Simple Entertaining Essentials for the Beginner Hostess

Planning to entertain guests at home can be stressful, especially if you are doing it for the first time. You must prepare the food and drinks, decide on décor, and so on. But if you are a beginner hostess who entertains at home occasionally or is now starting, it is best to start with practical staples. You will need the proper cutlery, glassware, flatware, accessories, and more.

However, you can make the entire experience easier and fabulous by stocking some simple entertaining essentials that will be used every time you entertain guests at home. So, that next time you consider entertaining, the only thing you will need to do is curate a delectable menu of food and fabulous drinks that everyone will remember for years!

When I started, I did it all wrong. I bought a bit of everything. I was so excited, and while I still mix and match my pieces at times, I have since worked backward and built up my basics.

Here are some simple entertaining essentials for the beginner hostess.

You need not buy a hundred different things to be the perfect hostess. All you need is a few simple, affordable essentials for at-home entertaining, such as:

A set of white dishes

It can be tempting to buy a set of fine china with a floral design but wait and think. A collection of sparkling white dishes will go well with any theme or occasion, whereas florals may not work each time. Also, classic white dishes allow you to mix and match things. For example, you can add a designer salad plate with a white dining plate, making it look more beautiful. So, start with a set of 8 or 12 white dining and salad plates for entertaining guests at home.

Versatile Glassware

Nowadays, you can find a glass for every beverage you can imagine. There are flutes for champagnes, coupes for sparkling wine, rocks glasses for whiskey, and whatnot. However, it is impossible to stock every type of glassware out there. Instead, you can invest in a set of high-quality, versatile glassware like stemless glasses that can be used for anything and everything, from alcoholic drinks to juices and water.

Tip: Once you have purchased your stemless collection and have the space for additional glassware, I recommend a set of six standard white wine glasses and six standard red wine glasses.

Set of Linen Napkins

If you are starting to entertain guests, consider investing in good-quality linen napkins that will last you for ages. They will go a long way in adding style and class to your setting; they have great utility. A good quality linen napkin will be easy to wash, maintain and store. In addition, you can choose simple designs with or without lining, so they go well with everything.

Tip: Invest in at least 12 napkins. Natural|taupe is very forgiving and will complement anything. A lovely table cloth, although not necessary, is also an excellent addition.

Serving Platter

A serving platter can serve multiple purposes. You can use it to serve the main course or even finger foods like mini sandwiches. A simple yet beautiful serving platter will add a touch of style to any setting. Just like with plates and glassware, we recommend buying a high-quality but classic serving platter that you would feel proud to put out on every occasion, whether it is a housewarming, a birthday, or even Thanksgiving.


A set of 10 to 12-place settings is ideal for flatware. There are so many to choose from these days, like gold, rose gold, pink and gold, etc., but since we are focusing on the basics, silver is the best choice; it is classic and will stand the test of time.

Mini Serving Bowls

These may seem unnecessary however they will come in handy and make entertaining much more effortless. Mini bowls are perfect for dips, snacks, or small bites.

Cheese Board

Cheese boards are a versatile necessity that can also double as an appetizer board. Use your cheese boards in casual or grand settings. They are perfect for large crowds or an intimate setup for two and it is sure to elevate your entertaining style.

Ice Bucket and Tongs

If you will be serving alcoholic drinks to your guests, then an ice bucket and a pair of tongs is something that you will need. It will save you time and effort; plus, it will allow you to sit back and relax with your guests rather than making rounds to the kitchen now and then. A good, sturdy ice bucket can also be used to chill drinks, so you do not need to buy a beverage trough or a drink chiller separately. An ice bucket can also be a beautiful centerpiece with just a little creativity.

Classic Centerpiece

A centerpiece is not always needed. But, if you have one, you can be sure that it will always create a great impression on all your guests. A centerpiece adds color, light, and liveliness to the table. It can be something as simple as a vase with fresh flowers. We recommend investing in a centerpiece that you can use in a dozen different ways each time.

Tip: If you do not have the budget to invest in a centerpiece, a potted plant is an excellent choice.

Jug with a lid [or a glass carafe]

A jug with a lid [or even a glass carafe] is something you can use daily in the kitchen, and it will easily double up as serve ware for guests. You can use it to store beverages or chill liquids in the refrigerator every day. And, when entertaining guests, you can use it to serve water or mix sangrias. A beautiful jug will also help make your table [and the entire setting] look lovely. And the best part is that you do not need to burn a hole in your pocket for a glass carafe; you can get a high-quality glass jug for an affordable price.

Barware and Accessories

You will need many small accessories when entertaining guests at home such as a bottle opener, corkscrew, shaker and strainer, jigger, mixing glass, bar spoon, stirrers, wine stopper, picks, and more. These are small things that can make your evening more relaxed and fun. If you can not buy all accessories at once, consider adding them to a list and slowly purchase them to create a collection of beautiful, good-quality accessories.

Placemats and Chargers [Optional]

These are completely optional. I am including them because it is something you will want to add to your collections eventually, money and space permitting. Placemats and chargers are a gorgeous final touch to any table setting. You can find budget friendly options that are elegant and stylish.

That is pretty much all you need.

If you can stock up on essentials like classic white plates, linen napkins, glassware, serving platters and barware then you have pretty much everything you will need to entertain friends and family at home. And, you can keep on building your collection over time. Every time you spot something at a great bargain, buy it and add it to your collection. I will put together a few of my favorites from William Sonoma, Amazon and Pottery Barn and publish it in a few days.

Happy Entertaining.

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