I Love to Host Dinner Parties —These Are the 12 Entertaining Essentials I Swear By
Before moving to the West Coast almost two years ago, I lived in a teeny, tiny studio apartment in Manhattan. Square footage was at a premium, so — with the exception of hosting my best friends over for a chill night of takeout — I'd spend my free time checking out cool restaurants, discovering new speakeasies, and exploring the city. (You know, anything to not be cooped up in my shoebox space.)
But when my now-fiancé and I moved to San Francisco, we were blessed with way more space — and even a formal dining room. So we wanted to show off our new digs with an intimate dinner party. Fast forward two years, and dinner parties have become a regular part of our social calendar. (And, not to toot our own horns, but I think we're pretty good hosts, too.)
As rooftop bars and beach trips fade away, you might be itching to flex your entertaining muscle this fall. But how? I've got you covered. To help you become the host with the most, I'm sharing my go-to entertaining essentials. (Don't worry, you've got this!)
Light My Fire: Hearth & Hand With Magnolia Harvest Spice 5-Wick Speckled Ceramic Fall Candle
I firmly believe that a good candle can elevate your space, and this Hearth & Hand With Magnolia Harvest Spice 5-Wick Speckled Ceramic Fall Candle ($35) is no exception. Not only is the spicy aroma super cozy, but it also has five wicks, which means the scent will travel far. (Pro tip: Light your candle well before your guests arrive. That way, your home will smell amazing by the time the party starts.)
Batched Beverages: Opalhouse Plastic Wave Texture Beverage Dispenser
My fiancé is a cocktail connoisseur, so he always welcomes our friends with tasty beverages. To cut down on time, he'll batch cocktails in something like this Opalhouse Plastic Wave Texture Beverage Dispenser ($15). When our guests arrive, he can readily pour and serve.
Keep It Cheesy: Threshold Marble Round Cutting Board
Is it even a dinner party if you don't have a cheese board? Pick up this Threshold Marble Round Cutting Board ($25), and load on the charcuterie. Decked out with a cool, round shape, this marble pick will look just as good as your smattering of brie, gouda, and asiago.
Turn It Up: Google Nest Audio Smart Speaker
You know it's party time in our house when my fiancé puts on some great music. (FYI, we're really digging bossa nova.) And if I have to do any last-minute cooking while guests are here, I'll head into the kitchen and put on a podcast. This Google Nest Audio Smart Speaker ($100) does everything from play music and podcasts to set timers, making it a dinner-party must have.
Beautiful Bowls: Made by Design Glass Mixing Bowls
I became obsessed with cooking during the pandemic, and I love to share my favorite recipes with my friends. Once I'm done cooking, I'll throw our meal in these Made by Design Glass Mixing Bowls ($23). With 10 sizes to choose from, there's something for side, sauce, and entrée. Plus, the cohesive style makes our dining room table look classy.
Chill Out: Whirlpool 33 Bottle Wine Fridge
"Be prepared" might be the Scouts' motto, but I think it also applies to hosting. Once dinner is ready, we love to uncork a bottle of wine and toast our wonderful guests. And thanks to this Whirlpool 33 Bottle Wine Fridge ($280), we have our white, rosé, and sparkling wines prechilled. And if our guests are having a great time and want to keep the party going, we can always uncork another bottle. (Psst . . . you can read more about how great this wine fridge is here.)
Raise a Glass: Threshold Plastic Stemmed Wine Glass
Of course, it's also a good idea to have some great wine glasses on hand. The Threshold Plastic Stemmed Wine Glass ($3) is made with BPA-free, shatter-proof plastic, so you won't have to worry about accidentally breaking a glass. (The ultimate party foul!)
Pretty Plates: Hearth & Hand With Magnolia Stoneware Dinnerware
If you're going to invite friends over for dinner, trade in the disposable paper plates for something more elevated. Fortunately, this Hearth & Hand With Magnolia Stoneware Dinnerware ($4-$16) is undeniably chic but won't cost you a small fortune.
Flower Power: Project 62 Round Textured Ceramic Vase
I'll find any excuse to treat myself to a batch of bodega flowers. To give my dining room table a photo-ready edge, I'll place my flowers in a cool canister, like this Project 62 Round Textured Ceramic Vase ($20).
Dress Up Your Dining Room: Hearth & Hand With Magnolia Multistripe Tablecloth
In my opinion, this Hearth & Hand With Magnolia Multistripe Tablecloth ($25) is the gift that keeps on giving. This cool, striped pattern will dress up your space — but doesn't feel over-the-top. Plus, having a tablecloth will keep your dining table from getting covered in water rings and wine stains. Though we now use a tablecloth religiously, this is the one hosting hack I wish I'd adopted sooner.
Sleek Silverware: Project 62 Narrow Kosta Stainless Steel Silverware Set
Psst . . . the same goes for your forks, knives, and spoons. Fortunately, this Project 62 Narrow Kosta Stainless Steel Silverware Set ($35) is practical and pretty but not penny-pinching.
Bottoms Up: Prodyne Fruit Infusion Pitcher
My fiancé and I always want to keep our friends hydrated and happy, so I'll fill up this Prodyne Fruit Infusion Pitcher ($20) will some H20. I usually add dried flowers to our water pitcher, but you can also incorporate lemons, limes, or strawberries.