Everything You Need to Throw a Dinner Party on a Budget

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It’s easy to accidentally spend way too much money on a dinner party. One minute you’re casually inviting over all your friends for a potluck, and the next thing you know you’re emerging from a fugue state having bought half of Pottery Barn.

But whether it’s your first dinner party or you’ve been entertaining for years, there are plenty of places to find all the flatware and dishes you might need in a pinch. The trick is to know when to splurge and when to hit up Amazon. For instance, a fancy pitcher, cheese board, or serving platter will do more to impress your guests than expensive wineglasses. Scroll on for the Cut’s guide to party essentials on a budget.

Sophisticated Flatware

Lekoch Stainless Steel Flatware Set
$23, Amazon

Gold or iridescent utensils will dress up a place setting more than a basic silver set.

Urban Outfitters Electroplated Flatware Set
$56, Spring

Simple Plates

Urban Outfitters 12-Piece Modern Dinnerware Set
$99, Spring

Complicated patterns can overshadow the food. Try a simple, restaurant-quality white plate, or dinnerware in the color of the moment.

6-Piece Dinner Plate Set
$20, Amazon

Nice Drinking Glasses

Libbey Heavy Base Glasses
$11, Amazon

These mouth-blown confetti glasses from Hawkins New York will make your sparkling water feel like a special spritzer at Le Bain. Or go the simple route and pick up an affordable set on Amazon.

Hawkins New York Confetti Glasses
$14, Need Supply

An Arty Pitcher

Stoneware Pitcher
$25, H&M

Stoneware is always classic, but if this H&M pitcher is too plain for your taste, Ralph Lauren’s marble option looks like a piece from The Frick.

Ralph Lauren Home Bennington Pitcher
$79, Spring

An Elevated Serving Platter

Hasami Porcelain Plate
$96, Need Supply

Sometimes the most delicious food is not the most beautiful. Make everything a little more Instagrammable with an elevated platter.

Perasima Platter
$58, Anthropologie

Because Your Sides Need to Go Somewhere

Ore-Edged Serving Bowl
$36, Anthropologie

If your dish doesn’t spread nicely on a platter, get a beautiful serving bowl. It’s worth splurging here since it’ll double as the centerpiece of your tablescape, hopefully for many dinner parties to come.

Hawkins New York Confetti Serving Bowl
$65, Need Supply

A Fantastic Cheese Board

Creative Home Marble Cheese Board
$25, Amazon

Amazon’s marble cheese board is almost identical to one three times the price at Need Supply, while this agate cheese board is simply beautiful.

Agate Cheese Board
$78, Anthropologie

Dress Up Your Table

Snowe Table Runner
$48, Spring

Since you already splurged on pretty platters and bowls, all you need is a simple runner to tie everything together. Choose a muted color, and finish it off with a vase of fresh flowers.

An Expensive-Looking Serving Set

Dora Serving Set
$25, Anthropologie

You can pretty much find a nice serving set anywhere, but this one from Anthropologie (on sale!) looks way more expensive than it is.
$38

Simple Wineglasses

Bormioli Rocco Restaurant Wine Glasses
$17, Amazon

The average person can’t distinguish between a $30 wineglass versus a $10 one, so don’t bother to spend a load in this department.

Cool Napkins to Wipe Away the Mess

Marble Print Paper Napkins
$5, Zara

Creative napkins like these are less than $5 and so much more fun than a roll of Bounty.

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Everything You Need to Throw a Dinner Party on a Budget