What to Bring to a Dinner Party.

What to Bring to a Dinner Party

I love a dinner parties. I aspire to host more (and to be invited to more) dinner parties. There is nothing better than being invited to someone’s home for dinner at their table. There are loads of different types of dinner parties from a potluck to something formal but one thing is a constant: I never want to show up empty handed. Bringing a little gift or something for the party to enjoy is a nice way to make a good impression and show your appreciation for your host or hostess. There’s no need to break the bank here, it’s just nice to show a little bit of thoughtfulness.

In the past I have struggled with what to bring, but I’ve gotten a little bit better at that with time and experience. Today, a big list of recommendations, some of my personal favorite gift ideas.

PS – You might also enjoy this roundup of the best hostess gifts.

what to bring to a dinner party

Something to drink

This is probably the most obvious. You can never go wrong with a bottle of wine. I love to bring a nice bottle of champagne. I will tie a pretty bow and there you go! I have also been into bringing pre-made mocktails. Little Saints and Curious Elixirs are favorites but I’ve heard great things about Ghia as well.

fresh flowers

This is another safe one and something I personally love receiving. Sometimes the host really just doesn’t want you to bring anything. This is the perfect opportunity to bring fresh flowers. Another idea is that I once had a friend show up with a vase full of fresh basil from her garden – so personal and thoughtful. You aren’t bringing more food or stuff, just something thoughtful and pretty. Pro-tip. Buy a few inexpensive vases to have on hand when the moment strikes. These are just ten bucks!

a good book

Not everyone is a reader but for the right host or hostess, I love to bring over a book, especially one that I recently enjoyed. It leads to great dinnertime conversation.

an appetizer

Of course, this depends on your cooking skills (also: check in with your host!). Here are some great make-ahead appetizers and I looooove bringing my dad’s salmon gravlax.

dessert

Whether you go all out and make something yourself or just pick up some fancy baked goods (if you have time, order Levain!), bringing dessert is almost always appreciated. My mother’s chocolate upside down cake isn’t the prettiest cake but it’s delicious and easy to make. It is always a crowd pleaser and impossible to mess up.

top shelf olive oil

I love giving Brightland olive oil as a hostess gift! (Their vinegars or honeys would work too but I just love their oils). Lucid (a bright lemon infused olive oil that is perfect on salads but also ice cream) is my personal favorite.

a homemade consumable gift

I think this might be my year of making more homemade gifts. I loved making homemade limoncello this past December. It is so easy and yields really great results. My aunt sent me a bottle of homemade vanilla extract, which may be my next project.

Sea Salt and a salt cellar

I think this makes for such a nice little gift. High quality salts are such a nice little treat. I really love bringing Maldon + this little salt cellar but you could go more fancy/high end and get the Jennifer Fisher salts.

Fancy Condiments

Lusty Monk Mustard, the infamous “Crack Cheese,” Red Clay Chili Crisp… these are some of my personal favorites, but everyone has their own personal favorite!

candy cigarettes

Just something fun and cheeky! This winter I bought a big box of them and have enjoyed tying them onto gifts, bottles of champagne, etc. Just something silly and unexpected.

Your favorite scented candle

You can make this more personal depending on the host but two crowd pleasers that literally everyone will love are the Maison Louis Marie No. 4 candle (woodsy and soft; a great dupe for Santal 26) and the Hotel Lobby Signature Candle (makes your home smell like an upscale hotel).

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8 Comments

  1. kh:

    This is so, so great!! Such practical examples too. Making these notes for summer parties and even next holiday season w/ the whole galore of parties we go to!

    1.17.24 Reply
  2. Melinda:
    1.18.24 Reply
  3. m:

    I love the basil idea! I once had someone bring a couple of pomegranates to a Christmas party and it was a fun, seasonal treat. I usually pick up an edible hostess gift at our weekend farmer’s market liked spiced pecans or ginger-infused honey. I honestly don’t love getting flowers when I’m hosting. I’ve probably already gone out of my way to make sure we have fresh orchids and a centerpiece and it’s awkward to try and find a place for another arrangement.

    1.19.24 Reply
  4. Kathleen:

    Love these suggestions! One of my go-to’s is some pastries (either homemade or from a local shop) for the hosts for breakfast after hosting!

    1.19.24 Reply