Hosting a Dinner Party: What You Need

I started this blog because I love hosting and doing it on a budget.

My husband and I had our first formal dinner party last year and the process of putting that together inspired me to start this blog because I loved it so much.

On Instagram I always saw these amazing tables, and wanted to try to do the same with a much smaller budget.

This post is a quick introduction and tips on building up your inventory.

Most likely I will do a full series of posts about the topic in the future, but wanted to put something together before the holiday season for anyone wanting to get started.

What You Need

I’ll break this up into what you really need, and what is optional.


The most important thing is the dinnerware. The good news is, you don’t need anything fancy. I often use our plain white plates and find other ways to dress up the table, like below:

The plates above is the Aspen collection from Crate and Barrel, which I mentioned in my post about what I registered for.

But if you can, I highly suggest getting some china. I love collecting and using china, I think it makes the table just that much more special.

I wrote a whole post about this below, but will share some quick tips.

Recommended: All About Fine China

My biggest piece of advice is to ask family and friends. I’ve received lots of hand me downs that are great quality and didn’t have to pay anything.

If that doesn’t work out, I recommend Facebook Marketplace, estate sales, and thrift stores.

You can also of course buy new, but this will be the most expensive option.


Water glasses, wine glasses, champagne flutes, etc. I would say you definitely need wine glasses and water glasses. I suggest getting something universal and building your collection from there.

Recommended: Affordable Wine Glasses to Dress Up Your Table


Don’t over look the utensils. It is easy to forget about until you’re setting the table. Make sure you have enough for the amount of people coming over.

I love this gold set I got from Walmart. See the post below for other affordable options.

Recommended: Affordable Flatware


Don’t forget the napkins. Depending on the occasion, I use cloth or paper.

World Market has a great color selection of napkins at an affordable price, and I suggest checking out HomeGoods as well.

For paper napkins I usually go to Dollar Tree or Walmart.

Serving Dishes and Utensils

This is easy to overlook, but make sure you have enough dishes to serve your food out of and utensils to serve them. You may not be used to having to serve this many sides at once, so plan accordingly.

What is Nice, But Not Necessary

Here are some things that are nice to have for your table, but not necessary.

Prioritize the things above, and if you have budget for it then you can look at these.

Chargers and Placemats

If you can afford it, I do recommend them.

Chargers add an extra layer to the design, but ultimately aren’t necessary.

Dollar Tree always has basic chargers that go with anything and of course only cost a dollar.

Another good option are placemats. I love these jute placemats I bought at Walmart for less than $3 each.

Candlesticks and Centerpieces

I love having candles at the table. Such a classic look and adds warmth to your dinner.

I also really enjoy simple centerpieces, usually hydrangeas or whatever I can find at Trader Joe’s.

Candlestick holders are one of those things you can find almost anywhere. I have gotten all of mine through family or through estate sales so ask around or buy second hand.

The candle itself is a great way to add extra color to your table.

Now you have everything you need!

The first step is making sure you are prepared. The first time can be expensive if you don’t already have these things but it gets easier.

In a later blog post I will break down the day of the dinner party and what you should know.

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