Registry Basics: Serving Essentials

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

Every host or hostess needs some basic serving utensils. How else do you get all that beautiful food from serving dish to dinner plate?

But you need not go crazy when registering for serving utensils. The seven essentials that follow will ensure that you're as equally prepared to host a summer backyard meal as you are an Easter Brunch or Thanksgiving dinner. You can stick with the basics in the same style as your flatware pattern, or not. Remember, serving utensils don't all have to match and opting for something a little crazy (read: less practical) won't make too great of a dent in your wallet. Go for a fun colored enamel set of cheese knives or a cake server in a china pattern different from your own (or your mother's or grandmother's) perhaps? Or, do as we do and supplement your favorites with some mismatched antique flatware — it looks great dressed up with fancy china but also chic when used with earthenware pottery.


1. Serving Utensils in your Flatware Pattern(s)

If you entertain a lot, you'll find yourself regularly relying on these tools. Opt for utensils in the same pattern as your everyday flatware and/or silver settings. You might find that your pattern's "hostess set" and "serving set" will include a couple of the below — we recommend ordering these all, though.

  • 2-3 large serving spoons
  • 1 slotted serving spoon
  • 2-3 large serving forks
  • 1 gravy ladle
  • 1 butter knife
  • 1 small serving spoon (for sugar, cranberry sauce, etc.)

Optional: Now, if you entertain a lot, you might want to mix and match your basic serving utensils with some mismatched vintage hotel silver. These antique pieces look elegant when paired with fancy china and fresh and chic when used with rustic, earth-toned pottery. 


Most elegant dinners start or finish with a salad, so make sure your serving pieces are as pretty-looking as your baby gem lettuces. Opt for a set of utensils, or the whole she-bang: a complete serving utensil set. (Photo courtesy of Heath Ceramics)


When assembling a cheese plate with hard cheeses like Manchego, aged jack, and Pecorino, you need some good, sharp knives that are pretty enough to entertain with. Enter the combination of these three sharp cheese knives — we find that they always make our guests feel at ease when they're helping themselves to crackers and cheese. (Photo at left and below left courtesy of Williams-Sonoma)


Since cheeses are a host or hostesses best friend for a quick-fix appetizer, it doesn't hurt to have a special set of soft cheese spreaders. These will work for all your soft favorites like Brie and goat cheese. Plus, they can double as butter knives on a breakfast buffet. (Click here for more knives every new couple should have.) 


5. A Small Pitcher

Take it from us: We're sure you'll find this small pourer to be handy and versatile. It's simple enough for serving barbecue sauce at your next cook-out but is also elegant enough to pass gravy in at Thanksgiving, or for serving vinaigrette at a luncheon.


Here you can have some fun. Register for one in your silver or flatware pattern (it's often included in the serving set), or opt for a unique set that you can use to cut the cake at your wedding — and as well as all those memorable cakes you'll serve for years to come. (Photo courtesy of Bed Bath & Beyond)

Click here for more registry basics for every bride and groom to-be.