life·10 min read

16 Things You Need if You're Planning a Party

planning-a-party
Design: theSkimm | Photos: Coming Soon
Jun 9, 2022

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It’s party season, people. Get ready for long nights and sunny mornings spent laughing and catching up with your batch of best friends (including family members, obviously). We know as well as anyone that party planning can be stressful. And you’d much rather spend your time enjoying the actual event than making sure each guest has exactly what they need.

So, let us help you prepare. We’ve found everything that’ll help you serve and entertain your guests, plus a few extra things (like an oyster platter) that’s just too cute to pass up. It’s party time.

A dinnerware set that’s made to look vintage…

Each one of these marbled glass plates and bowls is one of a kind, so it’ll look like you inherited them from your grandmother. Shh…we won’t tell a soul where you actually got them from. You can mix and match side plates, dinner plates, everyday bowls, and low bowls. Your table never looked so good. ($98+, Uncommon Goods)

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A food tent to keep critters and creepy crawlers away…

If your gathering is outdoors, you’ll want to make sure pesky flies and bugs can’t reach the food you meticulously prepared. Enter: This handwoven, collapsible tent that’ll keep everything covered. It’s large enough to shield a whole picnic spread, but folds flat so it can easily be stored in a drawer or closet. Customers also love that it has a ring on top so it can conveniently hang on a hook. ($30+, Food52)

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A set of molds to make your own popsicles…

Name a better summer dessert than homemade popsicles. We can’t think of one. Thanks to these stainless steel molds that’ll never fall over or spill, it’s easier than ever. Just fill with your favorite juice and fresh fruit, then pop on the lids that ensure your popsicle sticks are always in the center. We’re in awe. ($40, Food52)

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A set of rainbow cocktail glasses with built-in shot glasses…

Peep these delightful glasses with an hourglass shape. One side is designed for taking or measuring a shot’s worth of alcohol, while the other side can hold a glass of wine or a cocktail. They come in six different monochrome colors, and are guaranteed to be the talk of the party. Yes, they’re a splurge item, but you’ll be able to forever display them on your bar cart. Cute. ($150, Coming Soon)

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A citronella candle that you can use inside or outside…

Most citronella candles are not exactly pretty looking, and they often smell so strongly of mosquito repellent that it’s a bit unpleasant. Not this one. It’s made for both indoor and outdoor use, so the citronella — while still being effective at keeping mosquitoes away — is masked by a lovely scent of lavender and thyme. Plus, the floral glass vessel is adorable and can be used as a jewelry storage container once the wax has melted. ($44, Anthropologie)

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A bug zapper if you want to actively take on pests…

This tennis racket-looking bug zapper has a 4,000-volt grid to kill mosquitoes, flies, and gnats with one swing. It can be used inside or outside, and features safety measures like an ‘on’ button and indicator light. Aka you’ll know when it’s active so no one will accidentally zap themself. It comes in three sizes, and customers love how bright the built-in LED light is so you can even zap bugs at night. ($29.99+/2 pack, Amazon)

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A set of cocktail branches for a make-your-own bloody mary bar…

These stainless steel picks are about to be the star of your next brunch. Guests can use them to make their own bloody mary toppers with celery, olives, bacon, or whatever other fun garnishes you provide. They’re also great for topping mimosas with fresh fruit. When the party’s over, just pop them in the dishwasher for easy cleaning. ($18, Uncommon Goods)

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A wooden board so you can put your charcuterie skills to the test…

This split-level board comes with everything you need to put together a cheese board that’s a work of art. The upper semicircle has a groove to keep crackers or veggies in line, while the ceramic bowls (which store easily on the lower level) are just begging to be filled with hummus, honey, jam, or other dips and dressings. Plus, a small drawer pops out with three cheese knives. Customers love that it’s made of bamboo, so it’s easy to wipe clean when the snacking portion of the evening is over. What more could you ask for? ($69+, Amazon)

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A couple of lanterns so the party doesn’t have to stop come sundown…

These LED lanterns are collapsible and have fans on top to keep you cool. (Instantly adds to cart.) They’re incredibly portable (collapsing down to just 6 inches in height), so they’re just as easily used in your backyard as on a camping trip or at the beach. They come in three colors and run on AA batteries. Customers say they also come in handy when the power goes out. ($20.60/2 pack, HSN)

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A pack of reusable plastic plates to keep clean-up at a minimum…

These heavy-duty plastic plates are strong enough to withstand being piled high with food like lasagna, but are prettier than your average paper plate. You’ll get 100 dinner plates and 100 salad plates, each with an elegant gold trim. Plus, they’re nontoxic, BPA-free, and can easily be washed and reused. ($70.99, Amazon)

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A painted platter so you can serve oysters in style…

Do you absolutely need an oyster platter? Maybe not. But this one is too pretty to pass up and will add to your tablescape immensely. It’s hand-glazed and painted with a nautical shell pattern that embodies summer. Fill it with a layer of ice, then nestle the oysters on top, adding cocktail or vinegar sauce to the middle. Bonus: It’s dishwasher- and microwave-safe. ($28, Anthropologie)

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A lightweight metal tub that’ll serve as a cooler…

Fill this galvanized tub with ice, then pop in your drinks for the occasion to keep them cool. It looks great outside, and is surprisingly lightweight so you won’t throw your back out if you need to move it. Don’t worry, there are also drainage holes in the bottom if the ice starts to melt. ($44.73, Amazon)

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A glass beverage dispenser so guests can get their own refills…

Designed to look like a mason jar, this 1-gallon dispenser puts your summer punch on display. It has a stainless steel spout that’ll never drip or spill, plus a removable cylinder you can fill with ice to keep contents within cool. Customers confirm it really doesn’t leak, unlike many beverage dispensers on the market. ($33.99+, Amazon)

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A deck of cards, because you can never know your friends too well…

Kickstart the deep conversations with this get-to-know-you card game. There are 150 questions and three levels to progress through as the night goes on. Customers say it’s great to play with your best friends, family, or even people you just met. ($20+, Amazon)

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A notepad to keep you organized…

If you ask us, party planning calls for a new notepad. This one has spaces for details, supplies needed, and a checklist. You definitely won’t forget to pick up the cake or a bag of ice if you can check it off this list. The pad has 50 sheets, so unless you’re planning 50 parties this year (impressive), it should last a while. ($10, Erin Condren)

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A set of string lights to give your party a glow…

These patio string lights will make guests want to linger after the sun has set thanks to the dreamy Edison bulbs. They’re dimmable, durable, and easily installed. Customers note that it’s easier to hang them if you take out the bulbs first, then screw them back in once the string is in place. Voilà. ($14.40+, Amazon)

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