Entertaining should be fun, easy, and fuss-free for everyone involved, including the hostess (that’s you!). The secret to stressing less: planning ahead. With these little luxuries and life-savers, your guests will appreciate the effort you’ve put in.
Whether you are putting together a wedding registry or are starting to acquire pieces on your own, we’ve assembled a list of entertaining essentials for the beginner hostess – but really, this is a great guide for anyone who hosts guests occasionally.
A set that serves 12 is probably enough for dinner parties and family gatherings. If you have a small household but enjoy entertaining, consider adding a caterer’s boxed set of extra dishes that you can pull out as needed.
You’ll need at least one or two serving pieces if you plan to have a group of friends or family over for dinner. As you become more and more comfortable in your hostess role, you might find that you’ll want to add to your serving piece collection.
While they do require a bit more care and maintenance, you can really up the elegance factor of any gathering with some lovely linen napkins. To start, aim to have 8-12 napkins in one color or pattern.
If you are limited on space or have no reason to have the endless collection of glasses for every. single. beverage. ever made, stemless glasses are the perfect, universal drinkware for water and wine.
This is something you might already have in your kitchen drawer, but if not, you’ll want to make sure you have at least one matching set of flatware. You should have at least one set flatware that you feel good about displaying on your table in front of guests.
Glass carafes are ideal for serving ice water, juice or wine at the table. And if you pick a lidded version, you can easily pop the bottle in the fridge after your meal.
If you’re using candles on your dinner table, choose candles without a scent, so they don’t interfere with your dining experience. They’re key to creating the right mood for a gathering around the holidays.
If you don’t have or are not using a tablecloth, then coasters are a must. They’re important to have on hand for cocktail parties or more casual gatherings.
Along with candles, fresh flowers are another easy way to instantly bring a level of chic sophistication to your gatherings. You’ll need a vase or two to hold your flower arrangements.
It may not seem like an essential at first glance, but once you own a cake stand you might be surprised at how often it gets called into service. In between occasions, a cake plate is a pretty way to hold fresh fruit on the kitchen counter.
Building up a fully stocked arsenal of kitchen and entertaining pieces is a process for most of us. It’s easy to see a beautifully styled table or party and lust after fancy plates; patterned napkins; and colorful, rimmed glasses. But if you only entertain occasionally or are just starting to build up your collection, it’s wiser to stick to practical, universal staples.