Though it's a great time to entertain any time of year, there's something about the crisp fall weather, the upcoming holidays and the season that just makes entertaining the thing to do. Get a head-start on entertaining season this year by getting these five things in tip-top shape now. You'll have more time to plan the fun part of parties and enjoy your guests!
Assess your dinnerware
Pull out your dinner plates, dessert plates and glasses to check for missing pieces, chips, scratches and more. Think about how many people you'd like to entertain this upcoming season — will you be hosting intimate dinners of a few or large dinner parties — and consider how many place settings you'll need (and how formal you'd like those place settings to be). You can buy more to match the sets you have, or you can get creative with vintage finds to mix and match old and new to make sure you have enough plates to serve everyone. Don't forget to take a look at your napkins and (if applicable) tablecloths to see if those are in the kind of shape you'd like, too.
Inspect your cook- and servingware
It's not just the place settings and the things your guests will be eating off of that you need to inspect before high entertaining season hits, you want to check out what you'll be using to cook the food! Are your pots and pans on their last leg? Do you have all the types of implements and tools you'll need for what you have planned? You don't have to have every one of your recipes figured out for the rest of the year, but chances are there's something you've been meaning to add to your tool collection for awhile. You can start saving for a new item now so you can buy it in time for entertaining, or you can start searching for gently used and secondhand kitchen tools now.
Check out the dining area
Where will you be seating the folks you're entertaining? If you have a dining room, consider taking a deep look at your dining room table and chairs. If they're made of wood, spruce up the wood by fixing dents, chips, scratches and more. See if you need to fix any broken pieces or chairs. Take the opportunity to update the look or comfort of your chairs and tables. If you don't have a dining room, work on coming up with a plan that will fit folks into the rest of your space.
Work on your bar
Whether you're having a formal dinner or not, if you and your guests drink alcohol, chances are you'll want to have a place (probably stylish) that can hold your booze collection and bar tools. It can be a whole bar cart that's tucked in the dining room or living room, or just a tray placed atop a credenza or table top. The point is to create a streamlined, stripped down area where you keep all your entertaining goodies so you can get a drink in someone's hand quickly and stylishly. If you're not a drinker — or in addition to a booze bar — consider also a coffee or tea bar for guests, as well.
Decide where (and how) folks will sleep
Since overnight guests are sometimes a part of entertaining season, start thinking about where you'll put guests sleeping in your home and how they'll sleep. Do a little deep cleaning of your guest room, clean out the inside of your sofa. Check to see if your air mattress is free of holes. Acquire more sheets and pillows if necessary. Or, research area hotels and Airbnb listings to have options for guests you can't fit into your space.