Entertaining 101

I always assume that most people have entertained, or hosted a dinner at their house. But, after talking with a good friend a few weeks ago and she proceeded to tell me she has never entertained because she doesn’t have the “tools”, I realized that it doesn’t come easy to everyone!!!

I come from a family that always has hosted parties and dinners. I think just watching my mom and grandmother, and also my mother in law I have caught on to what you need to do to host a successful party. I will also never forget when my mother in law took me to register at Hall’s in KC. I was 26, and I had NO idea the importance of all of the items she was pushing me to register for. But now, almost 16 years later I am so grateful! We still use so many of the beautiful serving pieces and glassware that we registered for so many years ago. If you go simple and timeless, it never goes out of style!

So, if you are a first time entertainer this holiday, or if you are looking to update some of your pieces I have put together a few favorites. You can get some great deals on simple white entertaining trays and dishes on Target or at Home Goods. Here is my must have list of entertaining essentials:

  1. A good set of neutral placemats and cloth napkins that you can use year round. Get a simple napkin holder too (brass or woven rattan, minimum of 8)
  2. White or neutral dishes a full set of dinner, salad, and a bowl (minimum of 8)
  3. Cheese tray and cheese knives
  4. A few white platters and bowls in different sizes. Good for a fruit tray, crackers and cheese, appetizers, pasta, salad, etc.
  5. Dessert plates (you can have fun with these, go with unique patterns or colors
  6. Glasswear (you want to have a water glass, and then red, white and champagne glass set). I may be a little particular like Dorit, lol! But it is nice to be able to serve your guests in the right glass :).
  7. Salad bowl and serving tongs
  8. Small bowls you can use for dips, or hummus, or nuts on a tray
  9. And, don’t forget FRESH FLOWERS! This is the easiest and least expensive way to dress up a table. I always get them at Trader Joe’s!

Shop a few favorites here!


Also, my favorite resources for home entertaining:

Waterleaf Home

The Avenue


Sur La Table

Home Goods




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