Add a touch of love to your next party

Feb 4, 2013 at 6:00 a.m. ET

If you want to host a party for Valentine's Day that no one will forget, there's no one better to turn to than Courtney Whitmore of Pizzazzerie.

Courtney Whitmore of Pizzazzerie
The Queen of Pizzazz

Expert party- planning tips

If you want to host a party for Valentine's Day that no one will forget, there's no one better to turn to than Courtney Whitmore of Pizzazzerie.

Courtney is the editor of and cookbook author of Push-up Pops, Candy Making for Kids, and Frostings. She agreed to sit down with us and answer some of our burning questions about how we can throw an unforgettable, utterly romantic and cute-as-can-be Valentine's Day party. Her Southern roots and eye for detail ensure that whether you are single or hopelessly in love, you'll have a great time.

Courtney Whitmore of Pizzazzerie -- Valentine's Day table

SheKnows: If you were hosting a party for couples, how would you infuse romance into the event?

Courtney Whitmore: Couples parties are a lot of fun, and romance should definitely be infused throughout the party. I would recommend making shareable desserts for two with fun taglines (print them on cute paper and stick them down in your dessert, or pipe them right onto the treat) like "sexy" and "hot stuff." It's playful and flirtatious!

SK: What are some creative ways someone could host a Valentine's Day party without using the traditional pinks and reds?

CW: Gold, silver and other metallic colors are really trending this year, so go for a gold and white affair with lots of sparkling glitter! Light lots of votives and the glitter will sparkle, adding ambiance to your tablescape. You can also go with a more formal black and white color scheme with pops of traditional colors, or something fun like aqua or mint green. Add in hearts and it is still just as Valentine's as red and pink.

SK: What are your must-haves at a Valentine's party?

CW: Chocolate is definitely a must-have at any Valentine's party. Set up a chocolate and wine pairing for a fun tasting idea. I also love a signature cocktail like red wine sangria tagged as "Love Potion #9." No need to serve a formal dinner — let it be desserts and drinks. A few desserts, romantic music, candles and drinks, and you're ready to party!

SK: What are some quick and easy tips to throw a Valentine's party together with little notice?

CW: Let the grocery store help you when you're on a time crunch! Add pizzazz to a store-bought chocolate cake with strawberries. Cut leftover strawberries to drop down in champagne or white wine. Next, pick up some other appetizers (fine cheeses and other fruit are a cinch to display on a platter). Pull out plain white dishes atop a white or red tablecloth for a quick and last-minute party!

SK: Being single on Valentine's Day can be a major bummer — unless you have a friend who can throw a great party. What tips would you give to throw a great party for the single crowd?

CW: When I was single, I invited other single girlfriends over for a girl's night party! It was a blast, and we all had a great time. One year, I styled up a "Love Bites" party with clever sayings for those in the single crowd. Make it fun, because there is no reason for the single crowd to not enjoy themselves on Valentine's Day, too.

Push up pop
Table decor
Red velvet milkshake

SK: What tips would you give to guys to make a Valentine's Day at home extra special?

CW: Instead of traditional flowers (though these are always a classy option), opt for a romantic affair by bringing home all things bubbly! Pair champagne with bubble bath for the perfect start to a romantic evening.

SK: What are your favorite ways to infuse love into an event and make it personal?

CW: Making events personal is all about the details and little touches. Create place settings with each couple's monogram and anniversary date for a special Valentine's Day table setting. Another idea? Snap pictures of couples at the event with a Polaroid, and frame them as a memorable favor from the party!

SK: What would you serve for a Valentine's Day dinner?

CW: If I were hosting a Valentine's Day dinner, I would definitely stick to aphrodisiac foods (why not?!). Appetizers would be oysters followed by caprese salad (basil is an aphrodisiac), prosciutto-wrapped figs and a filet. Dessert would definitely be chocolate! I'd go with a decadent raspberry chocolate cake!

SK: What are some ways girls can make Valentine’s Day special for their guys?

CW: Girls can make Valentine's Day special for their guys by combining a sentimental gesture with quality time. Has he been wanting to watch a "guy" movie for quite some time? Indulge him, but insist you dine on a fancy dinner (like the aphrodisiac foods above) while watching. Or better yet? Surprise him with a prepared "progressive" dinner to his favorite restaurants (appetizers at one, main course at another and dessert at another).

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