Whether you are celebrating Valentine’s Day with your single BFFs, or planning a party without the boys, here are a few sweet entertaining ideas sure to add up to a “LOVE”ly evening with your girlfriends.
- Decide on a theme. Dress up for the occasion, and let your friends know it’s a fancy night, not a jeans and sweatshirt event. Encourage them to select a festive outfit as they “shop” their closet. If they don’t have something of their own, borrow from one of the other guests—sequins, gold, red, or pink are all elegant conversation starters.
- Set a beautiful table. A party always involves good food, and the table is usually the focal point. Use it to your advantage to “wow” your guests. White plates are a nice backdrop to a color-filled table. Use charming Valentines as place cards, and write a note in each one, letting each guest know how much she means to you. Cite something special and specific that you two have shared together.
- Don’t forget the flowers. A simple table arrangement or an elaborate spread of elegant blooms will add a pretty touch to your tablescape. Coupled with unscented votives and a vintage linen tablecloth, you are ready for a great meal and lively conversation.
- Plan the perfect toast. Be ready to honor your BFFs with a heartfelt toast. Search your own cabinet for champagne glasses, or go to your local discount store to find some inexpensive flutes. Rim the glasses with red or pink sugar crystals, and drop a cherry or raspberry in the bottom of each glass.
- The menu doesn’t have to be fussy. Your girlfriends will look forward to a light appetizer as they arrive. Offer a spread of pre-purchased canapés, a platter of crudités, and a classic shrimp cocktail for starters. Serve a light wine, sparkling water, or champagne punch. Once seated, the main menu should accommodate a variety of diet restrictions. Something as easy as a build-your-own pasta bar allows everyone to enjoy a variety of food choices, including gluten-free options and flavorful sauces. You might want to serve a more traditional meal such as roasted chicken or salmon filets. Add a strawberry and spinach salad to any meal you choose, and you are ready to eat. Keep your guests’ taste in mind when planning the menu.
- Ex-boyfriend (or girlfriend) bashing isn’t allowed. There is no room at a girlfriends’ soiree for petty remarks. Keep your words as light as a meringue kiss and your conversation as sweet as a slice of red velvet cake.
- Don’t skip dessert. Valentine’s Day is not the time to count calories. Bake up a batch of gourmet cookies, a variety of cakes, or macarons, or find some at your local bakery; remember to call ahead and place an order. Put the sweets on a tea caddie, vintage tray, or favorite cake stand. Serve dessert at a different part of the house or apartment. Don’t forget pretty napkins and cold milk in a cut-crystal pitcher.
- Send your friends home with a Valentine’s goodie bag. A small bag filled with luxurious hand cream or a box of heart-shaped brownies, along with a CD you burned with a variety of songs with the word “Love” in the title is a fun way to end the evening and a memorable send off.
Diane Gottsman is a national etiquette and modern manners expert, television personality, accomplished speaker, author, and the owner of The Protocol School of Texas, a company specializing in executive leadership and etiquette training. Diane’s timely advice has been featured on several national television shows such as The Today Show, HLN Headline News, and CBS Sunday Morning. She is a Huffington Post blogger, and her own popular blog, dianegottsman.com, was named by Forbes as one of “The 100 Best Websites for Women, 2013.”