Some questions I ask myself or consider while planning for guests:
What time of day is best suitable? Do they still have napping little 'uns? Bedtimes to consider?
Are there any food allergies? And just as importantly....food likes/dislikes! I enjoy making peoples' favorite foods. Also, what did I serve last time?
I like cooking seasonal/festive foods depending on the time of year. Considering the reason for the visit, I may ask my guests to bring a dish to contribute, but more often than not I like to have them "just bring themselves".
If I'm having a baby over, is there anything that needs baby-proofing? Breakables? A staircase to block off? Do I need to bring up the highchair? Is there a quiet place to nurse or change the baby?
How much prep time do I have when it comes to entertaining? This often determines my menu and day/time of visit. It doesn't have to be complicated. A frozen pizza and a caesar salad can make a lovely dinner. Boxed brownies finish the evening off on a sweet note. Of the other hand, I've also made much more complicated menus such as a Thanksgiving Feast for 25, a birthday grill-fest complete with creme brulee for dessert, a Memorial day party with virgin mango coladas, grilled thin-cut ribeye steak, delectable grilled chicken, key lime pie, and lemon blueberry bars (all home-made of course)! If you keep meals/sides/desserts on-hand in your freezer, it's even easier to accommodate those last minute guests!
What is the reason for the visit? If some serious adult-conversation needs to take place, I'll set up a small round table for the adults within earshot of the kiddos. If we're all celebrating family-style then I'll make sure to combine a few tables so everyone can be together. If we're just casually hanging out, then the kids and adults can eat in shifts at the same table.
And after all that, I pray. That I don't get so caught up in the details that I forget about the hearts of the people that matter.