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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.
Lekoch Stainless Steel Flatware Set
Gold or iridescent utensils will dress up a place setting more than a basic silver set.
Urban Outfitters Electroplated Flatware Set
Urban Outfitters 12-Piece Modern Dinnerware Set
Complicated patterns can overshadow the food. Try a simple, restaurant-quality white plate, or dinnerware in the color of the moment.
Nice Drinking Glasses
Libbey Heavy Base Glasses
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
An Arty Pitcher
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
An Elevated Serving Platter
Hasami Porcelain Plate
Sometimes the most delicious food is not the most beautiful. Make everything a little more Instagrammable with an elevated platter.
Because Your Sides Need to Go Somewhere
Ore-Edged Serving Bowl
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
A Fantastic Cheese Board
Creative Home Marble Cheese Board
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.
Dress Up Your Table
Snowe Table Runner
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
You can pretty much find a nice serving set anywhere, but this one from Anthropologie (on sale!) looks way more expensive than it is.
Bormioli Rocco Restaurant Wine Glasses
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
Creative napkins like these are less than $5 and so much more fun than a roll of Bounty.
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