Everyday Entertaining Essentials: How to Be Ready For A Party ANYTIME!

I LOVE having people over to my house!  I feel like hospitality is such an important part of our lives and I want to always be ready to entertain company at my house whether I have a month notice, or friends have just stopped in and we have convinced them to stay for!  Having a few everyday entertaining essentials  can be so helpful as you plan your gatherings!  

No matter what the occasion, there are certain things that I use almost every time I have any gathering at my house!  These entertaining essentials can help you throw together a party in no time with minimal stress…. And that is a win-win!  

Entertaining Essentials: Serving Dishes

Drink Dispenser 

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When I was growing up, it was the glass punchbowl containing a delicious drink with melting sherbert and dainty glasses!  Nowaday, the “punchbowl” has more often than not turned into a drink pitcher with a spout! I love these because they are so much easier than having to have someone man the punchbowl!  There are dispensers with simpler designs and others that are a little more fancy. But if you are hosting people often, a cute drink dispenser is definately an essential!

Cake Stand  

I could probably own 50 of these and use them all!!!  There is something so lovely about a cake on a beautiful pedestal cake stand.  My standard go to right now is a pewter with beading around the edges, I love it because I can hold a larger cake than most cake stands!  Find one you love and use it for everything! And,it doesn’t have to be just for cakes, think cute little cucumber sandwiches or a cheeseball with crackers! This aqua one is adorable (and affordable)!!!

Cake Knife

When I got married, instead of buying the traditional wedding cake serving set, I bought a bamboo handle serving set that I loved for my wedding cake.  After all of these years, I still use it often. If you have a large cake, especially a layer cake, it can be helpful to have a large cake knife for cutting. Or…. you could be like my mom who brings out her largest kitchen knife (think 7 inch santoku knife) every time we cut cake…. But if you do, you might scare your guests!!! Lol!

Serving Platters and Bowls

Serving platters are the workhorse of any gathering where food is involved.  Make sure you have a few large platter and large bowls to accommodate your food. These simple white porcelain ones a great, but I also LOVE these beautiful wooden octagon ones! Get something basic, but beautiful that you love so you can use them for many different occasions!

Large Wooden Tray

I think a wooden tray is a great party essential and really a great item to have at home for many purposes!  I have had one for years that has holes along the edge, so I can change out the ribbon for different occasions! Trays can be a great way to gather items together so they look more put together.  And trays can also be used with some seasonal elements as a beautiful centerpiece. Check out these beautiful ones here!

Tiered Stand

I am so glad that the farmhouse decor has become so popular, because I feel like that relaxed feel helps take some of the stress off of decorating.  No longer do we have to have crystal this or linen that, but we can even mix and match fancier items with more rustic ones!  It’s called eclectic, and I love it!  

One rustic item that I just love is a tiered stand, especially the stands that are made with galvanized metal. (But check this beautiful wooden one out too…I think I need it!!!)  You can use these tiered stands for so many things from displaying decorations, food, or cupcakes! And they save room by going vertical!  Not to mention that they are great for using as everyday decor in your home when you aren’t needing them for entertaining!

Cupcake Stand


If the galvanized trays are not your thing, you can find some unique cupcake stands around and they can make for a decorative display all on their own!  I have this one (although nowadays, I use the tiered galvanized trays most often), but there are MANY options that vary a lot in price! 

Decorating: Entertaining Essentials


I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE mason jars and any other kind of unique little glass jar that I can find! Jars can be used as a beautiful vase for flowers, and adding a little burlap or ribbon will dress it up just a little more!


I also love small bud vases!  They can be used in a group or individually to create a beautiful arrangement without having to have a large amount of flowers (I did this at my wedding)!  These are my favorite ones that I use and try to keep on hand for giving away ($1.99 each, they are TOTALLY worth it). And these are also a beautiful option for bud vases.

Small Baskets

Anther love is for baskets!  You can use baskets in a variety of ways, including to hold napkins, forks & knives, with a tea towel for chips or as a centerpiece with some seasonal items inside!


Candles can really add to the atmosphere whether a few votives placed around the table or large pillar candles around the room.  And if your outside, a citronella candle or two might make for a less itchy tomorrow!!!

Butcher paper

Butcher paper can give you a blank canvas on your table, but you can also use it to write what food is in each dish, or you can put it on the kids table for drawing on!  At Thanksgiving, I like to run brown butcher paper down the middle of my table with a tablecloth and add greenery and candles in the middle. It adds a simple, homey feel to the table that I love! 


Simple solid tableclothes are a great party essential that can be used for many different occasions!  I have a solid white one with a pale aqua stitch around the corners that I use for MANY occasions. These tableclothes can be used with a tablerunner, fabric down the center to dress up, or as is for a simple gathering!

Tables & Chairs

One thing that really helps out with larger get togethers is having extra table and seating!  We have a fold up table that comes in super handy even if we are having just our extended family over!  Also, seating seems to always be an issue, so these fold up chairs are great to keep on hand if you know you’ll be needing extra seating from time to time!

Entertaining Essentials: Food to Have on Hand!

Tortillas- When I have a gathering, often quesadillas or a taco bar is my go-to food of choice.  Maybe because I love both or those things (and usually everyone else does to), but also, because they are easy to customize to each persons likings!  And you can’t have any of that with out tortillas! We kind of freak out a little in our house when we are out of tortillas, they are great to pull out and make a quick meal with! 

Tortilla Chips & Salsa 

I am an Aldi shopper whenever I can be, and this is something that I try to always have on hand!  Chips and salsa are great to add to a meal, but also easy to pull out when you have unexpected guests drop in!


It’s kind of a joke in our family that my mom adds ginger-ale to EVERYTHING!!!  And the apple didn’t fall far from the tree on this one, but my choice is Sprite!  So I try to keep Sprite, small cans or pineapple and koolaid on hand for a quick and delicious drink!

This is my go-to recipe for punch whenever I have a gathering!

Simple Koolaid Punch

Kiwi Strawberry Koolaid Pack made up with sugar (any flavor would work, but this is my favorite)

Pineapple Juice 1-2 small cans or ⅓ of a large can

Sprite- approximately ⅓ of a 2 liter bottle

Mix together and enjoy! 

Optional:  The Koolaid + pineapple juice can also be frozen overnight and then set out for several (4-6 hours) to soften.  After the Koolaid starts to become slushy, you can break up the ice and add the Sprite! This makes a delicious slushy punch!

Ice Cream

This not the most surprising suggestions on the list!  In my opinion, you could have a whole party with ice cream and some delicious toppings alone!  My preference is homemade ice cream (check out my super-simple recipe), but store bought is also very acceptable! I always have sprinkles (it’s kind of a problem I have!), nuts, and hot fudge is easier than you would think.


Cookie dough is great to have on hand, because even if you only have store bought they taste great coming right out of the oven!  My favorite are my cowboy cookies, and they can be kept in the freezer for months and brought right out and baked. Serve these along size some ice cream (or let the kids make their own ice cream sandwiches) and everyone will be happy!



I think that cake should probably be listed as party essential #1!!!  This is my favorite cake recipe (and be sure to check out the frosting post also).  And for a more laid back gathering, this is my new favorite poke cake! If you’ve never tried poke cake before, you are missing out!!!  And there are thousands of variations!

Disposable Entertaining Essentials

Cute Plates, Cup and Napkins  

Any party is made easier by having disposable plates and cups!  Some get togethers may call for real plates and glasses, but for everything else, embrace something that doesn’t have to be washed (it took me a long time)!!!  These plates are great and clear plastic cups are my go-to for any occasion! 

Although having some items on hand can certainly make for a less stressful gathering, in my opinion, you the only real “entertaining essentials” are friends and family that you love!  You don’t have to have everything just right to have a wonderful time!

Do you have a go to entertaining essential?  Please share in the comments below! 

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