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Must-Have Party Supplies

Keeping a few must-have party supplies on hand will keep costs (and stress levels) lower when you're prepping for your next gathering. Here's our list of essentials for party decorating, planning, and serving.


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    • Mason Jars

      There are oodles of ways to use a collection of mason jars at your party: as drink glasses, candle holders, vases, or snack containers. The classic looking jars are inexpensive and inject vintage charm into any gathering.

    • Pretty Plates

      A few patterned plates mixed in with your regular servingware is an easy way to keep your buffet table looking fun and modern. Troll sales and vintage shops for pretty, inexpensive finds.

      Editor's Tip: Keep full sets of 6-inch salad plates and 12-inch dinner plates as a go-to, and mix in fun found plates when you can.

    • Floral Foam

      To make magazine-worthy floral arrangements and centerpieces, floral foam is a must-have. After a quick soak in water, the foam is ready for your flowers and greens.

      Editor's Tip: To make your arrangement last beyond the celebration, place it in the sink and gently soak with water every three to four days. Fruit may need to be removed earlier.

    • Ribbon

      When decorating for a party, we’re shameless about using ribbon. We use it to tie silverware, decorate dining chairs, and wrap party favors. Best yet: keeping a few rolls of nonholiday ribbon around is also great for wrapping birthday packages.

    • Stocked Bar

      If all else fails, a brimming bar cart will keep your party afloat. Not sure what to buy? We keep our bar padded with vodka, gin, whiskey, and rum, for starters. Soda water, tonic, and citrus fruits are good mixers to have on hand.

    • Candles

      Glowing candlelight makes even the most casual party feel special. As a minimum, we like to have white votive candles and taper candles on hand, but keeping an array of sizes and colors will have you prepared for anything. Stock up when you see a sale.

    • Party Snacks

      Keeping a few nonperishable snacks in the pantry will save you time and money when building your party menu. We love a mix of salty and sweet: chocolate candies, microwaveable popcorn, mixed nuts, and dried fruit.

    • Paper Napkins

      Pretty paper napkins might seem like a no-brainer, but having to use a paper towel in a pinch is just not as cute. Stock up on fun patterns and colors to be party-ready.

      Editor's Tip: Layer two napkins and punch a pretty shape through the top one. The bottom napkin will show through.

    • Serving Trays

      Plates, platters, trays, and even cutting boards are all fun ways to serve party appetizers. We like to mix shapes, colors, and sizes for the most festive look.

      Editor's Tip: When displaying food, consider a color scheme. We love the way the chartreuse bowls and olives shown here play off the cranberry-color tray.

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      Party Playlist

      Keep a running playlist of new songs as you find them, so you're not scrambling for a party soundtrack hours before the event begins. Even better, have a couple playlists prepared for different types of parties. Rat Pack-era standards are great for formal parties, while pop favorites are perfect for a cocktail hour.

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      Next Slideshow Party-Ready Finger Food Ideas

      Party-Ready Finger Food Ideas

      Get your party started with easy and delicious finger foods. Our appetizers, snacks, and bite-size sweets are easy to make and fun to enjoy while mingling.
      Begin Slideshow »

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