Valentine's Day is fast approaching, which raises an important question: How do you throw a Valentine's Day singles party? Should you just invite the gals? Or is it better to invite a co-ed gang, mix the pot and see what happens? Also, is it better to go with a low-key, NBD approach to the whole thing, or is it smarter to go all out and make it a huge event? And are singles parties even a thing? Do people actually invite their friends, and friends of friends, who are unattached, throw them all into an apartment or house somewhere and hope for the best?
I'll get to all of that. To start off, let it be said that even the most reluctant party planners can pull of a V-Day party. First and foremost, it shouldn't be called a "singles party" outright — I know, I know, that's confusing, but trust me (and a bunch of experts tapped for a piece about singles parties on Epicurious): No one wants to attend a party on Valentine's Day billed for the unattached. Can you blame them? Here are some important tips to keep in mind if you're planning to throw such a bash.
1. Bill It As A Regular Party
Since you can't call it a singles party (thankfully), just invite a bunch of available friends over on Valentine's Day for a laid-back hang. When you invite friends, ask them to bring their other eligible pals — people will figure out what's going on.
2. Coin A Signature Drink
Whatever your favorite flavors are, there is definitely a drink out there that corresponds. In a She Knows article, they quote Tommy Bahama's favorite V-Day cocktail, which incorporates rum, orange and raspberry liquors, sours and sugar. Sounds like a headache waiting to happen, but in any event, be sure to find a drink that works for you and be able to make it in mass quantities. It's also smart to provide a mocktail too.
3. Step Away From The Heart-Shaped Balloons
As tempting as it may be to decorate your apartment like the inside of a red velvet cupcake, it's wise to steer clear of all-red everything. Instead, if you must decorate, go with brightly colored decor, in hues like turquoise, tangerine or lime green, suggests She Knows.
4. Understated Is Key
Yahoo suggests creating some pretty, delicate tablecloths, or opting to hang a bouquet of non–Valentine's Day flowers on the wall, side by side, in a very nontraditional approach to the whole holiday.
5. Go With Some DIY Decor
Along with romantic (but not pink) tablecloths and/or flowers on the wall, try a fun DIY project: hang glittery tassels on a big heart shape, and throw it on the wall, suggests Yahoo. That way, it doesn't feel as though you're ignoring the whole holiday altogether, but you're not making it into a big thing, either.
6. Add The Aphrodisiacs
Cheney tells Epicurious that romance-inducing ingredients including chocolate, figs, dates, pears, apples, honey, cream, oysters, lobster, wild mushrooms — and even tortellini — are all fair game for the menu.
7. For Conversation, Try A Potluck
Potlucks aren't generally associated with being automatic conversation starters, but au contraire, y'all. Epicurious editorial assistant Carolina Santos-Neves is all about bringing a rando dish to a party, because it gives people something to talk about. "I brought a bowl of Concord grapes to a party once, and everyone just kept talking about them all night," she said.
8. Don't Encourage Lounging
If everyone is sitting around, it's harder to mingle. "Give people room to move around, mingle, chat, and sit in different groups," Bussen says. If you have a small space, just eliminate as much seating as possible, and make everyone stand and chat. It'll make for a less comfortable hang — but it also has a better chance of leading to making lasting connections.
9. Dim The Lights, Pump The Jams
If people can't be cozy on couches, they at least can feel warm and comfy thanks to the lighting and music. Amber or yellow bulbs are where it's at, plus candles — and no overhead lighting, suggests She Knows. And play dance music, with some calmer songs mixed in — but no mawkish love songs. This may be a Valentine's Day singles party you're planning — but in disguise.
Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.
Images: Fotolia; WiffleGif (10)