I love a good party, a time to fellowship with friends or family. If you are looking for something special to do with your small group, bible study group, or even just your close group of friends (or relatives), consider hosting a small Valentines Party!
If you are on a budget this can seem like a daunting task, but I assure you that there are ways to make it happen even on small budget. This year won’t be our first party, and what I have learned is to start small and build each year. To begin this year’s planning process, I start with an inventory of what I already have. Figure out what I need to buy, and finally I consider what things I would like to add to our inventory.
Our first party consisted of chairs scattered about, a fun game, and desserts. We started the party a bit later in the evening, allowing the couples to head out for a nice dinner and join us for dessert a little later. This year, we’ve planned a full meal. This meant I was going to need more table setting decor and less room decor.
In order to keep the decorations & supplies affordable I shop at:
- The Dollar Tree
- Target (in the $1-$3 bins)
- Oriental Trading
Also, because I know we will have future parties, I like to shop after Valentines Day for upcoming year’s decor additions.
To keep my sanity in order, when it comes to the food:
- Some items are homemade
- Some items are store bought & altered
- Some items are purchased from local bakeries and restaurants.
Another option is to find a local caterer who will handle all the food preparation for you, and it isn’t as expensive as you would think. If you have a mom friend who loves to cook (and is great at it), you could hire her to do the catering too. This can turn into a blessing for the both of you.
I don’t like to plan a party that makes me crazy, I like to plan a party I can enjoy from beginning to end.
This year, I also partnered with Family Christian in order to showcase some of their great Valentines Day related items.
I even scored a GREAT deal when I found a slightly banged up lighted sign from Christmas, which actually fit our party decor!
A Good Party Starts with a Great Invitation
Since our party is for couples, I was only sending 1 invitation for every 2 physical guests. I decided that it made more sense to hand make an invitation versus order something printed online.
I printed the party invitation on white paper, in red ink. At Target, I purchased a book of stickers, 1 package of square doilies, and a package of cards with matching envelopes. I used a glue stick and stamps I already had on hand. For just $3.00 in supplies, I was able to hand craft eight invitations.
A Good Party Captures Memories
At our first party, I built a “Kissing Booth” and put together a few photo props. At one point in the evening we took several photos of each couple. After the party, I took those photos and made photo strips out of them (like you would receive in a photo booth in a mall or theme park). This year I, I decided to go with a theme more akin to a Valentines Dance. I purchased props from The Dollar Tree, Target, and even made a large polaroid frame by hand. Oriental Trading had inexpensive silver foil drapes and an awesome valentines border. I paired this with strung felt hearts I had on hand from a previous party.
A Good Party Is a Lot of Fun
Besides capturing memories with the photo booth, we also have a lot of fun by playing games. A group favorite is the not so newly wed game, where we all answer questions about our spouses. Dry erase boards and markers can be purchased at most Dollar Tree stores. I found a great set of cards with questions at Home Goods. This year I added in Couples Mad Libs (I loved playing these as a kid), which will be scattered about our dining table to use throughout the evening. I’m also working on a Jenga Truth or Dare Game I found on Pinterest! If you are going to have games, you must have prizes. I drove to a nearby Family Christian store and picked up a few home decor items and a set of Mr. & Mrs. Coffee Mugs. We also have a couples gift exchange! I found the cute gift bags at the Dollar Tree.
A Good Party Has Good Food
With the internet we have access to websites that can help us plan out a great menu. This year I am planning a Pear and Asiago Salad, Chicken and Artichoke Pasta with Grilled Asparagus, Fresh Bread, and for dessert Red Velvet Cake. In previous years, I have leaned toward desserts only which included cupcakes, cheesecake, chocolate covered pretzels, and even cake pops. Websites like Pinterest make it a lot easier to not only find recipes, but also themed food ideas too. You can even find a full planning page on how to throw your own party from start to finish. I like to mix it up, coming up with an idea that is totally my own.
Since this year we decided to have a sit down meal, instead of desserts or finger foods, table decor was added to our supplies this year. Many components of the decor were diy projects that used inexpensive items like doilies, ribbons, and candles with holders from the dollar tree. I did invest in a few nicer silk peony flowers, I wanted to ensure they would last through the years. We added in faux flower petals, table scatter, and a cute runner from Target. But, my absolute favorite are the milk bottles! Not only are they cute and perfect for holding our Love Potion Punch, but when we dual purposed them as place cards!
I paired up decorative Valentines paper plates, which are more than enough for the salad with a heartier piece of china for the main dish. Cute napkins, matching plastic ware for utensils, and disposable cups make for easy clean up.
A Good Party Doesn’t End
Predating our Valentines Day party, our good friends have a Christmas Party each year. Truth is, we all enjoy spending time together but it gets hard with kids and life in general. That was when the Valentines Party was born, we didn’t want the party to end. At the end of the Christmas Party our hosts always sent us home with a great little favor bag. We decided to do the same. Our favor bags are little mini date night bags, something the couple can use at home to keep the romance going.
The gift bags and tags are from Target, as well as the candies and the tropical scented candles. I ordered some mini bath salts from one of my favorite Bath and Body companies, Jordan Essentials. As a fan of the show Shark Tank, I remembered the episode with the Kisstixx (two lip balms, one for him and one for her, that compliment each other). From Home Goods, I added in the card game for couples, and finally added a CD of long songs from the local Family Christian store.
I must admit, most favor bags are not quite as generous. When Family Christian was looking for a way to promote their Valentines products, and I had already been working with them for book reviews, I jumped at the chance! So, a big thanks to Family Christian for providing the prizes and CDs for the favor bags!
I have a big heart for couples continue to build their relationships over time, we need to support strong and health marriages. To give back to other couples, just as others have blessed us is a great thing.