Chances are at this point in your life you have a few truly remarkable women in your life and their friendship means the world to you. So instead of focusing on the romance between you and your significant other this February 14th, why not celebrate the relationships with your best girlfriends! Over the past few years of my adulthood, I’ve learned how valuable friendships are and how refreshing it is to get together with my nearest and dearest just to celebrate one another. With that the idea of an annual holiday party, appropriately called a Valentine’s Day Friendship Fete, was born! And if you’re the kind of chick that loves playing hostess and planning parties, this is a perfect opportunity to do just that without too much stress.
No matter how intricate or seemingly simple any party’s décor is, women always notice and appreciate the details, so remember to incorporate your own into your Valentine’s Day party. For this shoot, I was inspired by a nostalgic Valentine’s Day color palette of reds and pinks. I then infused those together with Kate Spade inspired details like colorful confetti, blown up heart shaped balloons, and oversized fabric bows on the chairs. At each guest’s place-setting was a note card that served as a modern girl’s Valentine where party goers would be encouraged to write down reasons why they feel blessed for their friendships with one another. Inexpensive but feminine patterned plates from Anthropologie dressed up the tablescapes, stemware that most women have in their kitchen cupboards were used for drinks and locally rented linens and napkins like the ones I used, can be draped over any kitchen or dining room table. Simple, inexpensive but still thoughtful party favors, embellished with a tag that reads, ‘Some X’s and O’s and a new hue for your toes!’ were waiting for each girl to pick out. What girl wouldn’t love to head home from a night in with her friends with a few sweet macarons to snack on and a brand new Essie nail polish to use at her next pedicure.
Have flutes of pink sparkling champagne or pink lemonade mixed with raspberry vodka waiting for guests as they arrive to your home. Some other suitable drink options? Mimosas, mixed with a touch of grenadine. Or frozen strawberry daiquiris! For an extra festive punch you can rim the glass with red sugar crystals or even pink and red hued sprinkles. Don’t forget to garnish with a fun straw or fresh fruit like raspberries, strawberries cut in half to resemble hearts or even frozen cranberries. Give a little toast to your girlfriends once they’ve all arrived and let them know how thrilled you are to be spending a special night together with them. For the wine loving friend with more mature taste buds, have a bottle of merlot or pinot noir on hand. Be sure to have lots of ice water on hand too, so guests can get home safely post party!
If the thought of cooking a three course meal for a group of girlfriends seems daunting, especially for the hostess with a busy work schedule, keep it simple without skimping on the sophistication. Try sourcing out a gourmet cheese and charcuterie market in your area where you can stock up on delectable and shareable treats. Try a variety of soft, spreadable cheeses that go incredible well with fresh French baguette slices and herb infused honey, (I’m a fan of Fromage Blanc, which is a full flavored cheese native to a farm in my area) and hard, salty cheeses like aged Gouda and Parmesan-style Sar Vecchio. Paired together with pickled olives, out of the box chutneys and a selection of cured meats, your guests will literally feel like they’re being wined and dined from the comfort of your home. Even better, picking everything up the night before and laying out your serving platters for each item will save you time and make serving and presentation a breeze on the day of. On the invitation for the event, give some indication of what you plan on serving so guests can decide if they will need a snack prior to arriving at your get together.
We women love dessert, so something incredible and sinfully sweet should follow the main course. In this shoot, I decided to go with an unfrosted chocolate cake created from a colleague and friend’s bakery, but with three layers to keep the balance between casual and grand. If you’re the hostess and you want to try your hand at creating your own cake, you wouldn’t need to stress about perfectly frosting a cake like this! Add a few fresh and color appropriate blooms on the top of the cake for a playful touch, and display on a cake pedestal where it can stand out and shine on its own. If your guests are still craving some sugar when the party ends, they can sneak a bite or two out of the macaron favors you’ve gifted to them! You can pick the macarons up ahead of time from your favorite local bakery. Call ahead to put in your order and see if your macarons can be dressed up with fondant X and O’s for the occasion.