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By on Jun 6, 2015
7 Entertaining Essentials

As if you needed an excuse to throw a party, here's one more: this list full of unique and affordable décor that will elevate your next gathering into the perfect dinner party. It’s practically begging you to draw up a guest list and plan a menu.


1. Dinnerware

Having a quality dinnerware set is step one to hosting a successful dinner party. The first thing guests notice is the dinnerware on the table. It sets the tone for the entire meal. The good news is that you don’t have to buy two sets of dishes. This collection from Crate and Barrel will cover both everyday and formal dining gatherings. You’ll save storage space and money while enjoying your best dinnerware all the time.

You can never go wrong with white dinnerware. They're beautiful, classic, versatile and showcase food well. What we love about this porcelain dinnerware collection from designer Aaron Probyn is that everything is available in eight different colors, which allows you to mix and match for the perfect pop of accent colors. In addition, keep in mind how many pieces to purchase. While your family may only house 2-4 people, you should plan ahead for those bigger parties and gatherings. A good rule is to buy as many sets as people you can imagine hosting comfortably for dinner, with a few extra pieces in case one breaks or chips.

2. Napkins

Consider investing in cloth napkins, which are more sophisticated than paper. Plus, since they can be reused, they're more economical in the long run. We love these Sonora Cocktail Napkins from Anthropologie which add the perfect pop of color to any table scape.

Bonus: They are machine washable!

3. Flatware

When hosting a dinner party, make sure guests have the proper cutlery for everything from their appetizer bites to the main course. This stainless steel Twig Flatware Collection from World Market is wonderfully whimsical. It is the ideal way to showcase your love of the outdoors. This collection has a rustic feel as each unique handle is designed to resemble a twig. This Twig Flatware collection makes dining a little more tremendous as you can pair it easily with a formal holiday meal, or a casual picnic. Best of all, these beauties are dishwasher safe, making clean up a breeze.

4. Serveware

I love the idea of preparing and presenting food on the same piece. These Terrain Serving Boards are the perfect blend of marble and natural mango wood. We love the round cut of these boards, and the handle makes for even easier maneuvering. These are truly a timeless serving option for cheeses, sushi, and other small bites. In addition to serving, you can even incorporate these into a centerpiece on your dining room table where you place your salt and pepper shakers, along with some candles.


5. Candles

Create the perfect atmosphere by placing pillar candles in various widths and heights clustered together on a tray. For the more elegant affairs, taper candles placed throughout the dinner table will set the mood. Mole Hollow Candles are a perfect choice as they offer a vast variety of styles, sizes and colors. In fact, their colors are hand selected to have a palette for fall, winter, spring and summer. These candles are entirely handmade by craftspeople using premium materials and the same methods that have been in place since the company’s founding in 1969. I always keep a set of white taper candles around, as they will work with any dinner party.

6. Decanters

Cheers! Whether you are serving wine or whiskey, make an impression by adding some glam to your tabletop or bar with these glass decanters. They look so much more elegant than traditional wine bottles and will aerate your beverages maximizing flavors. For a unique touch, each bottle comes with a round wooden stopper that can be monogrammed with letters, short words or even icons! These bottles even come in smaller sizes perfect for oil & vinegar.

7. Photo Props

Ok, ok this is not essential, but we still love this idea. Want to make your dinner party even more deliciously fun? These cute and quirky photo props are sure to do the trick! Whether you're hosting a small dinner party or an enormous family reunion, these props are sure to be the center of attention. Say cheese!


The main takeaway: keep it simple. These essentials will truly wow your guests with minimal effort. All that’s left to do is grab a glass, take a seat and get the fiesta started. Do you have any favorite entertaining essentials? Let us know in the comments below or tweet me @whalenkristin.

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