We have a lot of parties at our house. It seems as if we are always entertaining. I think that this is mostly due to the fact that my husband is often inviting people over, and I pretty much just roll with it.
I have compiled a collection of essential pieces that make entertaining so much easier. I'm im favor of sticking with a palette of white or cream, clear glass, a natural material (wood or rattan), and a metallic (gold or silver). Having basic pieces in these neutral tones allow them to work in pretty much any situation. Then you can just pepper in colorful or seasonal pieces to achieve the look you desire.
This is meant to be a basic list (a jumping off point, if you will) of beginning pieces to have on hand. Let me know if I have left anything out!
1.- A clear glass pitcher. I prefer something with an elegant shape, but no color or design. This will allow it to be versatile enough to fill the need in any style of party, from a formal dinner to a casual BBQ. Clear glass will also allow the contents of the pitcher to draw the attention...anyone say Sangria?
2.- A simple white cake plate. This will handle more than just cakes. Adding varying levels to your food display is such a great way to add interest and break up a boring flat visual plane. Obviously it is a lovely way to display a cake, but, alternatively, you can load it up with stacks of cookies, hors d'oeuvres, or a cheese display.
3.-A wood cheese board and a set of cheese knives, because there is no easier way to bring some sophistication to a get-together.
4.-Linen cocktail napkins. A hemstitch linen adds a little interest without committing too much to a particular style. I would suggest white or linen/flax colored, for maximum usability.
5.-Porcelain Serving Bowl. Pastas, salads,...pasta salads, this is a definite must. One is good, two is even better.
6.- Small clear glass bowls are indispensable when you are serving sauces or dips. They are also ideal for small items such as olives, nuts, or candies.
7.-Entertaining Set of Wine Glasses. I have this exact set and I highly recommend it. It is very affordable and comes in a sturdy cardboard crate for storage. This way, even if you are having a large party, your guests will not have to sip wine out of solo cups.
8.-Set of Serving Platters. Having a few of varying sizes is particularly useful for not only accommodating different foods that may be served, but also for staging the food area and adding interest.
9.-Serving Utensils. I suggest at minimum two sets of a large spoon and fork. I feel like I am forever in need of another serving spoon at a dinner party.
10.-Clear Glass Votive Candleholders. These are super affordable and can be bought in large sets. These are such an easy and economical way to bring mood lighting to any room.