The big question is what sort of dinnerware are you using? Should you use china, stoneware, every day dishes or disposable? I am probably going to open a can of worms with this one 🙂 I think a lot of this depends on how many quests you are inviting. Personally I own fine china that we received as wedding gifts, I own Christmas china that maybe gets used once a year or every other year, also there is the ceramic dishes from Italy that I love (they are my favorite) and my everyday dishes, not to mention a basement full of restaurant white plates in every size and shape.
I very rarely use disposable… there have been occasions that I do. When I am already exhausted from my work schedule and have so many guests coming that I am ready to pull my hair out and really have no desire to spend one whole day doing dishes. On those occasions I try to find a nice clear disposable plate or fun shape. I am however a stickler on wine glasses. I truly believe wine tastes better in a glass then in a plastic cup. I do not believe the flavor of food will change if you eat off a board, out of a cup, on fine china or with your bare hands. I do however believe wine tastes better in a glass.
Now I realize there are some special circumstances, and desperate times call for desperate measures. I have drank Silver Oak straight from the bottle on a bus on the Italian Alps when there where no glasses to be found. First you are thinking really a Californian wine in Italy… we were on a ski trip and met new friends from California who brought wine with them. How great is that when you are stranded on a bus in a snow storm?
And still top priority is that you as the host, should enjoy yourself.