Entertaining Essentials

by AEA on April 15, 2010

Do you have what it takes to Entertain?

Entertaining requires some basic essentials; plates, platters, glasses, silverware, napkins, and tablecloths. Getting all the essentials together is an investment that you might need to build up over time. Versatile pieces that can work well for holidays, anniversaries, baby showers, birthdays and other events are best for your initial investment. For these foundation pieces, look for simple clean lines and neutral colors. Choose pieces that look good and go together.

Other more decorative and fun pieces can be obtained later when you want to build up your arsenal. Here you can embellish your essentials with more color and different designs. You may want to add pieces like napkin rings, a gravy boat, placemats, a cake stand and many other possible choices.

Formal Dinnerware

DinnerwareFor your fine china, choose porcelain or bone china. Fine dinnerware is elegant, beautiful and durable since it is fired at high temperatures. Again choose neutral colors that go with different table settings through out the year. Popular plate shapes include round with a rim, recessed plate with no rim, octagonal and square. Cup shapes include tall & narrow, low & wide and traditional round with or without a pedestal. Typical place settings are for eight to twelve.

Casual Dinnerware

Everyday dinnerware is just, if not more, important then your formal dinnerware since these are used daily. You may choose less formal fine china or the semi-porcelain, stoneware or earthenware pieces. Casual dinnerware will be used when the guest list is larger with the buffet serving style. The casual dinnerware can be dressed up with the table linens, glasses and other accessories. Typical place settings for the casual table can be anywhere from eight to twenty-four.

Dinnerware for Large Gatherings

If you need to provide dinnerware for larger groups, you will need to go with much less expensive pieces for the plates, glasses and utensils. There are heavy duty plastic plates, glasses and cutlery or heavy duty disposable paper plates and matching utensils. Most of the serving platters can come from your casual and formal pieces.

Number of Place Settings

When choosing the number of place settings; consider the potential future uses and how the family/friends gatherings can grow in numbers. Today’s a table serving for eight could easily turn into twelve or more with the addition of new family members and friends. These pieces do not have to be expensive but should have good durability.

Foundation Essentials

  • Plates
  • Wineglasses
  • Water glasses
  • Serving platter
  • Coffee/teacups and saucers
  • Forks
  • Knives
  • Salad/dessert forks
  • Teaspoons
  • Soupspoons
  • Butter knife
  • Napkins
  • Meat fork
  • Ice bucket

Optional Pieces

  • Tablecloths with different patterns and colors
  • Placemats
  • Bread baskets
  • Pitchers for different drinks
  • Soup bowls; also be used for pastas and salads
  • Oversized platters for meats, fish and poultry
  • Serving bowls for vegetables, potatoes and rice dishes
  • Salad plates; also for appetizers and desserts
  • Coffee pots and teapots can be useful
  • Napkin rings for the elegant touch
  • Gravy boat

Beverage Glasses

Bar GlassesThere are many different types of beverage glasses for serving water to cocktails to wine to champagne. Your best choice is to stay with clear designs that are common so they can be

easily replaced if get broken. It is easy to have six to eight types of glasses. Start with what you need, not with what looks good. If you never serve Champagne, then you don’t need a Champagne glass. You may also not need different sizes of the same type of glass. Some common bar glasses are Cocktail, Collins, Highball, Brandy, Wine, Champagne and different liqueur glasses.

Flute glasses

Keeping It Together

Once you have your entertaining essentials, there is the question of where to keep all this stuff. If you can’t find what you need when you need it, you might as well not have it in the first place. It is recommended to keep all you entertaining essentials in one place like a closet with many shelves. So keeping it all together where it is readily accessible is important and also makes the entertaining easier.

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