Party Design Basics – Top 10 Party Supplies

As we head into the holiday season I can’t think of a better time to share my top 10 list of party supplies. If you enjoy entertaining all throughout the year then these are the items I would suggest having in your cabinets, closets, or other storage area.

I’ve picked these items for their flexibility and longevity, as well as their ability to give more bang for your buck.

Ready to take inventory?

 

  • White Plates  This is always at the top of my list when I talk about party supplies. I have a collection of white dinner plates, as well as salad plates that cost an average of $1 each. At that price there’s no excuse for not having them! What I love about them: eco friendly, goes with EVERYTHING, can easily be replaced if one breaks {no discontinued patterns to worry about}. Favorite resource – The Dollar Tree, Marshalls/ TJMaxx, Restaurant supply shops.

  • Stemware & Glasses   Just as white dishes add the look of a “real hostess with the mostess,” so does glassware. Once again, I’ve stocked up on glasses for $1 each. I like having basic stems for wine or punch, but I also like all-purpose pub glasses for water, iced tea, or other beverage. In addition, 8 oz wide-mouth canning jars make fantastic glasses for casual occasions.  What I love about them: they add an air of sophistication, eco-friendly. Favorite resources – The Dollar Tree, almost any home store sells boxed sets this time of year, plus you get a great storage box.

  • White Servers   If you love setting up buffets or dessert tables, you can’t be without white serving dishes and platters. I used to collect different colors and patterns for bowls, platters, and serving dishes but that became expensive, plus I was running out of storage. Not to mention any given piece may only be used once or twice a year. I decided to sell all those pieces at a yard sale and start fresh, collecting white platters, bowls, cake stands, even ‘oven to table’ bake ware. This really pulls your buffet table together and keeps it looking clean.  Favorite resources – Target for different shapes and sizes of platters; Home Goods for cake pedestals.

  • Punch Dispenser   A punch dispenser is one of those items that you may only use 3 times per year, but you will keep it and use it FOREVER. I like this modern version of the punch bowl because it’s less messy with its built in spigot, and they’re so pretty they even add to the decor.  Be careful of some cheaper models as the spigot can end up breaking if you’re not careful.

  • Apothecary Jars   I can’t believe the popularity of apothecary jars over the past 6-8 years. I can remember looking for them 8- 10 years ago and they were nearly impossible to find. Now they’re available everywhere home items are sold. What I love about them: fill them with salty snacks, sweets & candy, cereal, small decorative objects, small favors, even use them as a “punch bowl.Favorite resources: Home Goods, Marshalls/TJMaxx.

  • Solid Table Cloths   A solid colored table cloth serves as the base for everything else. There are many options and resources, but in general a basic white cloth will take you anywhere.  You can even use large sheets in a pinch, or to add a very specific color. My only suggestion for table cloths is to PLEASE avoid those damask cloths – you know the ones that are a solid color but have a pattern woven into it. The pattern ends up being distracting and dated so stick to a plain weave. Favorite resources: online event supply shops, TableVogue {they are fitted & floor length}.

  • Glass Votive Holders   Glass votive holders are NOT just for candles. Oh no. I love using these little guys for small serving vessels on a party buffet. Use them for parfaits, to hold small snacks {like gold fish crackers}, salad ‘shots’, or for beverages like in our beer tasting party. You’ll be amazed at how much wear you can get out of these. Favorite resource: Craft shops sell packs of 12 for $6.

  • Variety of Vases   Flowers are the centerpiece staple of entertaining and it’s a good idea to have a small collection of vases, bottles, or even cans, to put them in. I like vases that have a small opening. That way it looks full and bountiful with less flowers, or can look very modern with a single stem inside. White and clear glass are the most versatile options, but it’s fun to have colored glass or black too, depending on your decor. For more casual or rustic occasions, bottles and cans are a great option as well.

  • Frames   Who would have thought picture frames would become so important in party decor? Table top frames are perfect for holding buffet or welcome signs. Tiny frames from the $1 aisle of Michael’s stores are great for place cards, and large empty wall frames are fantastic decor for a buffet backdrop or decor, not to mention a fun element for photo props.

  • Craft Supplies & Backdrop Material   Okay, I had to combine these two because “top 10″ just sounds better than “top 11.” If you want to pretty your party then you must have some crafting supplies. A collection of ribbon, scrapbook papers, twine, adhesive gems, fabric flowers, etc. can take you very far in dressing up apothecary jars, favor boxes, framed signs, etc.  Favorite resources – Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, JoAnn’s fabric & crafts.
  • Backdrops have become a party staple as well, when it comes to giving your party personality. I use my 3′ x 4′ canvas for everything! Depending on what the design concept is, I cover it with fabric and/or hang a garland or bunting across it. It adds a much needed design element to an otherwise boring wall, or clashing paint color.

How many of these items do you already have?  If you look at most of my parties and photo shoots you’ll notice these same elements used over and over again.  Like I said, it’s all about versatility!

Have a great day!

{All photos via Celebrations At Home}

For more inspiration, follow me on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook. Cheers!

 

About Chris

Chris Nease is a party stylist and home entertaining expert with over 15 years of experience. In addition to her work as founding editor of Celebrations At Home, Chris is an editorial stylist and contributor to Homes.com, Marie Callender's, and SheKnows. Most recently her work has been published in Woman's World, Yum Food & Fun for Kids, and Cottages & Bungalows.

Comments

  1. Great advice Chris! I have most but need to collect more frames, vases and apothecary jars. I notice that all these items can be used at for events and as decor around the house so WINNING either way ;)

  2. Posting the Favorite Resources is very helpful. Thanks.

  3. Love this list! I am a firm believer in glassware. I hate drinking out of plastic cups so I would never make my guests do it! Also, this post reminds me that I need to expand my collection of white serving platters, everything looks good on white.

  4. You are the party planner guru. Thanks for sharing these tips and tricks.

  5. GREAT post today! Speaking of the holidays coming…..when I was starting out on my own a hundred years ago, and didn’t have much $$ to decorate at Christmas, I took my pictures down from the wall, wrapped them in wrapping paper, added ribbon and a bow, and put them back on the wall (longest sentence ever)! I still do that!

    I’m sure you have posted something similar already and maybe I missed it. Looking forward to all your hloiday ideas.

    Have a great week,
    Sheila

  6. Very informative – its nice to put them all into a staple list – I like it! Thanks

  7. Perfect! I have a good number of white plates and white servers, glasses, solid tablecloth. I totally agree about the damask pattern being easily dated.

  8. I love this list! I am still building my collection of decorative party supplies and this makes it seem so much more attainable for a non -pro like me to have a gorgeous party like yours. Thank you!

    I do have one concern–I am worried about votive holders I find being food safe. Any advice?

  9. It’s so nice to see that these party supplies are not hard to find. You can do them to show your creativity or get party supplies from BirthdayExpress. For sure kids will have fun with this cool set up.

  10. loving those apothecary jars, they look amazing on the buffet table.

  11. Thanks for all the sweet comments everyone. I’m so glad you find it helpful.

  12. Great list! I totally agree on the white serving ware. It is essential.
    And just wanted to tell you that I purchased a big canvas a year or so ago at your suggestion, and have used it many times!

  13. Love this post! I’ve gradually collected many of these items, and am going to stock up on votive holders and frames, for sure. I can see how a good stock of these items will cover just about any party table. Thanks!!

  14. I love white as the base of my decor. I do want to use an overlay for color. Is that a no no too?

    • Karen, absolutely you can use a colorful or patterned fabric as an overlay. Having a plain white tablecloth is just the foundation on which to build. :-)

  15. Nice Party Design

    Star Home

  16. Thanks for this list. I’m learning how to stage parties for pictures and this is great. I love the backdrop idea and really need to use it.

    Britni

  17. Amazing tips! Bookmarking you now. Thanks

    -Kirsten
    http://www.party-supplies-for-less.com

Trackbacks

  1. [...] tasting sizes into shot glasses or glass votives {a party essential that I talked about here} and label what each [...]

  2. [...] absolutely love this blog post!  It gives you the 10 essentials items that you should have to host parties!  White plates, solid [...]

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