When planning your Valentine's Day girlfriend get-together remember that smaller groups are better. "I recommend keeping the total headcount at four to six people. Hosting the party in someone's home is personable and makes it easier to socialize," says Pedersen. "I also love using Paperless Post invitations. They're more special than a phone call but not as time-consuming as snail mail invites."
Plan an activity to keep guests entertained. Wine tasting is always popular. "Ask your friends to each bring a bottle that's under $10," Pedersen suggests. "Do blind taste tests and have everyone vote for their favorite. Give the winner something simple like a piece of cute and inexpensive jewelry." Or, host a jewelry party, like the ones from Silpada. Spa parties can be a fun bonding experience, too, and the same goes for cooking parties. Bring in a chef to teach the group how to make a signature dish.
Have foods that your girlfriends can enjoy guilt-free. "As women, we feel better about ourselves when we don't eat junk. Keep the menu light and in line with a certain type of cuisine — Mexican, Italian or maybe even a salad bar," Pedersen recommends. "Then everyone can bring one dish to contribute. Having one or two sweet treats is never a bad thing; just make sure to mix in healthy choices." Give your guests options they'll feel good eating.
"A Valentine's Day party is the perfect excuse to get ultra girly," says Pedersen. "Have fun with flowers, sparkles and pink and red. Use your good platters and dinnerware. Serve sparkling water, bubbly and gourmet chocolates." As women, we appreciate these small touches. Oh, and speaking of women — this is a girl's night out so please leave the men at home.
Speaking of flowers, you don't have to overspend. "I love buying in bulk from stores like Costco; they have really pretty roses for cheap," says Pedersen. "Fill a glass hurricane with beautiful fresh flowers and tie a 3- or 4-inch ribbon around it for an easy but stylish centerpiece. And remember — everything looks pretty on table linen." Set up candles and flowers on a nice table runner for added effect.
The only thing better than a party is a party with a purpose. "February is Heart Disease Awareness Month so use your Valentine's Day girlfriend get-together as a way to spread the word on heart health," suggests Pedersen. "Tie together the theme with red balloons and a red dress code and serve a menu of heart-healthy foods."
Is any party really complete without the favors? Pedersen says that you don't have to spend a lot of money on parting gifts. "Wrap a glass votive in fancy paper or give each of your girls a journal with personalized handwritten notes on the inside cover," she explains. "Little trinkets like blush brushes or lip gloss always go over well."
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