Ah yes, the 14 of February, also called Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine. Otherwise known by anti-V Day’ers as ‘Hallmark Day’, or the day when roses become the most expensive commodity with the shortest lifespan. Love it or loathe it, Valentine’s Day is here to stay and it’s kinda nice to have a day dedicated to love. Something the world of today is seemingly in lack thereof.

This day of love is dedicated to lovers, but that doesn’t mean that it should just be celebrated with dinners-for-two. Why not spread the love (pun fully intended) with either a) a few couple friends b) a few single friends c) friends in general d) family, or e) family AND friends. If you’re tossing with the idea of planning a lovely dinner party, I have a few simple and fail-proof tips for you. So let’s dive in!

Plan Ahead

Valentines Day Dinner party planning
Planning ahead keeps you organised.

Planning ahead doesn’t mean a day or two prior, give yourself plenty of time. I would recommend at least 2 weeks ahead. This gives you the time to work out who to invite, time for RSVPs, planning the menu, getting the necessities and sorting out nannies. The more time to plan and prep, the better.

Get A Good Group Together

Valentines Day Dinner party group of friends dining together
A group who get along and have common interests is key to a successful dinner party.

Andy Warhol once said “One’s company, two’s a crowd and three’s a party!”. Pick a good group of friends who get along together, have similar interests or have something in common. Given that it’s a Valentine’s Day party, don’t invite that one single friend amongst coupled up friends. Not fun and not quite thoughtful for that single friend. The last thing you want is a re-enactment of ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’. We want to get the conversations flowing and guests to have a great time, so you can relax and share in the fun without worrying about mediating any awkward situations. Remember that such gatherings are meant to be intimate, so 8-12 guests would be a good number.

Deciding on a theme

Valentines Day Dinner party masquerade theme
Be sure to pick a theme that can be done with the planning time you have.

Turn up the ‘fun dial’ and throw a theme into the mix! Murder Mystery, Retro, masquerade, 80’s pop stars, the list goes on. Themed dinner parties do take a bit more time to plan and organise, so make sure that you pick a theme that’s doable within planning time that you have.

Invitations

Valentines Day Dinner party invitation
Ask for RSVPs regardless of your method of invitation.

Invitations may be through a casual email or phone-call, or go more personal with traditional, handwritten invites. Regardless if it’s an e-vite or an invitation in the post, make sure that you ask for RSVPs at least 2 weeks prior. You don’t want to end up making an emergency trip to the supermarket for more supplies when your guests are arriving.

Planning your menu

Valentines Day Dinner party menu planning
Keep your menu simple and to what you know.

Keep it simple and to what you know. The simplest dishes made with loads of love and flavour leave the deepest impressions. Ask your guests if they have any food allergies so you can cater for them in advance. Include this in your invitation so your guests can let you know via their RSVPs. An important tip: 3 bottles of wine for every 4 guests. Avoid serving hot hors d’oeuvres straight from the oven as guests will arrive at different times. A simple yet beautifully put together grazing platter will serve you well.

Setting the table and ambience

Valentines Day Dinner party table setting
A simple yet pretty table setting creates a relaxing, welcoming and cosy party atmosphere.

Immaculate concepts aren’t always needed for dinner parties. However, tying things together do make a nice touch. A lovely yet simple centrepiece, candles, beautiful crockery make for a great table setting. Think small but charming touches such as seedlings, herb sprigs tied with jute string or go bush. Bush flowers make for a stunning centerpiece whilst peppering the room with that green and lush fragrance. And don’t forget to make a playlist as music sets the mood, although you may want to leave the Daryl Braithwaite for when everyone’s had a tad to drink.

So, there you go! I hope that you have an amazing day of celebrating love, friendships and family. We would love to hear how your dinner party went! Share with us on our Facebook page, tag us in your photos on Insta (#homecookloveaus) or drop a comment under this blog post.

Happy Val’s Day everyone.

Ali sign-off

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