It’s officially holiday hosting season and even though gatherings will be smaller this year, now is a great time to assemble or refresh your hosting essentials. These are tools to keep on hand for anything from a couple of pop-up guests to a fancy dinner party. The hostess starter pack consists of the little things every good hostess should keep on hand to make guests feel welcome and ensure hosting is as easy as possible.

Bar Cart

Whether or not you plan to serve alcohol, a bar cart is a versatile serving tool that allows you to bring the party anywhere in your home. I have quite an expansive collection of spirits and such so I use a bar cabinet to house it, which free up my bar cart for a variety of uses:

Bloody Mary Bar | Build a Bouquet Bar | Drink Station

Beverage Dispenser

A beverage dispense is an inexpensive yet chic way to serve juices, punch, or water (preferably infused). As a hostess, there’s no need to attend to the drinks and guests can serve themselves, which is my kind of southern hospitality.

Cake Stand

Cake stands aren’t just for cakes. You can display all kinds of food and non-food items on one. I like to use cake stands on grazing tables and boards and bar carts to add dimension and interest.


Candles add ambiance, fragrance, and style to a space. You can transform your table to a tablescape with just a few candles. I like to mix tapers, votives, and jarred candles when hosting to set the right mood.

Cheese Board

Putting a variety of snacks and appetizers on a cheese board makes for easy and interactive, yet hands-off hosting. Every hostess needs one in her arsenal and there are so many beautiful ones to choose from no matter your budget.

Chic Slippers

I fully believe in being comfortable at home but still want to look and feel put together when hosting. So Birdies are one of my hostess essentials. They’re polished and easy to wear and everyone always asks about them.


Good hosting is all about making guests feel at ease and making things easy on yourself so I’m all about hands-off meals. But a crockpot or slow cooker can also keep food and drinks warm during a party.

Pulled BBQ Chicken Sliders

Red Wine Hot Chocolate

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

Ice Bucket

In order to stay in the mix of things and not break away from guests when hosting, I find it useful to have an ice bucket on hand. This cuts down on trips to the kitchen and makes for a stylish home bar addition.

Serving Platter

Whether you’re serving something homemade or store-bought, fancy or simple, put it on a platter. This allows everyone to grab from it easily and elevates the entire situation.

Vase or Vessel

Fresh flowers are a hostess essential that you can have on hand or receive from well-trained guests. Either way, you need a vase to put them in. I recommend having a variety of vases in different sizes, styles, and colors but you’ll only need one for your starter kit. Arrange fresh flowers, fruit, or other decor in it.

I hope this hostess starter pack gets you set for your next gathering. These hosting essentials are timeless pieces that will serve you for years to come. And sharing is caring so be sure to pin the hostess starter pack on Pinterest. Thanks for reading!

decorative image for pinterest
decorative image for pinterest