Like it or not, the season for entertaining is almost here. Depending on how the weather is in your part of the world, it may be time to retire your patio for a while and move the party — literally — inside for all the upcoming holidays. And whether you pride yourself on your impeccable hosting skills, or you could use a little help in that department, there's no reason you can't put together some totally memorable fetes for family and friends in the coming months. In either case, it's crucial to have some entertaining essentials on hand, but you might be surprised to learn that you don't always have to splurge when shopping for them.
First things first: What's your entertaining style this season? Do you prefer to go over-the-top autumnal? Or would you rather only buy pieces you can still use throughout the year? If you're in the former category, there are actually plenty of chic, not cheesy decor finds that can carry you through the season. Some of your favorite affordable retailers — like Target and World Market — offer elegant takes on classic motifs like pumpkins and leaves (Think unexpected color palettes or a touch of metallic) so you can still get all the fall feels.
There are also some key pieces that are game-changers regardless of the season, like a good set of wine glasses, a charcuterie and cheese board, stylish serving trays, and even a versatile dinnerware set that will carry you through the entertaining season — without having to break the bank. You can find totally chic and minimal options at super stylish home decor retailers like Urban Outfitters, Zara Home, and H&M Home. Mix and match these pieces with more festive ones so that you can whip up a holiday tablescape and use them for any affair.
To get a leg up on this year's entertaining, see the ahead 10 essentials that aren't just totally useful and stylish for throwing a holiday dinner or cocktail party, but also surprisingly wallet-friendly. In fact, they'll all cost you under $40.
Save on getting separate red and white glassware sets for your fall wines and stick with a stemless option. This one from World Market has a touch of gold, which will make your table setting instantly feel more glamorous.
As for what to serve all your healthy fall recipes on, the best bang for your buck is a neutral, multi-piece set from an affordable store like IKEA. You can also dress it up with accessories (like your napkins, napkin rings, or placemats) to give it some more punch.
This table runner from Target is just the right amount of fall vibes without being too on-the-nose.
Whip up a batch of fall cocktails in this gold-flecked pitcher to truly impress your guests.
Whether you're doing a sit-down dinner or not, a good cheese plate is an absolute entertaining must. For just $15, it's hard to beat this one from World Market that also includes three different knives for serving.
Another subtle seasonal hint could come in the form of these gold napkin rings.
This serving tray is pretty much art, so it's the perfect vessel to display the food you've been slaving over. And for under $30, the price is pretty tough to beat.
A neutral linen napkin is always a safe — but chic — bet to have on hand. But this set from West Elm also has the slightest touch of gold if you want to dress things up a bit.
Peace is a great message no matter what holiday you and your guests celebrating, which is why this little wooden snack bowl is the ideal vessel for bites during cocktail hour.
Really want to make your guests feel like they're at a formal affair? Serve them drinks on a marble tray, like this one from CB2 which looks totally expensive at just $35.