By Laura Carson Miller

Ah, Valentine's Day. It’s known for hearts and candy and "smoochy" stuff, by and large. What’s more, it’s fast approaching, so what should you do? If you aren’t in a love-type relationship, you might be wondering how you can whip up a fun celebration for family or friends without breaking the bank. Don’t fret: we've got you covered.

To get a handle on designing festive and inspiring non- traditional Valentine's Day décor, I consulted local designer Erika Ward, Owner/Principal Designer of Erika Ward Interiors (Check out her gorgeous blog, BluLabel Bungalow).  She suggests hosting a restaurant dinner party, an idea I found fresh and fascinating. “Head over to the city of Decatur," Ward Southern Living ranked it in the Top Ten Tastiest Towns! No matter your budget you can make any diner or dive feel like a swanky establishment.”  Erika recommends sites like Pinterest (follow Flavors' pin boards for our favorites) to offer inspiration with tablescapes covering everything from showers to retirement parties. "Incorporate a few of your favorite ideas for creating a special table décor for your occasion," she adds.

 Here are a few of Erika’s recommendations for making your non-traditional Valentine’s Day dinner party a hit.

1. Brand Your Event

Set the tone for the evening with printed party menu for each guest. Be sure to include your party’s theme on the header. Provide printed place cards or use handwritten ones for a more casual feel. Ask if the restaurant would do this as a courtesy. The one pictured at left is from Sparrow Nest Script on Etsy

2. Candlelight

Everyone looks great when illuminated by the flicker of a candle’s flame. Gather candlesticks from your home and purchase unscented pillars or votive candles from your local discount store. Depending on the length of your table, choose anywhere between 6-12 candles. Or, for a fancier look, place votives in lanterns like the one pictured at right, from I.O. Metro. 

3. Floral Accents

Fresh cut flowers in a simple glass vase are a floral arrangement that can make even an amateur look like a pro. Be sure not to use flowers with a heavy fragrance, as it may compete with the aromas from the food. Succulents (like the one pictured at left) are another great option and favorite of those looking for a more modern aesthetic.

4. Favors

Send your guests home with a treat, which will keep them talking about your event long after they say goodbye. A particular favorite is a sweet and salty confection like the P2C2 bar from PureFections, pictured at right. It’s a chocolate, caramel, peanut and potato concoction that will further the love/hate relationship with your treadmill, but it's worth every bite. Locally in Atlanta, Cacao makes some wonderful, bespoke truffles and chocolate bars. 

Happy Valentines Day, one and all!

Laura Carson Miller is a freelance lifestyle writer for magazines and the web. Learn more here.  


09/04/2012 11:36

I love that candlelight, super cute!

10/18/2012 02:04

Gorgeous looks!

01/03/2013 03:56

Even i have brought nice candle stand not for valentine day but for birthday.

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