entertaining :: first dinner party essentials with pottery barn

When fall finally settles in it signifies a cozy and intimate season – entertaining season. Our schedule quickly become happily full with football games and dinner parties, family gatherings, and the holidays. I remember when we got married our first gathering was a cocktail party for our friends at our new house – complete with an abundance of food and great cocktails. Little did we know that would be the first of hundreds of parties we’ll throw!

If you’re finalizing your wedding registry and mapping out how to throw your first dinner party, we have a great guide created for you, sure to fill your home with the best entertaining must-haves that will allow you to effortlessly create a dinner party for two or twenty in a snap. We’re happy to present this guide for Pottery Barn – if you’re in the registry stages, we recommend starting here!

STEP ONE: determine the style of party you’re throwing – a casual dinner party, a full-fledged formal sit-down gathering, a cocktail party, or an open house.

STEP TWO: choose your guest list based on the style of party and think about creating a fun experience with the guest list. Know a really witty guests who will liven up the party? Add them to your list!

STEP THREE: choose decor the will reflect what you’re celebrating – for this dinner party we chose the gorgeous Mercury Glass Pumpkins from Pottery Barn as they are beautiful on their own but can be dressed to feel more Halloween-inspired or more elegant for a Thanksgiving table.

STEP FOUR: lay out all of your elements. To be ready for your first dinner party, we highly recommend registering for –

12 champagne flutes

12 Crafthouse Coupe Glasses

12 Schott Zweisel Audrey Wine Glasses

12 Aaron Probyn Bone China Dinner Plates (so versatile!)

12 Schott Zwiesel Stemless White Wine Glasses

Classic white rectangular serving platter (great for desserts!)

When you have your essentials in hand, stage them on the kitchen counter or sideboard to take inventory (tip: this also makes for a beautiful presentation!)

STEP FIVE: be ready for your guests and have candles illuminated and pour champagne as guests arrive. Leave yourself some grace and make the welcome cocktails (or mocktails) really simple – a fresh herb garnish like rosemary or thyme or a muddled blackberry placed in each flute will instantly elevate the glass but won’t take too much time! STEP SIX: create a welcoming vignette with a large vase and faux leaves or flowers (they can easily be interchanged throughout the season with vines from your garden or found on a neighborhood walk, or with store-bought blooms). The Turning Leaf Branches do the trick! We actually moved this arrangement out onto our porch after this gathering and it’s the perfect start-of-fall touch.

We set this table top with all of the essentials we mentioned above – and it looks so full and inviting, but not at all overwhelming. We recommend dressing place settings with only the amount of glasses and pieces of flatware that will actually be used. If a guest is presented with 4 forks but only one or two will be used, it can feel a bit impractical. 

This gorgeous Potter Barn dough bowl is so versatile – we used it with hydrangeas from our yard and grape vines, and then swapped those out for a fresh look with faux autumn leaves.

These painterly Watercolor Leaves Salad Plates are charming and fun – and can be used for a salad course or for desserts or appetizer plates.

Picture-perfect for fall….

STEP SEVEN: sit back and enjoy your handiwork! You’ve created your very first dinner party setting. Keeping things simple but using elegant elements and our favorite essentials will paint such a festive celebration. Enjoy!

Bonus: swap out your early fall leaves or flowers for rich red or orange hues for a warm Thanksgiving table!

Oh, and don’t forget to dress a mantel! Our open fireplace was just calling for some autumn dressing!

Styling and tips by Valley & Company Events || Photos by Katie Parra Photo 


This is a sponsored post in partnership with Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Registry but all opinions are our own

Share this story