It’s certainly no secret that I love to entertain. Whether it’s a formal dinner party or just a casual get-together with a few friends, playing host is one of my favorite things to do. Each season calls for different types of parties and summer is all about outdoor entertaining. From backyard BBQs to late-night s’more-making, summer gatherings should feel easy (read: nothing stuffy).
When it comes to summer entertaining essentials, there are a handful of items I consider must-haves. Below, a hit-list of my favorites to have on hand.
- Melamine Dinnerware – The goal of a casual party is for guests to feel, well, casual. Using melamine dinnerware puts guests at ease and encourages a relaxed atmosphere. There are so many fun, colorful options to choose from these days. I love this new collection from NM. They remind me of plates you’d see in Italy. My other favorite is this color-blocked collection from Thomas Fuchs. I own so many of these in an array of colors. (Tip: They make excellent hostess gifts, too!) Looking for something budget-friendly? Check out this gingham set.
- Acrylic Barware – Skip the glass and opt for acrylic tumblers. For something super simple, I love these from CB2. They’re the best basics. When it comes to color, Mario Luca Giusti is my go-to. I have a set of these in blue along with a matching pitcher. For a super budget-friendly option, check out this colorful set for $15.
- Bamboo Flatware – I can’t tell you how often I use my bamboo flatware. It’s the ultimate entertaining essential for me. It’s the kind of flatware you can use for both formal or casual parties and it goes with everything! This is the set I have. It’s super inexpensive and will last you for years.
- Beverage Dispenser – While this is a great option for water, I usually fill mine with a cocktail. I make a huge batch of margaritas or sangria and fill it up. The serve-yourself aspect is a fun touch and keeps the cocktails flowing! My favorite options: here and here.
- Trays – I keep a collection of trays in different sizes on hand for all of my parties. Whether used to serve appetizers or for holding the linens, they’re the ultimate multi-purpose essential. CB2 has some great inexpensive options here. I also love this woven style from Serena & Lily. (Bonus: it can be used as a decorating piece inside, too!)
- Cotton Linens – Just because things are casual, it doesn’t mean you have to use paper napkins (or plates, for that matter). Opt for some cotton (read: washable!) linens instead. I love fun prints like these and these. You also can’t go wrong with gingham. For a budget-friendly option, check out this set of 4 for under $20. While we’re on the subject of table linens, check out this gorgeous blue and white tablecloth! It’s under $20. Such a good steal!
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