I’m sure each of us has fancied ourselves the Martha Stewart type at one time or another – you know, ever prepared to whip up a Pinterest perfect last-minute dinner party on a whim, host a fab baby shower for a friend at our home, or throw together a game night for the ages where guests not only remember the charades, but the charcuterie display as well. Obviously the gathering of friends and family is the best part of entertaining (blah, blah, blah), but coming up with an eye catching spread of mouthwatering foods and making the presentation look creative and beautiful is almost as fun as the get together itself.
Here are some of my favorite entertaining essentials I like to keep at the ready at all times:
We bought two of CB2’s large Cuatro Platters a couple years ago and they have easily been our most relied on servewear. The sleek white surface with a small lip around the edge is perfect for showcasing a variety of foods. Just last week, I created some gorgeous platters of sushi on these when we had my father-in-law over for a last-minute dinner. They made ordinary (but delish) grocery store sushi look extraordinary. These are also great to use for sandwich platters, big fruit spreads, or chocolate and almond croissants while hosting a big brunch. They’re amazing!
I always think the prettiest table set-ups have a range of different heights on display – it adds a lot of interest to the eye. Servers with two different levels are perfect for hosting afternoon teas, displaying small desserts like cookies, mini cupcakes or macarons. I love this wooden Beck Tiered Server from Crate & Barrel and the different material it brings to a tablescape filled with white plates.
Serving bowls are great because they can wear many different hats – one day that bowl can serve as a big salad bowl, the next – fill it up with tortilla chips before the big game, popcorn for a hosted movie night or even a mini chilled beverage tub in a pinch. If you’re able to have two serving bowls ready to go, even better. I like the details on this one or this one.
I’ve been lusting after these Bendt Iron Serving Baskets from Crate & Barrel. I think they would be so lovely draped with a white linen napkin for serving up blueberry muffins on a Sunday morning or a piping hot sliced loaf of French bread at dinner.
Pedestal Cake Stands
Even if you’re not serving actual cake at your next party, cake stands are the perfect edition to your permanent servewear wardrobe. Their height helps give definition to the table and you can display anything there you’d like – from fruit tarts and quiche to cheeses. We have more vintage looking white ones with scalloped edges in our repertoire, but I’d actually like to trade those in for this more minimal and modern looking one.
I love these sleek slate cheese boards where you can use chalk to label your cheese selections right on the board. Add crackers, grapes, small bowls of olives and sliced bread to fill out the board. Of course you’ll need good set of cheese knives too.
There are so many adorable appetizer plates out there, it can be super hard to choose between them. We again turned to CB2 and have a set of eight Cuatro Small Platters. Like our platters above, I personally love a white background for apps so the food and all its varied colors and textures can really shine. For a little more pop, I love these Baja Appetizer Plates from Pottery Barn – so pretty and would be lovely for summer.
All-Purpose Wine Glasses
If you don’t have room in your house to store a set of red wine glasses and a set of white wine glasses, I’d opt for nice stemless glasses that can swing either way.
In addition to flowers, a set of colorful cocktails napkins can make a white tablescape really dazzle. These would be lovely for any occasion or these for having your mom pals over for some much needed wine.
Just remember, the pupose of any entertaining “essential” is to make sure you can get multiple uses out of it in many different ways with a variety of foods. In other words, don’t waste your hard-earned money on a cute olive bowl labeled olives because that’s all you’ll ever be able to serve. Make your pieces really work for you.
What are your go-to essentials? Give us your faves in the comments below!