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How to Host a Galentine’s Day Party

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“What is Galentine’s Day?” Well if you ask me or Leslie Knope, it is only the best day of the year! That’s right, I heart celebrating Galentine’s Day. Whether you are coupled up, married, interested, or single, I hate the kind of pressure that Valentine’s Day puts on everyone, which makes it the perfect excuse to get your girls together and celebrate your love for one another…and drink a lot of wine and load up on carbs while watching “How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days!”

From dinner parties to game nights, I love entertaining in my home. The second I saw chocolate and heart shaped candy on the shelves in Target, I knew I wanted to host a Galentine’s get-together for me and my girlfriends. While Target had a lot of adorable and festive items to decorate my home with, most were really pricey. So instead, I headed to my local dollar store to see what they had. Let me tell you, it was a jackpot; I found everything needed to host a Pinterest-perfect Galentine’s Day get together.

Decorate The Table

I love decorative tablescapes and I was able to easily create a festive table using small felt hearts scattered down the center. I put the larger wall hearts to use on the mirror behind my dining room table. Of course, I also picked up festive rosy pink and red flowers from my florist to add to the table as well.

I set the table using gold chargers underneath my white china, and I placed the scramble word game at an angle for another festive touch. I made the place cards easily by folding pink paper in half and writing my girlfriends’s names in thick gold marker, and then adorning them with a pink kissy lip stickers. A word to the wise, I always load up on Valentine’s Day stuff after the holiday, when everything goes on sale. These stickers came from a V-day scrap booking kit I bought some odd years ago. Stickers are an inexpensive way to jazz up menus or place cards.

Spruce Up The Space

I also found a few cheap finds to really make my Galentine’s Day party come together. One was a “No Boys Allowed” banner that I thought was so fun. I also found a hanging banner with fringe that has heart bubbles with words like “BFF” and “XOXO” written on them. I hung this above the fireplace. I also used the tissue balls I got from the dollar store to hang from the ceiling over the table.

My best find at Target, though, had to be the photo booth kit. For a mere $3 dollars I was able to get this awesome kit that included card stock cutout photo booth props and hats, plus a black backdrop with hearts. I set up the photo booth in the corner, and had a table to put some of the props on. I stuck the Styrofoam heart sticks in a vase, and I put the photo booth props in a glass mason jar.

Finally, I gave my bar cart cupid’s touch. I used some of the Styrofoam hearts and stuck them to champagne flutes, and adorned the cart with a bowl full of sweethearts, and Valentine’s Day napkins. I also put pink mini bottles of Domaine Chandon sparkling wine, and lit some heart-shaped candles that I found in my craft box, similar to these.

D-I-You Can Do It

I love to get creative, especially when I am on a budget. This kind of get together allows for some really simple DIY crafts that just add an extra something to your decor. First, I made a cute sign on pink cardstock for my photo booth table, and framed it with a silver frame I had. It read “Oh Snap! Grab a prop and strike a pose!”

Another easy trick I did was create an XO gallery wall. I already had a gallery wall in my dining room space made up of nine water color prints hanging in gold frames in rows of three. I got some printer paper, and used a some magenta and gold acrylic paint purchased at my local Michael’s and painted X’s and O’x on each one and taped them over my prints. Voila! A charming and festive temporary gallery wall in under five minutes. Finally, I used the heart-shaped chalkboard from the dollar store to write the famous Leslie Knope quote.

Eat Your Heart Out

What Galentine’s Day party would be complete without lots of food to munch on? I decided to keep things simple and fun. I ordered a bunch of large pizzas and kept them in the oven on low heat until my girlfriends arrived. I had a few appetizers for guests to munch on as well; a cheese platter, veggies and dips, and mini jam and brie tarts. I made the brie and toppings in smaller portions, and put the mixture in phyllo dough squares in an oven-safe tin pan with heart molds, so they came out looking like little hearts. I wrote on my reusable chalkboard all of the items on the menu.

Now for some sweet treats! Here in Chicago, nothing brings more joy than Portillo’s chocolate cake; you cannot come to Chicago without having it. During Valentine’s Day, they create a special heart-shaped chocolate cake that is perfect for a dessert or to gift your special someone. Your guests will absolutely love you when they find out your dessert is the most decadent chocolate cake in all of the land.  I also decided to pick up some donuts from Stan’s, because why not?

Because this holiday celebrates chocolate, I also made chocolate fondue, which turned out to be super easy. All you have to do is slice fresh fruit, such as strawberries and bananas, and arrange them on a platter with some other dessert items to dip. I used store bought and pre-made cheesecake, rice crispy treats, and angel food cake, to cut up into little chunks for dipping. You can find wood skewers from your local dollar store to use as dippers. Also, if you don’t have a fondue kit like I do, you can follow the same recipe below and heat the chocolate in a bowl over the stove in a double boiler.

Chocolate Fondue Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 10oz. bittersweet chocolate or 10oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream (or 1/2 to 3/4 cup
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  • In a small bowl, combine the chocolate and milk or cream and melt gently in a barely simmering water bath or microwave on Medium for about 2 minutes, and sitr continuously until smooth
  • Add more liquid if the sauce seems too thick or look curdled.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  • Use warm fondue immediately or set aside until needed and rewarm briefly.
  • If the fondue gets too thick or cool, reheat gently (without boiling) for 1 minute in the microwave or set in a pan of barely simmering water.

Drink Up, Bitches

Of course, the food at your party is as equally as important as the drinks. I arranged white, red and sparkling wines in an party ice bucket, along with pink pamplemousse La Croixs. I also made two signature cocktails for my guests: the first is this adult Shirley Temple from Champagne Darling, which I decided to call “Leslie Knope’s Pink Fizz.” My second cocktail was a Cherry Vodka Limeade which I decided to call the “Pink Ladies Cherry Limeade.” Both recipes include maraschino cherries and are easy to make; you simply combine the following ingredients in a champagne glass for the first, and a pitcher for the second.

“Leslie Knope’s Pink Fizz”

  • Sparkling Wine or Champagne
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of grenadine (if you don’t want that sweet, adjust accordingly)
  • Splash of ginger ale (optional)
  • Maraschino cherries for garnish

“Pink Ladies Cherry Limeade”

  • Cherry flavored vodka (1-to-4 ratio of vodka to other ingredients and ice)
  • Juice from Maraschino cherries
  • Maraschino cherries
  • Lemon-Lime soda
  • Fresh limes for garnish

Gifts For Your Gals

I love having my guests depart with a little something special, budget permitting. It is easy to get creative and pull together a small parting gift for your gals to take home. I bought heart covered mini gift bags at the dollar store and stuffed them with red tootsie pops, ring pops, nail tattoos, heart pens, chocolates, and of course, sweethearts. I also decided to give a little something that they can pamper themselves with later, so I went to LUSH cosmetics, and I purchased a large bar of their “Tunnel of Love” barsoap, cut them into smaller pieces and placed in the gift bags. Finally, I added a cute card with a gift to try a laser light facial at Skin Laundry, here in Chicago. Sure, the first one is technically free, but they don’t need to know that! If you’re in D.C., scoop up some of the red and pink macarons from Olivia Macaron in Georgetown! We love the rosé flavor.

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