You’ll never be caught unprepared with these tools in your entertaining arsenal.
The first time I invited friends over to my first apartment for wine and cheese, I felt very grown up. I’d carefully selected a few bottles of wine, picked out a nice sampling of cheeses, and grabbed a couple sleeves of crackers that paired well with them. But the moment I went to arrange them nicely on a cheese board was the moment I realized that I was hardly a grown up: I didn’t have a cheese board on which to arrange my thoughtful selections. Thankfully, my friends were gracious guests, and nobody minded that the cheese was served on a beat-up cutting board and that the crackers were in a cereal bowl. But it was certainly a memorable lesson in entertaining. When it comes to presentation, a hostess is only as good as the tools she has at her disposal. Here, the five serving pieces every hostess needs in her entertaining arsenal.
A Cake Stand
Our Spring Party Pick: Food52 X Mosser Chelsea 10” Glass Cake Stand, $65; food52.com
Homemade cookies and cakes look even more scrumptious when perched atop a glossy stand with fun retro vibes. And if you’re no Betty Crocker? Well, everyone knows the trick to passing off that Publix bakery cake as your own is all about the presentation.
An Ice Bucket
Our Spring Party Pick: Tritan Ice Bucket, $35; markandgraham.com
A good-looking ice bucket is essential for keeping lemonade cold and cocktails fresh. We like acrylic and plastic options, as they’re durable enough for backyard barbecues and parch parties, but still look polished on a kitchen counter for spring brunches or as a decorative element on a dining room bar cart.
A Chips-and-Dip Bowl
Our Spring Party Pick: Kate Spade New York Chip and Dip Bowl, Strawberries, $50; bloomingdales.com
Even the humblest party snacks deserve cute dishes! Dress up your straight-from-the-grocery-store chips and dip with a colorful two-in-one serving set. Make sure to choose bowls made of melamine so that they’re tough enough to stand up to picnics in the park and pool parties.
A Cheese Board
Our Spring Party Pick: Lapin Cheese Board, $68; anthropologie.com
Whether it’s made from marble or wood, a pretty cheese board is the quick ticket for dressing up cocktail hour and making even a motley crew of small bites look photo-ready. Next-level your wine-and-cheese setup with an accompanying set of cheese knives and small matching dishes for nuts and olives.
A Dressy Tray
Our Spring Party Pick: Beatriz Ball Breakfast Tray, $152.70; amazon.com
When it comes time to host special celebrations, like engagement parties or baby showers, it’s important to bring out your finest for your honored guests. If you’re lucky enough to have inherited a silver tray or two from Mama, by all means, use those! Otherwise, a shiny lookalike will do just fine and give your table a pretty focal point.