My friend, Heidi, is a former caterer and a kindred crazy spirit, so when she asked if I wanted to help her host a Valentines party for some of our friends. Knowing how I love a good Valentine’s date night, I couldn’t refuse.
There were a lot of different directions we could have taken this night, but Heidi said she wanted it to be for couples and to be more on the casual side (rather than formal and super-romantic). She wanted to play games and serve yummy food and for everyone to have a good time. When she talked about playing the “Newlywed Game” (Or rather the “not-so-newlywed game” for most of us), I knew what direction I wanted to go.
We decorated with a glitzy game show feel, using lots of tinsel and lights, and called the event The Game of Love. In addition to our Newlywed Game, we did Valentine’s Minute-to-Win-it games, so it was a perfect theme.
But of course, the first thing on everyone’s mind when they came was food, so we’ll start there, too.
While we were finishing up food preparations, we sent our guests to the “Love Potion Station” (a.k.a. Italian Soda Station). Heidi had several appropriate flavors of syrup, including strawberry and passion fruit and everyone got to mix their own. I designed the Directions to echo the Game Show theme, and provided stripey straws, because they make everything cuter!
Here is my cute friend, Rosie, sipping on her potion.
I couldn’t resist this play on words for the food table. I also found these fun paper goods at Target that went nicely with our theme.
We decked the table out in tinsel fringe to keep that game show feeling going. And the picture doesn’t show it too well, but I ran a wire light (battery operated) from the David Tutera Wedding collection along the front of the table, echoing a game show stage.
And if the table was our stage, the food was the star of the show.
Shrimp cocktail in individual goblets. Heidi takes store-bought cocktail sauce, and improves it by adding orange juice and other fun things to the mix.
One fun thing about serving shrimp for Valentine’s parties, is that you can place the shrimp together to form a heart, if you are so inclined.
Heart-shaped Bruschetta (idea from here).Heidi cut hearts out of wheat bread and toasted it, before adding her yummy tomato mixture on top. Cute, red, delicious, and went perfectly with the Italian sodas.
These ham and cheese sandwiches were a little less thematic, but oh so yummy! Heidi toasts them and brushes them with a brown sugar/butter glaze. They were a big hit!
I was in charge of the food that didn’t require special cooking skill, but that just needed to look cute. Grapes and cheese are rather romantic, right? We served only finger foods so that people could mingle easily.
Inspired by different versions of hot-dog hearts I had seen on Pinterest, we heated up little sausages, and speared them with arrow toothpick. I cut the arrows out with my silhouette and glued them to the blunt end of the toothpick.
I had also seen the tomato hearts on Pinterest, but have to say that they didn’t work out as I thought they would, so I only did a few of them. I’ve decided that to make the hearts, you have to use two grape tomatoes (instead of one) and just cut of a small edge of each before putting them together to make a heart. They are cute, but kind of time consuming for a large group like this.
Of course, love doesn’t always bite, sometimes it can be oh…so…sweet. So we celebrated it’s sweetness with a chocolate fountain station.
I didn’t get a good shot of the whole set-up, but Heidi had a bowl full of wooden skewers, and had pots of pre-skewered strawberries, so they looked like a bouquet. She had a large 3-tiered stand we filled with marshmallows, pretzels and pineapple.
After everyone had noshed, it was time for the games to begin. This sign hung above the food table. we made it using a picture matte wrapped in thick metallic wrapping paper. I cut the lettering out with my Silhouette and we added glitter hearts from the dollar store. Heidi glittered all of the edges with pink glitter. We ran out of time to add lights around the edged, like an old marquee, but the glitter definitely gave that glitzy gameshow feel we were going for.
This sign is actually a massive door. Normally, it’s panes serve as picture frames for Heidi’s family pictures. But for this occasion, we covered up their cute faces with metallic wrapping paper. Heidi already had the cupid, I brought the Silhouette letters and we stapled lights around the edges to give that marquee feel. This is the first thing guests saw when they walked in the door. (Next timeI will have to come up with a better way to attach 3D items–like the heart shaped boxes I painted gold for the occasion. As you can tell, the duct tape isn’t quite doing it’s job here)
I wish I had taken more pictures of our friends playing games so I could humiliate them here. I will say the minute-to-win-it marshmallow toss did prompt a bit of a food fight (thanks largely to BSB), so I’m really glad that Heidi has tile floors. For more minute-to-win-it Valentine’s ideas, you can check out this post. We mostly did the candy heart stacking challenge–husband against wife. These paddles were for our Game of Love/Newlywed/Not-really-newlywed game.
I found them in the Dollar Spot at Target. They were green and had ABC’s all over so it’s safe to say there were intended for a school setting, but I figured they would be perfect for our game, with a little face lift. I spray painted the green parts gold, added some washi tap and glitter heart stickers for cuteness on some (or to cover-up painting mistakes), and tied the markers to the paddle with bakers twine. I used some gold vinyl and/or washi tape to make the pens match the decorated paddles. They worked really well for our game. Heidi had the Newlywed Game in a box, but if you need some questions, I found a free printable version at the Dating Divas.
I guess I am a bit late to inspire your Valentine’s plans for this year, but maybe next year, you’ll want to hire a babysitter and invite over your favorite friends to enjoy an evening of food and fun in honor of this Crazy Little Thing Called Love!
How did you celebrate this year?