When planning to entertain at home you need to focus on keeping it simple! Following a few simple strategies and you really can keep things from getting too complex. First you need to step away from Pinterest and turn towards your cupboards. There is no point finding fab ideas on Pinterest if they are going to be hard or expensive to execute. Look in your cupboards at what you already have and work from there. Pull out some of your favourite plates and platters and see how you can make them work together to bring a cohesiveness to your party.
A white table cloth is always a good starting point as it goes with anything. If you don't have white table cloth you can always use a white sheet - they are just about always cheaper than buying a table cloth and by the time the table is all laid your guests won't be able to tell the difference.
When deciding on your menu go for something you can manage easily. Trying out new or adventurous recipes when you are having guests over is never a good idea. For this outdoor party we have used a selection of ready made food items from Lulu - simple - it becomes less about cooking and more about presenting and serving the food.
This meal was broken down into 3 parts - (1) drinks & snacks arranged on a separate table, (2) the main meal served family style, and (3) finally a small desert buffet set up to the side of the main table. This is a simple 1, 2, 3 approach to doing things as you can prepare it all in advance and enjoy the time with your friends rather than having to spend time in the kitchen checking on food.
This colourful desert bar is a perfect example of keeping it simple. It is a small selection of fruit and sweet nuts along with a little ice cream. You can either keep it to the side or if you prefer then clear the main table off and place it in the center so your guests don't have to get out of their seats.
One thing people often forget is lighting. Unfortunately most houses in Doha do not have good outdoor lighting but luckily there are lots of other options these days to add additional lights without having to rewire your house! We are rather fond of these festoon lights but you can also use electric candles on the tables or glass lanterns. Whatever you chose just make sure you get the lighting right - too much and it just too bright and you lose the ambiance and not enough you can't see what you are eating.
Now go forth and entertain and remember not to sweat the small stuff. Start with items your already have, utilize ready made or prepared foods, and focus on simple but effective lighting ideas. Now that Doha temps have dropped below 20 you might even want a blanket or two outside!
All photos were taken by the very talented Apple Snaps.