Let’s face it, having parties and events is going to look a little different for a while. They will be smaller and socially distant, but you can still do them! Get creative, and most importantly, be prepared. If you are someone who likes to host, there are a few staple things you should have on hand to make your party planning life easier.
This is something that Kim and I have learned over the years, and boy I wish we knew this before. Whenever I get my hands on one of these essential items, I wonder why I didn’t do it sooner.
I promise, these 10 items are things you need, and will get great use out of, if you like to host!
First up, a speaker. This. Is. ESSENTIAL. I put it first because, in my option, it isn’t a party without music.
It doesn’t matter how many people you have or how far apart they are, you need music. It is the #1 forgotten thing for at-home parties and it really changes the game. Music sets the scene and is the perfect finishing touch for the fun atmosphere you worked so hard to create. There are lots of great options for inexpensive speakers that actually work really well, or you can treat yo’self and splurge on a fancy one. Or, you could sing live. Always a great option.
Serving Trays and Platters
Next, and also very important: serving trays and platters. Whether you go with homemade food or store bought, presentation is everything.
My favorite party planning hack is to put store bought food on a cute tray (sorry not sorry). Even if I slaved away in the kitchen all day, I still want to put it on a nice plate! Your guests are 100% more likely to devour your food if it looks pretty. So, find yourself a few cute trays to keep on hand and whip those babies out! You will definitely impress the crowd.
Something you might not think of… an extra table. I am always surprised at how often I need to pull out an extra table for food, an activity, or just for people to sit at.
Folding 6’ tables are great and you can store them in almost any closet. They are a lifesaver when you don’t have quite enough room on your other tables/surfaces, and will help things feel less cramped. I especially recommend this if you are hosting anything outside. You will need a table.
The next item will come as no surprise: chalkboards. We LOVE a good chalkboard moment.
I don’t know why, but they make my parties look better and they make me feel better. They are great for any kind of sign or to write a menu! Very low maintenance but very cute. Also inexpensive! Yay.
Another favorite of mine: mason jars. I try to avoid using paper/plastic cups whenever I can. But, I also enjoy when all of my cups match. The perfect solution? Mason jars.
Chances are, you probably have a bunch in storage or your kitchen cabinets anyway. If you don’t, you can get them at any thrift store for cheeeeeaaaaap. They are also a phenomenal multipurpose item because you can use them for vases, or to display things like utensils. Big or small, we use them all, and you definitely need some on hand.
Since we’re talking drinks, we probably need a drink dispenser. This sounds unnecessary, but it will save you time and money.
It’s so easy to throw some water or lemonade into a drink dispenser. I also love using them if there will be kids at the party, because it helps avoid messes and opening multiple bottles of soda, etc. Plus, they just look really nice, which is always a plus.
This next item is a must if you want your party to look classy and professional: extra table cloths/linens. Please, for the love of all things party, do not put out a folding table without a linen.
This is 100% the critic/design side of me talking, but I don’t even care ya’ll. Linens are inexpensive and take your party aesthetic to the next level. You can get fun, colorful ones, or just have a few white/black on hand to match anything. I promise, one you use one, you’ll never go back.
Also an essential for the drinks, an ice bucket. I didn’t know how much I needed this until I got one, and now I use it every chance I get!
Having ice and drinks available throughout the whole party is super nice for your guests and also means less work for you during the party! We love things that are ready to go so you can enjoy the party too!
Let’s not forget the one that your guests will thank you for most: extra chairs. Extra people alwaysssss show up to parties. Maybe they forgot to RSVP, or maybe they just tagged along with a friend. Regardless, you want to have a seat for them because that’s just the kind of host you are.
It’s also nice to have some extra chairs to pull out if the party is outside. People like to sit. There are some great folding chair options that look cute too! I prefer these so they are easy to store.
Cute Napkins and Straws
Last but not least, I always have these on hand: cute napkins and straws. If I am hosting a party, or even having a few friends over for dinner, I am always pulling out my cute napkins.
It’s that extra little detail that makes your guests feel special, and trust me, they notice. I definitely get excited when I see cute napkins and straws at the store, (I’m a nerd, I know), and I get even more excited when I get to use them! I always find great ones at the dollar store and the Target dollar section. I also always buy paper straws because we love mother nature. Plastic, reusable straws are also a great option to have on hand!
Hosting can be hard and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Do yourself a favor and keep some of these things on hand. The best part? Most of these things can be found at thrift stores. For the rest, try the dollar store! Buy it once and save yourself some money in the future.
If you live in an apartment or don't have much storage, don't worry! You can also always rent all of these things from us. We can’t wait to see your party planning skills come to life!