Happy Valentine's Day! Whether you're celebrating the holiday with a special someone, a group of friends, or even cuddled up on your couch with a four-legged sidekick, one thing is certain. Valentine's Day is a great opportunity to celebrate love in your life.
For Alex and me, Valentine's Day has always been more about acknowledging the special people in our lives rather than a meal out at a restaurant. Celebrating Valentine's Day is also a wonderful a way to breathe a little bit of vibrant color into the usually cold and dreary days of February. But best of all, Valentine's Day is a great opportunity to throw a very quick and super simple get together that combines both the special people we love to be around and those vibrant colors we all need so badly in the midst of winter.
In honor of the day, and the ways we can all celebrate, I want to take a moment to share the details on a Valentine's Day shower I helped throw for a dear friend of ours that was expecting her second child. While ours was a baby shower, these tips apply to pretty much any party around the Valentine's holiday, and is a great alternative to dealing with dinner crowds and overpriced prix fixe menus you often see on Feb 14.
Our party planning got rolling after I eagerly volunteered to co-host a co-ed baby shower to celebrate the addition to our friend's family. She and her husband didn't want to find out the sex of the baby until his or her birthday, so therefore the co-hostess and I wanted to be a little bit creative in our approach. We quickly landed on a mid-February date for the party with the theme of love playing off the Valentine's Day holiday as well as the feelings the expectant parents already felt for their coming addition.
As you'll see, it's very easy to throw a love-inspired baby shower, but the concept could be easily adapted to fit a Valentine's date night in, a small party among friends, or even a girls' brunch.
The decor of the event will obviously set the tone of the day given the colors and items most typically associated with Valentine's Day. The good news, it's exceedingly easy to decorate for a Valentine's party without being overly tacky these days. One of my favorite easy ways to dress up a Valentine's event is with my own flower arrangement. There's no need to drop $30-$60 or more on a florist bouquet, all you need is a little knowhow and the right vase. In this case I picked up a bunch of inexpensive white roses from Trader Joes and a winter bouquet with seeded eucalyptus as well. I cut all of the stems nice and short and placed them in a shallow square red glass vase.
Beyond roses, it is Valentine's Day, so hearts are clearly where it's at. For our gathering we floated a few bunches of helium-filled mylar heart balloons along with other miscellaneous heart decor like plates and garland. It's clearly not difficult to find hearts all around at this time of year, so go a little crazy! It's the one day of the year where it's completely acceptable to go a little over the top with the heart decor. In this case, the gift station was certainly in on the festivities.
The theme of "Love" continued all of the way through to the plates and napkins we used. I really tried to round out the event with pink, red, or white plates, glasses, napkins, and accessories. One rule of thumb I have when decor shopping is to buy themed cocktail napkins that will work well for parties. I have a drawer full of napkins just waiting for their moment to shine. I picked up these cute "Love" and hearts cocktail napkins from HomeGoods and they worked wonderfully as a great addition to the bar set up.
Like themed cocktail napkins, I thoroughly enjoy collecting small elements of holiday decor that can be easily packed away when not in use. One of the best ways to do this is via table runners, throw pillows, and dish-ware or stemware. For this party I was able to put many items to use I already had in our house, like this set of heart shaped plates...
...and a set of heart napkin rings. These are the types of items that can easily stay packed away in our buffet most of the year, and I can break them out just when needed. They are also the types of decor you can often find just after Valentine's Day for a great bargain. Keep your eyes open at home decor stores and places like Williams Sonoma. It's the time when often high priced items suddenly become bargains, you just need a little forethought and planning.
Food and Beverages
There's often no better way to tell someone how much they mean to you than via their stomach. When we're talking about drinks for an event like this, there's one option that's almost always an automatic -- Rosé bubbly!
The massive amount of holiday themed candy available these days makes it quick and easy to put together a couple beautiful candy dishes to have out for guests who like to graze. Whether we're talking pre-meal snacks or a post-meal sweet treat, from heart shaped candy wrapped in festive foil colors to these chocolate covered almonds covered in pink and adorned with hearts, it's hard to go wrong.
An full meal or several appetizers would work well for a Valentine's party. In this instance, the event was held in the late morning so we went with a buffet brunch menu of deviled eggs, fruit salad, homemade cinnamon sticky buns, store bought muffins, and several types of sausage. All were easy to make and prep in advance, which allowed for all guests (my co-hostess and I included) to relax and enjoy the day.
I absolutely love wrapping gifts in a manner that complements the theme of the holiday or party, and with Valentine's day you can have a little bit of fun with brightly colored ribbon or paper.
No matter how many people you're hosting, what you serve, or even what you're celebrating, as long as you do it with love, your event is sure to be a success.
And in case you're wondering about the guest of honor and mama-to-be? The party guests didn't know it at the time, but it turned out she was in early labor during the party (several weeks ahead of her due date). The next day we received word that she had given birth to a beautiful baby girl. Talk about throwing her shower just in the nick of time!
What are your plans for Valentine's Day? Do you like to keep it low key and stay in, or do you prefer being out and about? Have you ever attended a Valentine's Day themed party? And if you have, are there any tips or tricks you can share to make the event the best is can be?