A fully stocked bar can be expensive. Instead, serve a signature cocktail that is perfectly suited for Valentine's Day. Premix the drinks in pitchers or a punch bowl, with backups in your refrigerator (then you won't have to be mixing all night). This Valentine's cocktail recipe (courtesy of Tommy Bahama) is a fabulous choice.
Serve an assortment of appetizers that are easy to make and not messy to eat. Make bite-size appetizers such as crostini, pinwheel sandwiches and stuffed cherry tomatoes. Kabobs are always a favorite, whether made with meat and veggies or colorful fruits. Steer clear of foods that are heavy on the garlic or onions (or provide plenty of mints, in case some people do find romance that evening).
For every guest that you invite, ask that person to bring along someone new (and single) who's outside your social circle. This is a fabulous way to expand your group of friends and meet new people.
Don't plaster your home in hearts and red decorations. You don't want people to feel pressured to meet someone special or feel melancholy because they've just gone through a breakup. Instead, keep it upbeat and fun. Consider bright color combinations for invitations and decorations, such as turquoise and tangerine or hot pink and lime green.
The lighting shouldn't be too bright or too dark. You want people to be relaxed and comfortable, but it doesn't have to be like an ultra-lounge. Put amber or yellow bulbs in some of your lamps, add a few candles and turn the overhead lights down or off. When it comes to music, put together a good mix of dance music and more relaxed (but not sappy) songs. Don't make the mistake of putting on the music so loud that people have trouble hearing each other talk.
Some people won't come to a party if you just dub it as a "singles mixer." Instead, create an interesting theme. For example, you could advertise it as a "Winter Luau" -- serve Hawaiian food and give everyone a lei at the door. Another idea is to make it a charity party. Pick a charity, such as the American Heart Association, then collect optional donations from the guests.
The key to a great party is to keep everyone talking, provide plenty to eat and enjoy yourself. If you're having fun, your guests will follow suit. Being single on Valentine's Day doesn't have to be sad if you throw a cool Valentine's bash.
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