Every girl has milestones in life, rites of passage that define who she is and who she’ll be. There are all of those awkward ones (we’ll stop there), and then there are the super special ones. First kisses, first after-school job, first road trip with no destination in sight taken… you get the picture. Everyone follows different paths, hopping different stepping stones toward the ultimate goal: full-fledged womanhood. However, there is one challenge that no young woman can avoid. The dinner party daunts even the most seasoned hostess of cocktail get-togethers. If your first combined test of culinary brilliance and party-planning grace approaches (in time for Friendsgiving, no less), fear not! Study these tips and arm yourself with the 15 dinner party essentials below and you’re sure to receive the sash and tiara for “Best Party-Thrower” in your friend group before the holidays are over.
2. Lantern String Lights ($38): Who says string lights are just for Christmas? These little lanterns will instantly set the mood for your harvest feast. They also come in different color combinations, so get one for every season.
3. Multi-colored Wall Decals ($30): You don’t NEED fancy walls for a fierce autumn harvest dinner, but nothing says festive like these removable confetti stick-ons in mustard, pink and taupe.
4. Floral Confetti ($14): Give your party a pop with an eco-friendly version of a classic celebration staple. Dried rose, lilac and hydrangea petals will give your tablescape some serious rustic flair.
6. Bourbon Marshmallows ($8): Plop these bad boys on sweet potatoes and bake for a boozy version of what mama used to make. We’ll keep it a secret if you sneak a few before your squad arrives ;)
7. DIY Bacon Kit ($24): Yeah, bacon *may* not be that great for us, but we’ll still wrap it around figs or crumble it on Brussels sprouts. Or really anything, TBH. #truelove
8. Rosemary Beer Bread ($8): No fall feast is complete without gluttony, and carbs are without a doubt the tastiest of temptations. Complete your spread with a loaf of sourdough baked with your favorite brew.
9. Anti-Hangover Cocktail Mixer ($23): Nothing beats celebratory libations with your crew, but don’t let the next day’s headaches get in the way of your dinner party memories. Your guests will thank you.
10. Mason Jar Cocktail Shaker ($29): Whether you’re the next great mixologist or a passionate newbie, a host must have her cocktail shaker.
11. Jigger ($9): Unless your eye-balling abilities are on point, this bar tool is your best bet for cocktails as perfect as your grandma’s pumpkin pie. (Fingers crossed she’ll finally give you the recipe!)
12. Lomo’Instant Camera ($119): Before this sophisticated gadget, there was the Polaroid, and for the nostalgic millennial, this is the perfect party trick. You may not be able to instantly share your gal pal’s killer toast (or her stunning outfit for that matter), but you can stick the photos on your fridge or send them home as party favors.
13. Hot Chocolate on a Stick ($15): Just add hot milk and stir for classic fall flavors in a cup. Dark chocolate hazelnut, milk chocolate pumpkin spice and white chocolate apple cider — we’ll have one of each!
14. Artisan S’mores Kit ($19): Flakey pie crust too daunting for your first dinner party? S’mores have equally autumnal vibes, and let’s be real — artisan graham crackers and chocolate might just be better than pumpkin filling.
15. Tasty Tea Towels ($24): The kitchens of big families and big friend groups alike take some serious damage during the holidays. Prepare for the worst with hand towels that’ll give you the boost to get through that sink full of dishes.
What must-haves will be in your Friendsgiving spread? Let us know in the comments.