With years of experience entertaining and styling photographs for books and magazines, I have developed a list of what I refer to as core items for entertaining basics that are perfect for just about any occasion and setting. Besides my go-to collection of all-white plates, bowls and platters, clear glass items are a must, too, because they give you such a wide-range of options.

One of my top picks: Simple glass votives. Sure, they’re essential for candlelight at the table, but their compact form offers many creative repurposing uses as well.

Here are a few fun ideas:

  • Personal condiments, sauces or maple syrup
  • A single flower to put at each guest’s seat or a line of them right down the middle of the table
  • Individual servings of nuts or mints
  • Bar garnishes and skewers
  • Soup sips
  • Espresso sips
  • Sake or liqueurs
  • Miniature desserts

Versatile, inexpensive and multi-taskers, serving pieces like glass votives are a must-have addition to your entertaining pantry and will light up your next party in more ways than one.

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