Girlfriends are the best because you know they’ll love you even if your party is terrible.
But why even test their love? Share some affection with your BFFs by hosting a well-planned girls’ night in. These themes will take your party from a disjointed hodge-podge of ideas to a party fit for the pages of a magazine.
1. A high tea watch party
Do you and your girlfriends lust for Downton Abbey? Channel your inner countess by hosting a watch party complete with tea, finger sandwiches and adorably dainty desserts. Make it special by bringing out the china tea set, silverware and cloth napkins you rarely use.
Party favor: Send your girlfriends home with a personalized teacup and saucer.
2. Margaritas and manis
My best friend wants to someday open up an outdoor mani-pedi salon with a full-service margarita bar. Frankly, I love this idea, but I don’t particularly want to wait on a business plan to indulge. For your party, provide a host of nail polishes and treatments — or, better yet, bring in a professional for the manis and pedis — along with Mexican-themed treats and margaritas.
Sample menu: Margaritas are the show-stopper for this theme, and all other recipes are just a supporting cast. Consider serving crab, avocado and mango nachos, stuffed potato poppers and ceviche tostada bites for yummy finger foods.
Party favor: Wrap up an individual bottle of nail polish for a sweet and totally useful favor.
3. Napa Valley wine tasting
Wine is to girls’ night as breath is to life. But instead of just handing each guest a bottle of wine and instructing her to enjoy, have fun by hosting a winery-themed event. You can decorate with whimsical lights and gorgeous flower bouquets, but your wine and appetizer platters should take center stage. Set up a real-life tasting by serving berries, cheeses, chocolates and a variety of wines.
Sample menu: Your best bet is to stick with high-dollar cheeses and chocolates that you can pick up at your local grocer. But if you want to show off your cooking prowess, serve these blistered maple-balsamic-marinated tomatoes and easy antipasto skewers with basil-pesto dip.
Party favor: Give your besties a new wine stopper or wine glass for at-home enjoyment.
4. Swap and dash
Girlfriends know how to make a party really count. Invite your besties over and instruct them to bring clothing, bags, jewelry and housewares that they don’t want anymore. Then, swap items like the wild women that you are. It’s like a shopping spree, but without having to spend any cash. A swap and dash party is super-low-maintenance but quite possibly the best fun you’ll have all year. Keep with the theme by inviting your girlies to bring a potluck dish and favorite cocktail for sharing.
Sample menu: OK, the point of a potluck is to not have to cook everything. But if you want a cohesive menu, remember to ask your girlfriends to each bring a different kind of dish so you don’t end up with 15 bags of Doritos.
Party favor: Supply each friend with a canvas tote bag for hauling home all their new loot.