Hosting the Perfect Ramadan Gathering


Fri, 18 May 2018 - 10:00 GMT

Creative Commons

Creative Commons

Hosting and setting up a Ramadan iftar or sohour gathering can be quite stressful. All the choices you need to make, from the food selection to the number of courses to serve, and finally the food presentation and table setup, can all be rather hectic. Here are some of our tried-and-tested tips to help you set up a flawless iftar table.


Have a proper seating plan and assess the number of guests and ensure that everyone can be seated. Because after a long day of fasting, who wants to eat standing up? While you may not be able to seat everyone around the dining table, reserve the dining table seats for elderly family members, and prepare additional side tables for the younger crowd.

Table Setup

Consider the table setup before the guests show up to avoid any surprises when your guests arrive. Get out that chinaware of yours reserved for special occasions. Make sure to include the right plate for the type of food you are serving, like a bowl for soup, a small salad plate, and a flat dish for the main course, along with the appropriate cutlery.

Another thing to consider is the size of the serving dishes, so if you have a small dining table it’s best to use small serving dishes; even if you have to split the portion over two dishes, this does not only make the table look more proportionate, it also helps you fit more items, and avoid the line up on the signature dishes as you’ll have doubles of everything.

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Make sure you set up the table well ahead to get that out of your way; laying out the plates, knives, forks and spoons in respect of the formal table-set up, and prepare the serving dishes and spoons the day before to have one less thing to worry about. On a perfect table, forks and napkins are generally placed to the left of the plate, while knives, spoons, cups and saucers go to the right.

Mind the small details

A traditional copper tray to serve the meal or tea and a fanous (lantern) are great additions to get into the spirit of the month. But you can also rent table setups from professionals. Wooden chairs are back in trend for Ramadan, and you can also add some loungers and poufs for a comfy, traditional setup.

Also make sure you set up an entertainment corner for the little ones as Ramadan is all about family and so kids are bound to be part of every gathering; so make sure they are kept entertained while the grownups sit and eat.

Photo courtesy of Dina Iskander

Be mindful of traditions

Most people have specific traditions and preferences in their iftar routine and allowing your guests to behave normally helps them feel more at home, and eventually enjoy their time more.

First on the list of Ramadan traditions is the way you choose to break your fast. Some people start off with dates and milk; so make sure to place an assortment of dates somewhere visible, preferably next to the drinks table so people can help themselves to dates if they wish without it taking space on the main dining table.

Food Choice

Obviously, no Ramadan table is complete without soup as a starter. As for the rest of the buffet, one way to help you in your food choice is to pick one or two lavish main dishes like chicken or beef fattah, or a whole turkey with khalta rice to focus on and perfect. Accompany that with an assortment of simple dishes like pastas, fried chicken, or shawerma. Don’t forget the salads and appetizers like vine leaves and sambousak.

Try and opt for food that can be prepared ahead; like mahshi, for instance, béchamel pasta or chicken, to save your energy on the day and not have to prepare it all from scratch as you fast. Also prepare all the marinated proteins and all the salads ahead, keeping the sauce to the side to add upon serving.

As for desserts, beside the trend for this year, and God knows what that would be, make a good homemade dessert; it would mean a lot to your family that you went through the effort to make one instead of buying all the desserts.

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What makes Ramadan gatherings different are their special theme, so don’t skimp on decorations. A simple Oriental tablecloth or some lanterns can go a long way in giving your home a cosy Ramadan feel. Use decorations featuring small tabla (a traditional percussion instrument) and riq (traditional tambourine), and decorate the area with warm lights. “Inspiration for traditional Ramadan decoration starts with choosing a theme,” she says, recommending the classic color scheme of red and orange with accents of silver and gold.

You can turn on the TV on mute as a background entertainment, we all know Ramadan’s drama series are always a good conversational starter.

Finally, relax and enjoy your party; because a gathering is made perfect only by the special touches of its hosts. Welcoming your guests with a warm smile is the most important element of any gathering.

Photo courtesy of Dina Iskander

Yumamia is a food delivery website and application that offers fresh, tasty and clean food using premium ingredients and top hygiene standards.

Dina Iskander is a leader in events management and planning, the company was established in 1996 and grew to include a team of more than 65 talented employees who manage, plan and execute up to 250 events every year.

Photo courtesy of Dina Iskander



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