How to host an Iftar—everything you need from décor and dishes to invites and drinks
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Hosting a dinner at home can be both rewarding and stressful: You're honoring your guests but also want everything to be perfect and make sure everyone has what they need. Hosting an Iftar during Ramadan, however, can feel like even more pressure. It's the end of a long day of fasting, everyone will be hungry and it's your job to grant the best service possible. Luckily, we've researched how to make this process less daunting so you can enjoy and practice gratitude during this sacred time with your friends and family.
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This year, Ramadan 2023 began March 22 and will culminate at the end of April with Eid-al-Fitr. For the 30 days in between, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, breaking the fast with Iftar. During Iftar, the fast is broken with a date and water, then followed up with appetizers and dinner. When hosting Iftar, there is a spiritual element involved that requires generosity within your means to make your guests feel welcome and appreciated.
Hosting one at home doesn't have to be expensive: you can use things you already have. It's all about putting thought into your efforts, even if you can't exactly taste the food you're cooking. Whether you're hosting something intimate or extravagant, there is an art to selecting décor, food and setting the mood. Whether you're new to hosting, someone who recently converted or a pro, there's something here to take away for every kind of person.
Check out all our tips and tricks for hosting the best Iftar for your group.
►Looking to celebrate Ramadan with kids?: Here are nine creative ways
Food and seating
Get guests excited with an invite
1. Physical cards
Invitations hint at a theme and tell guests what to look forward to. Let guests know when and where to meet. This Gold Frame Iftar Invitation is a great option if you want to send a physical card. A well-designed invite never goes unnoticed.
2. Digital cards
Make planning easy with online invitations from Paperless Post. There's a wide selection of Ramadan-themed invites, like this Lantern Tassles invite that adds color. You can also use these cards as inspiration for the color theme behind your Iftar.
Pick out your décor
3. Universal string lights
While there's plenty of Ramadan décor you can find online, I try to find universal stuff that can be reused for future parties. These Twinkle Star String Lights that you can customize to your liking are a great choice. Put them around your fireplace or across wall or dining table to warm your setting. To get more creative, gather the string lights and stuff them inside a clear vase, which can be placed in the dining area.
The use of fanous, lanterns, as decorations is believed to have originated from Egypt when a caliph was greeted by the Egyptian people holding lanterns to celebrate his arrival in Cairo during the holy month of Ramadan. For a Ramadan-esque touch, scatter these Vela Mini Candle Lanterns throughout your space. Batteries are included.
5. A light tablecloth
Choose a neutral or pastel-colored tablecloth for your table. It will add a freshness and earthiness that's inviting. It's also easier to match different accents like black or gold with a light color. This Amzali Linen Tablecloth is washable, so you can use it for future events.
Food and seating
6. Tiered serving trays
Good food presentation makes a big statement and makes food more attractive to eat. Have more guests reaching for your dishes with these Tiered Serving Trays. Use for small appetizers like samosas and pakoras or for dessert. It's easy to assemble, and you can get it in black or gold.
7. Embellished toothpicks
These 100 Count Pearl Toothpicks can be used for anything. Stick them into sandwiches or desserts to add a light glam and fun detail to your food.
8. A low-seating table arrangement
Eating on the floor with family or friends creates a different kind of intimacy. It's also an act encouraged in Islam. Get this rollingsurfer Folding Camping Table, throw a favorite tablecloth over it, add a floral arrangement, and some candles and floor pillows to create an amazing ambiance.
9. Ramadan signs
Already have dinner plates at home? Add these Ramadan Wood Signs on top for a festive touch. They'll easily level up a plain plate and you can save them for the following year.
Refresh your guests with drinks
10. Something sparkly
End a day of fasting with refreshing drinks for your guests. This Belvoir Farms Sparkling Elderflower Soda is a fan favorite. The lightly-scented natural soda tastes great when mixed with some ginger ale or Sprite. Add some fresh raspberries or blueberries in each cup for a pop of color.
11. Tumblers to serve
Save having to wash glasses by serving drinks in these Fashion tumblers. You'll get 100 plastic cups with a cute gold rim that'll add a nice touch to your party.
It's all in the details
12. Make your home smell good
Level up the way your house smells with bukhoor. These are agarwood chips that originate from the Middle East. The smell lasts much longer than regular candles and adds richness to your space. Use a beautiful Golden Incense Burner to burn the incense and set the mood.
Incense burner from $55 at Etsy
13. Light some scented candles
I got this Boy Smells LES candle as a gift, and it's easily become a favorite. The scent is a beautiful light floral that will be great for a party. As a huge advocate for investing in candles that'll last, I also love candles by Trudon. This Abd El Kader Classic Scented Candle always gets compliments.
14. Floral arrangements
Floral arrangements add color, texture and beauty to your home, and make for a great centerpiece. Find seasonal flower arrangements from a local grocery store or from Proflowers: this time around, it's tulips, freesia, snapdragons and roses. Get a set of vases like these Sullivans Mini Textured Glass Ball Vases to arrange the flowers in and scatter them throughout your space.
15. Candles and candlesticks
I've used this Vixdonos Pink Candlestick Holders Set for Iftar parties and always get questions asking where they're from. They add a subtle statement when you pair them with long candles like these Dripless Dinner Candles. Place these around the table.
Candlestick holders $13 at Amazon
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This article originally appeared on Reviewed: Ramadan 2023: How to host the best Iftar