Being a great hostess doesn’t have to mean months of planning

Whether it’s a last-minute cocktail party or an intimate dinner gathering, you’ll be sure to shine at your next event as long as you have the top hostess essentials.

Just stick to the basics, and good conversation won’t be a problem with the following items, guaranteed to make your guests feel appreciated and comfortable – no matter what the occasion.

1. Basic dinnerware. When it comes to plating your cuisine, simple is best. Choose dishes that can accompany any hors d’oeuvre or entrée, while still complementing your own personal style. This essential also gives you the freedom to add color and design, depending on your event.

2. Simple Stemware and Glassware. As a hostess, stay in the clear with a wide variety of bar glasses to satisfy the beverage selection of each guest. We recommend products that meet the three S’s: sturdy, sleek and simple.

3. Serveware and Utensils. So, you have your food. Now, how will you serve it? Displaying the proper platters is especially important when serving bite-sized fare or a broad buffet.  Remember, whether it’s toothpicks or serving spoons, be sure to set out suitable utensils for each tasty treat.

4. Wine and Bottle Opener. Cap off your hostess essentials with an opener that can tackle any bottle in its path.

5. Eye-catching Ice Bucket. Ensure that your guests’ drinks stay cool all night long with an appealing ice bucket.

6. Coasters and Cocktail Napkins. Save your guests, as well as your coffee table, from getting watered down with a stack of trendy coasters and cocktail napkins. Add a personalized touch with custom photo coasters or colorful napkins that complement your party’s theme.

Be a Savvy Hostess

Here’s some more tips for making your guests feel right at home:

Luminous Lighting: Set the mood for your event with lighting that sparks conversation, but doesn’t require sunglasses.

Mood Music: Stay on key with a playlist that compliments your party’s theme. Keep the volume high enough to defer any awkward silences, but low enough that your guests won’t have to scream.

Tackle your Temp: Nothing heats up a party faster than a group of people in one room. Keep an eye on your thermostat to ensure your guests aren’t breaking a sweat over their Sangria.

Don’t Go Into Hiding. Save the cleaning and dish duty until after your guests leave. Avoid becoming a missing hostess by being cooped up in your kitchen all night.

Keep Your Cool. So what if co-worker Bob’s told the same joke three times? As long as you’re smiling, you’ll send the message of a stress-free environment.

Know When to Call It a Night

There are other ways to send your guests on their way without coming downstairs in your pajamas.

• Clear the table and bar area of any untouched food or beverages. Offer your guests leftovers to take home.

• Mention an early day or a long workweek.

• Thank your attendees for coming, adding that you hope to see them again next time.