Garden Party with Our Place Co-Founder & CEO Shiza Shahid
There is something extra special about entertaining outdoors.
We can’t think of anything better than the feeling of a gentle evening breeze in the garden and the warmth of the setting sun on your shoulders while sipping a crisp glass of wine and digging into a beautiful meal shared with friends. Garden parties are the perfect end of summer event because they are casual, accessible, and easier to pull off than your average dinner party. Using the natural backdrop of a lush, abundant garden landscape, these gatherings can come together effortlessly in just a short amount of time. We reached out to some of our biggest inspirations for outdoor entertaining to get their best tips on how to throw the perfect garden party.
Our Place is a kitchen essentials shop that aims create new heirlooms from the cultures and places that make up the fabric of the modern multi-ethnic kitchen. Our Place firmly believes that the power of home-cooking can bring people together.
When you purchase an item from Our Place, you’re not only getting high quality forever-pieces with a chic asthetic, you’re getting the tools you need to create the *perfect* meal to share with loved ones. Shiza Shahid, Our Place Co-Founder & CEO, shared with us her tips for creating the perfect outdoor gathering.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and where your love for entertaining stems from.
As immigrants my partner and I literally found our place in America by cooking and sharing food with new friends who became our chosen family. That’s why bringing people together to share a home-cooked meal is so important to us - it’s at the heart of all our most cherished memories, the source of deeper connection.
What are your top five tips for hosting an outdoor gathering?
- Remind your guests to dress for the weather. Then get some extra blankets out just in case!
- Put out your favorite candles and flowers. Get playful and make it your own.
- Make a playlist that fits the mood.
- Set the table with beautiful essentials that are also easy to use, like the Always Pan that goes from stovetop to table. Who has time for extra dishes?
- Find ways to connect at a deeper level. I like hosting story-telling dinners, with guided prompts like “my favorite food tradition is…”. It’s a great way to skip the small talk and truly connect.
Do you prefer serving plated, family style, or buffet style for your al fresco meals?
Definitely, family style. Sharing food (when it’s safe to do so again!), getting to taste everything and go for seconds, that’s my jam.
What’s your favorite part of planning an outdoor gathering?
I love thinking about how to use outdoor space to make a gathering even more special. We have a bigger backyard, which allows us to build a bigger table and host larger gatherings. We have a wood-fired pizza oven, which we love to fire up and make fresh pizzas.
How can someone new to entertaining find confidence in hosting a gathering?
Focus on being in the moment, and truly connecting with your guests. People won’t remember the floral arrangements or tablescapes, they’ll remember how you made them feel. Having someone in your home, sharing a meal with them, is the greatest gift, so just make sure you’re present for it.
What are some entertaining staples you always have on hand for easy, impromptu gatherings?
I love to feed people. If you come into my home, you’re going to have to eat! I always have lots of nuts and dried fruits on hand for impromptu snacks.
What are your favorite ways to set the scene for an outdoor gathering?
Our Place’s kitchenware, Avaline Red, lots of candles, and Ella Fitzgerald.
It’s your turn! Grab your pans and your wine, let’s see what you create... ✨