A great meal—for 2 or 12—starts with the setting. When registering, load up on personality-packed items that will set the stage for festive dinner parties and lively conversations for years to come

For a vibrant look that's not too busy, pair sleek white dinnerware with colorful linens and accents in complementary hues.

"Numi" candleholders, $5 each, CB2; "A la Carte Nimbus" three-piece place settings, $144 each, Rosenthal; Vintage-stamp sewn garland, $25 per strand, D Sharp; "Galerie Royale Orange" coffeepot, $595, teacup, $105, and saucer, $50, Bernardaud; Hot pink 12-inch cake stand, $120, Sarah's Stands; White "Kobenstyle" four-quart casserole, $143, Dansk; Yellow table numbers, $2.50 each, Dear Emma Stationery; "Jeanne" milk jug, $295, Modigliani Collection for Richard Ginori 1735, available at Bloomingdale's; "Caf de Flore" mirror and glass-dome pedestal, $270 for a set of two (one shown), Two's Company, 800- 896-7266; "Paloma" flute glass, $11, Crate & Barrel; "Gardner Street Green" 13-inch oval platter, $210, large serving bowl, $160, and accent plate, $45, Kate Spade New York, available at Lenox; "Verdigris" vintage bottle, $175 for a set of seven (one shown), Two's Company; "Bandhani" napkins in orange and fuchsia, $56 for four (in each color), Kim Seybert

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