It’s easy to have mixed feelings about Valentine’s Day. For a holiday that is purportedly all about love, it sure puts a lot of pressure on you: pressure to feel bad if you don’t have a boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse, pressure to come up with some great gift or date idea if you do, pressure to eat sugar.
But despite it all, I am unashamed to say that I love Valentine’s Day. I have found my forever Valentine (plus a Valentine doggy for good measure), but truth be told romance is not even what I love about Valentine’s Day. What I love about it is exactly what I’ve loved about it since I was a little girl, and it can pretty much be summed up in three words: Pink, White, & Red.
And you thought loving Christmas for shopping was shallow… I love Valentine’s Day for it’s decor! But it’s true. I can’t help it. Something about the heart-shaped cookies, paper cutouts, and gorgeous tone-on-tone color scheme speaks to me every single year. What other holiday is so singular in its aesthetic focus?
Last year, I decided that I wanted to revisit the Valentine’s Day get-togethers I loved as a child, and I decided to host a grown-up girls’ Valentine’s tea party at my home. Because we lived, then, in a teeny-tiny house and were (okay, still are) operating on a teeny-tiny budget, I had to get creative with my space-planning, decor, and menu.
I set up the main gathering space in our little living room (also our library, as you can see). A white tablecloth instantly elevated our round coffee table, and inexpensive fabric and paper decorations helped fill the space with that pink, white, and red I love so much. (It didn’t hurt that we had a red couch, either.)
I followed this YouTube tutorial to make the tissue paper flowers that hung above the mantle and dangled from the ceiling around the coffee table.
The most expensive part of the decor was probably fresh flowers; but they make such a difference. These tulips in Ball-jars on the windowsill and the bunch of roses in a white pitcher on the table were some of my favorite decorations.
A friend lent me the pink damask fabric that I used on the couch cushions and the gorgeous pink square serving plates (pictured above, with sugar cookies on them). Having generous friends is a great way to help your budget, too!
- Tea, of course, both black and Rooibos.
- Sparkling Pomegranate Juice and Sparkling Blood Orange Juice.
- Frosted Heart Sugar Cookies. I used this gluten-free recipe, and they were AMAZING. Honestly, non gluten-free friends were telling me that they were some of the best sugar cookies they had ever had.
- Chocolate-covered Strawberries. (Out of season, I know, but for some reason I always want to make chocolate-covered strawberries this time of year.)
- Brie & Pomegranate Bites. The same friend who lent me the serving dishes suggested this hors d’oeuvre to me, and they were so delicious–the perfect proteinous/salty counterpoint to all the sweets. (Need help with that pomegranate? I’ll tell you a secret, though; for this occasion, I bought the seeds pre-extracted.)
After tea and refreshments, we cleared the table and broke out paper, scissors, glue, and stickers and made Valentine’s cards. How fun is that? It took me straight back to being nine years old.
All in all, it was a lovely afternoon, it was incredibly fun to plan and execute. But… it was also a lot of work! So I’m not hosting a tea this year, but I’m sure I’ll find some way to bring the pink, white, and red into my life.
Oh, and quality time with my Valentine(s). I guess that would be good too.