what you need for a party

Whether you like to attend social events,  host them yourself – or both! – it’s a good idea to keep some things on hand at all times.  That way, you don’t have to run out to the store just because you’ve accepted a last-minute invitation or invited someone over.  Here’s a short list of things for parties, to keep in your cabinets, pantry or fridge.

For Drink Service

Pick up some fun cocktail napkins, and avoid the temptation to purchase seasonal themes: humor works year-round.  A nice pattern or solid colors always work.  Match the hues of your home.

Have 4-8 highball glasses (short glasses for a drink like a bourbon and water), 4-8 beer koozies, and 4-8 wine glasses.  Stemless wine glasses lessen the odds of a spill.  Adjust these numbers based on the friends you typically invite over.  If they’re all beer people, then get more koozies and a nice bottle opener.  Invest in a nice wine opener; you’ll never regret it.

Don’t pressure yourself

If budget allows, purchase some freezer stones (which replace ice for drinks served ‘neat’) a vessel to hold a cold bottle of wine, and a single-cup coffee maker.  And if you entertain outdoors, or tend to go to outdoor functions, then consider outdoor (plastic) glassware.  A party-style fliptop cooler on wheels is also a big hit, if you have room for it.

Related: The Perfect Bar Cart

For Food Service

Keep paper napkins on hand. It’s also a good idea to just have a couple of small boxes of birthday candles in the kitchen drawer, and some matches.  You also need 2-3 serving platters in different sizes.  One could be a chips-and-dip platter (which also works for fruits or veggies and dip).  You probably already have bowls in different sizes.

In order to serve food, you’ll need a couple of serving spoons (one slotted, one not is a good idea), some hors d’oeuvres picks, some colored toothpicks (buy a large container: it will last forever), and a cheese board and knife.

Lastly, if there’s a dish you particularly like to make (deviled eggs? shish-ka-bobs?) then have what’s required to serve it nicely, at home or away.

And you never know what your friends will bring over, so be prepared.  A pie server and cake server could both come in handy.

Food & Drink

Choose a couple of frozen appetizers you really like (Costco has a great selection) and keep them on hand.  Nice crackers are easy to keep, as are nuts, so do so.  Then just pick up one dip, cheese or spread when you shop, and consider that finger fruits are also easy to share (grapes, larger berries, apricots, dates).

You don’t have to break the bank to have a few adult beverages on hand.  Aim to always have a six-pack of popular beer, one bottle of red wine, one bottle of white wine.  If budget allows, then add in a bottle of bourbon and a bottle of vodka.  Buy some small-size mixers (soda, Coke, tonic).  Keep a box of single-serve coffee on hand if you have a coffee-maker, and some sort of cream and sweetener.  Gin and scotch would be next on the list, but are generally not as popular as bourbon and vodka.  Juice boxes are nice if kids come around on a regular basis.

Hot Tip: Pay attention to what your closest friends like to drink, so you don’t have to keep a lot of variety on hand.

For Music

Today’s technology has made this one easy: there are countless different speakers which play music directly from your phone‘s music files or Pandora account.

For Emergencies

To be a host or hostess of the highest order, keep these on hand: an adaptable phone charger, reading glasses, tissues, a stain stick, pain relievers, at least one children’s book, some safety pins, cough drops and ginger candy or ginger ale (for an upset tummy).

Have fun pulling together the items you need to spontaneously say “yes” to a get-together, whether at your home or a neighbor’s. Eliminate the stress!

Related: Apartment Cleaning Tools You Need



About The Author

The editor of ApartmentGuide and Rent.com, Libby McMillan Henson has created award-winning content for radio, tv, print and digital for over two decades. Libby recently authored a book about her current home base of Greenville, SC, and has also lived in Austin, San Francisco, Nashville, Boston and Sanibel/Captiva Islands. A lifelong traveler and photographer, Libby loves exploring new places.