuts- but it helps to set a mis en scene of; come in, take of your shoes. Relax. Then it doesn’t matter if the roast needs another 40 minutes or four hours to cook and rest.

4) Soft options.

Have a non alcoholic beverage choice that’s in tune with the booze. If you’re making cocktails, have a mocktail version on hand. If you’re serving champagne, then serve sparkling water in champagne flutes. Not being able to drink can be sad. Having only tap water to drink just rubs salt in the wound.

5) Clean up as we go.

There’s an art that The Hungry One’s developed to cleaning and washing up over the course of the night, while still maintaining pithy conversation. There are so many plus sides to this. It means there’s not a looming pile of filth for people to feel guilty about when they leave. It also means you never wake up feeling dusty and have to face the soggy ghost of last night’s reverie. It’s the key to everything. I’ve even developed a song to accompany it.

It’s all so seamless that it’s taken two years of marriage, and more than seven years of us being together for me to really realise how he pulls it all together.

Often when it comes to entertaining it’s the person pulling things out of the kitchen that gets most of the kudos.

When really, hosting is such a team effort. And like so many things, it’s one where The Hungry One does most of the heavy lifting.

Thanks for another lovely year darling.