Can you share what your must-have entertaining basics are? I noticed your white ruffle cake stand and tall glass cylinder. Any others you always go-to?
First off to Raye, thanks so much for reading along and the comment. (I luuurrrve comments)
As to an answer, I wish I could say I had a handy little list of entertaining must haves but Im simply not that organized. I tend to throw together my parties with what I have at the time and I pick up a thing or two depending upon the occassion, if needed. But spurred on by your question, I do have a few suggestions of what I find important to setting up a lovely buffet or display.
I try to avoid plastic whenever possible. And a few sets of small cocktail plates prove very versatile and inexpensive. You can find them in all sorts of designs too like the whimsical example above from West Elm. Personally I have I have two sets with small imprints of wine and cheese that I received as a gift a few years ago and I use them constantly.
Any sort of large flat black board will do. I have a slate one that is good for smaller cheese plates and when I have more people over, I tend to use a large black cutting board I have handy. Having a board makes it easy to put the hunks of cheese down and then fill in the spaces with crackers and fruit. Always a crowd pleaser.
Tiered Serving Dish, Cake Stand and or Footed Bowl (or all three!)
Here is where you can add some height to your display. Very important for visual interest. It has some obvious uses (um, cake?) but a cake stand/footed bowl also makes a great spot to create a centerpiece, display favors or a host of other uses. I have a ruffle one from Williams Sonoma but I have my eye on the milk glass set pictured above from Martha Stewart.
Other things that I also like to keep on hand: Clear tumblers for any kind of drink, a big tub good for keeping bottled drinks on ice, plenty of flatware and a big stack of plain white paper napkins.
As Im clearly an amateur entertainer, thats all I have to share. But if you are looking for some professional (and much more complete) advice on stocking your party pantry, you can look no further than this book
I was very fortunate to be one of the winners of a contest that Restyled Home hosted to celebrate Matthew Mead's new book. My autographed copy arrived last week and I finally got a chance to pour over the beautiful photographs and practical tips Matthew includes. I wish I could add a few of my favorite photos in the book but Im afraid illegal scanning of a gift book would be in bad form so I can only share my comments. A good deal of this content is devoted to suggestions about what serveware you should have on hand for a party and its a very good list. This is the perfect gift to give to a new homeowner or bride&groom. If you are looking for a better answer to Raye Law's question, I definitely suggest you pick it up.