When it comes to entertaining, there are some essentials: food, booze, tunes—you know the drill. But over the years, we’ve found some handy products that elevate our get-togethers and make our lives easier in the process. Whether it’s for a small gathering or a full-blown party, here are our editors’ favorite things to have on hand for hosting.
Fun Cocktail Napkins
I love keeping fun napkins on hand, which can take any random last minute party supplies and make them feel more cohesive and festive. I particularly enjoy the selection from Emily McDowell, like these cheeky, Instagram-ready “party thoughts by the numbers.” —Laura Schocker, digital director
To buy: $6 for 20, emilymcdowell.com.
My fiancé and I always incorporate ladder golf into our summer parties. It’s a crowd-pleaser for all ages and totally breaks the ice if guests don’t know each other very well. This one, made of PVC pipes, breaks down to small pieces that fit into a bag for easy off-season storage. —Stephanie Sisco, home editor
To buy: $46, amazon.com.
Cucumbers, potato chips and Greek yogurt—random combination, I know—but we always have them in the pantry/fridge come Memorial Day. Slice up the cucumber and put out the chips, then whip up a quick dip with yogurt, lemon zest and juice, a clove or two of grated garlic (use a microplane!), salt, and lots of black pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and everybody thinks you’re a hero. —Dawn Perry, food director
To buy: $10.80, amazon.com.
UE BOOM 2 Phantom Wireless Mobile Bluetooth Speaker
For years I looked for the perfect speakers. I wanted something that was small and portable, but also loud. This is not the cheapest Bluetooth speaker on the market, but is definitely worth it for its durability and exceptional sound. —Nora Horvath, editorial assistant
To buy: $130, amazon.com.
I always like to have good beer on hand for summer parties, and cans are so much easier than bottles (lightweight, no breakage, easy to carry to the recycling). A cooler full of a single type of beer also looks uniform and pretty. My new go-to is Half Acre Pony Pilsner out of Chicago. After serving it a few times, I’ve found that the flavor appeals to both people who love Pilsner and also people who love IPAs, so it’s a true crowd pleaser and a safe bet. —Leslie Yazel, editor-in-chief
To buy: $10 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans, binnys.com.
Alternately, if you’re not a beer person, VRAC makes an excellent boxed rosé—a little too easy to drink. —Dawn Perry, food director
To buy: $29 for three liters, bottlerocket.com.
Imusa Granite Mortar & Pestle Molcajete
I’m known in our circle of friends and family for my guacamole (if I do say so myself!), so I always make a fresh batch right before people come over to serve as a yummy appetizer. The masher ensures the consistency of the avocados is perfect every time, plus the bowl is super pretty to serve in (it alleviates the mess of having to transfer the dip into a serving bowl). —Heather Muir, beauty director
To buy: $30; macys.com.
Kikkerland Paper Straws
I always have Kikkerland fancy straws on hand for entertaining. They dress up any glass for very little money, and everyone loves them at parties! —Elizabeth Sile, senior editor
To buy: $4 for a box of 144, amazon.com.
KitchenAid Food Processor
When it comes to entertaining for a crowd or a few, I always stick to big batch dips. Whether I’m making a big batch of salsa and guacamole or hummus and tzatziki sauce, I always turn to my KitchenAid. I also love making a pitcher of big-batch margaritas, watermelon refreshers, or fruit-infused sparkling water, which all can be made in the same food processor. —Rebecca Longshore, social media manager
To buy: $75, amazon.com.
A nice chambray tablecloth does wonders to dress a food table up and suits multiple summer holiday themes. —Rebecca Hart, digital art director
To buy: $98, serenaandlily.com.
Bad But Beautiful, Eartha Kitt on Vinyl
I have a record player that I like to use at parties. I think the music comes out just soft enough where it’s not overpowering. Eartha Kitt is timeless to me, but she’s especially fitting for summertime parties. Especially her album Bad But Beautiful. There’s just something about it that lifts the mood with friends and family. —Hannah Norling, assistant producer
To buy: $25, amazon.com.