Here are some suggestions for a successful evening:
- Develop a guest list that you and your partner agree on. Keep the guest list to no more than four couples. This is a manageable and affordable number. Think ahead and invite couples who are not prone to arguing or indulging in drama of any kind.
- Send invitations out three weeks in advance. This allows plenty of time for people to make plans to attend. It also catches them before they begin the frustrating task of trying to figure out something to do on their own for Valentine’s Day and to begin making reservations of one type or another. They’ll love you for that.
- Plan for a dinner party. Trust me on this; you can have a delicious dinner catered in at a reasonable price. Just suck it up and do it. Preparing a dinner is the most time consuming, frustrating and mind-wearying exercise there is and can make a dinner party totally not worth it. Also, catering relieves you of worrying about whether the guests will enjoy dinner. If they like it, they will feel flattered that you thought enough of them to have it catered. If the food isn’t great, it gives you a wonderful opportunity to blame it on the caterer.
- Plan to serve wine and designer beers. You can have hard liquor available but also stock plenty of mixers along with it. Guests who drink too much may become argumentative or weepy on Valentine’s Day. You don’t want either. Of course, have coffee, tea and soft drinks prominently available.
- Set the mood in the dining and living rooms. Low lights, candles placed about and soft music playing all evening.
- Play the latest love-sick Valentine’s Day DVD release and laugh or cry at it as the mood strikes you.
Spending Valentine’s Day in the company of friends in a quiet, intimate environment is enjoyable. However, for a variety of reasons it’s probably best not to exchange gifts in front of the group. Keep this as a private ritual.