Shopping for Serving Dishes

Because when you’re planning a dinner party, you need to think about more than just the food.

Shopping for Serving Dishes

Choosing the right serving dishes, said the event planner Bronson van Wyck, is all about creating visual balance. (Jono Pandolfi’s Oval Platters start at $40 each.)

Shopping for Serving Dishes

Plates, bowls and other serving dishes are critical to the success of any dinner party — whether they’re lined up neatly along a buffet or scattered around the dining room.

“I always, always, always try to have some family-style dining going on,” said Bronson van Wyck, a New York event planner whose book “Born to Party, Forced to Work” was published by Phaidon in October. “It goes to that idea of the basic human need that we have to break bread with each other.”

And the key to choosing the right serving dishes, Mr. Van Wyck said, has to do with visual balance.

If you have an elaborate floral centerpiece on your table, for example, plain serving dishes are the way to go.

On the other hand, “if you don’t have anything in the center that’s beautiful or catches the eye,” he said, “you’d better have some great serving dishes” — with compelling shapes, materials or patterns.

But it’s not just about the way your table looks: Platters, bowls and plates that please the eye often have the inexplicable ability to enhance our other senses, Mr. Van Wyck noted: “Even Shake Shack tastes better on fabulous Royal Crown Derby Aves china.”

Handmade gray-and-white porcelain bowl

$75 at Haand: 336-350-7957 or

Hand-thrown stoneware casserole with blue finish

From $60 at Workaday Handmade:

Two-tone wood bowl with ebonized interior by Shippee Turning Company

$348 (not including serving set) at Spartan Shop: 503-360-7922 or

Porcelain bowl with fish-scale pattern and blue-fade glaze by KiBiSi

$200 at Royal Copenhagen: 011-45-3814-4878 or

Stoneware platters in three sizes

From $40 each at Jono Pandolfi:

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