Rule No.1: Dish it out\r\nHave a variety of plates, serving platters and bowls of the same pattern or color scheme. (We love basic white.) We keep 24 simple dinner plates on hand and 60 tapas-sized dishes for buffets and cocktail parties, plus a collection of serving pieces in different shapes and proportions. Whether it\u2019s a handful of nuts, a crown roast of lamb, or anything in between, we are never stumped for a serving vessel.\r\nRule No.2: The Future is Not in Plastics\r\nThere is no excuse to use plastic cups for people over the age of 6. We have multiple sets of both crystal and glass on hand. For a large group, inexpensive stemmed wine glasses lend elegance to even backyard barbecues. You don\u2019t have to switch out glasses for every wine, but a good place to start is by offering Chardonnay glasses for whites and Cabernet Sauvignon glasses for reds. You can add Pinot Noir glasses, Champagne flutes as well as martini and highball glasses as your collection grows.\r\nRule No.3: Be Detail Oriented\r\nCloth napkins add sophistication to any affair, and if you\u2019re not into ironing (is anyone?), napkin rings hide a multitude of wrinkly sins. A set of black and a set of white will take you through the years. That said, go ahead and use colorful paper cocktail napkins if you\u2019re sticking to drinks and snacks. We\u2019re all about keeping it real, and that extends to flatware. Stainless cake forks are perfect for tapas parties, and if meat is on the menu, make sure your knives have teeth.