hostess basics

over the years, i have hosted many a party.  like a million.  at least ;)

what has made it easy for me is that i have all the basics on hand, and then i can just add details to make it special!

now my hostess stockpile took a few years to build up – it did not happen over night!  my biggest tip: go neutral.  i have gone with clear glass and white for all the basics.

hostess basics

this simple collection will help you to set a table for a crowd (i think i have settings for at least 30), and then add all the fun details with accessories.

hostess basics

years ago we bought a big ol’ stack of inexpensive plates from ikea, and bowls as well.  years later, i found a stack really similar dessert plates at a garage sale and snatched them up!

hostess basics

i used to use a couple pretty pitchers to serve drinks in at gatherings, but my drink dispensers are so much more convenient – so filling and refilling the pitchers all night.

hostess basics

i have a really big table and i can’t find a table cloth big enough to cover it.  or if i did, it would be ridiculously expensive just to get spaghetti sauce spilled on it.  my solution (and this would work for any size table):  plain white flat sheets.  i buy king size flat sheets from walmart and they work perfectly!

hostess basics

while i don’t have 30 just yet, i love using cloth napkins for nicer meals.  they are a nice step up from paper napkins.  i have a few different sets of white napkins – some linen, some thrifted – but because they are all white, they work well together.  i’m also thinking of gathering some other colors, too.  best thing about white, though: bleach.

hostess basics

our table regularly seats 8, but we can fit 12 pretty easily.  we have a set of folding metal chairs around our front porch table that migrate inside when we have a gathering.

hostess basics

i like to keep my serving dishes neutral: lots of white, clear and silver.  we tend to do mostly buffet style, so at least the buffet table can look nice!

hostess basics

and on the buffet as well, i like to add a little variation with cake plates.  i have been collecting a variety of cake plates since we first got married and they definitely come in handy!

hostess basics

we have a regular weekly gathering of our growth group at our house on monday nights, where we have as many as 35 for a potluck dinner.  having forks, knives and spoons on hand is so nice!

hostess basics

basic glassware is a must.  you can use red solo cups, of course, but real glasses make the table so much nicer!  while i don’t have 30 matching glasses for entertaining, i do have 30+ mason jars that work just as well!  they are definitely more on the casual side, but they are cheap and on hand, so thats a win for me.

once you set your all white table, you can mix things up by adding colored/patterned runners, centerpieces, place cards, whatever you can think of!

so how about you – do you have a hostess stockpile?  what do you have that i’m missing?



  1. 1
    Maria Trunzo says:

    You may want to check out Home Goods store for more napkins. They sometimes get a bundle of 12 in for around $20.00 to $30.00. You can mix & match different colors with every other person getting a different color to match your theme. They do also have large sizes in tablecloths @ times. Our table has 2 large leaves which requires 144″ in length. I have made them out of fabrics that are 60″ wide in the color I want. @ present I am collecting the Lenox Yearly Holiday Luncheon plates, complements of a dear friend. Everybody will get a different one. I also use white/cream with gold trim platesa & chargers for colors if I want something different.

  2. 2

    A great idea to add some color and pattern is topping the table cover with gift wrap- it acts as a runner and can be seasonal or not depending on the choice you make – and there are so many great choices of gift wrap available – even kraft paper works !

  3. 3

    I totally agree with what you said. It has been my strategy as well. Per Lesley’s idea I keep a large roll of brown butcher paper on hand. I use it for the kids crafts as well as a table runner. I have also collected slowly over the years simple antique silver candle holders. An all white table with a butcher paper runner, antique silver candle holders can be dressed up or down. At Christmas I just scatters some gold painted pine cones down the runner. Thanksgiving it was mini pumpkins/gourds. It is simple yet elegant. We are lucky to have a super wide and long table so we always serve family style. The table decorations have to be simple in order to leave room for the great big platters of food. I love a big family style dinner.

  4. 4

    Thanks for sharing this info!

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