When you're priming to throw a dinner party, there's a lot you have to get in order. Firstly, there's the menu to plan: Will you serve something casual, barbecue-style, or will you go with something more formal that requires everyone being seated for different courses (and also requires that people arrive on time, versus a casual drop-in). Once you've made your decision, then comes logistics like ingredients and how you are going to serve them.
For the more casual get together, think serving bowls full of chips and family-style sides. For a more formal dinner, think varied plates for different courses (salad/dessert/dinner/and maybe a charger if you're getting real fancy) as well as a cheeseboard and glassware (if you're not so into cans and bottles of booze being on the table).
Now, it's time to focus on decor. For a BBQ, stringing lights around your backyard or patio/balcony area mixed with scattered tea lights and small floral arrangements sets the mood. For something seated, opt for slightly larger centerpieces (they can still be casual and arranged by you!), tapered candles, and laid-back linens. Want a little inspo if you're stuck on what to buy?
Here are some dinner party essentials (all from Etsy!) that you'll need, regardless of your partying style.