This year for Valentine's Day, my husband and I decided to throw a big party. We thought it would be fun to get dressed up, put on our dancing shoes, and create a romantic evening reminiscent of a bygone era. No one expects such a formal affair for a little holiday in February, and that got us even more excited about putting on an unforgettable event. With love in the air, our plan was set in motion.
We sent invitations announcing our “Valentine's Ballroom Blitz” and hoped everyone would come in their finest glitz. We recommended ball gowns and black ties and promised a romantic night of dining and dancing.
The preparations began two days before our party. We decided to cover a good portion of our back garden with a tent and hold the event there. A tenting company came and did an incredible job disguising the garden and patio. The tent was fully enclosed and came right up to the back of our house so that when you walked outside, you actually walked into a totally covered area. A raised black platform was put down over two-thirds of the area and a large black and white checked dance floor was added. Tiny white lights were hung around the perimeter of the tent and two large chandeliers hung from the tent support beams high above.
Tables, chairs and linens arrived next and we set them up around the dance floor. Large round tables with seating for 8 were covered with a white cotton tablecloth. Chairs were added and then I got to work on the centerpieces. I bought inexpensive glass bubble vases and small cylinder vases. I filled the cylinder vases with water and red roses. I cut the stems of the flowers so that they stood just above the bubble vase. I put this arrangement inside the bubble vase and then filled the empty space of the larger vase with chocolate kisses all the way to the top. The chocolates hid the smaller vase and it looked like the flowers were floating in a sea of kisses – perfect for Valentine's Day!
The caterer came the day before to set up the food area. A long rectangular table was placed just to the left as you walked into the “ballroom” (that's what I called the tented area). He brought red linens to cover the table and decorated it with huge bottles of wine and dried floral arrangements in large old world urns. He brought simple white china plates that he stacked at one end and wrapped each person's utensils in a black cotton napkin tied with a white ribbon. He also brought a bar that was set up in the opposite corner (to the right as you entered the party area). I requested all drinks be red or pink in honor of the Valentine's holiday. That made the list of alcohol we needed to buy easier and also went along with our theme.
On the day of the party there was little left to do, thank goodness. The bartender and disc jockey arrived to set up. The caterer came and began preparing food in my kitchen. I ran upstairs to get dressed and was met by the most gorgeous man – my husband. He surprised me and rented a tuxedo for the occasion. I grabbed him by the hand and brought him back to the bedroom. Since I had to get undressed I thought I'd take advantage of the situation and…
Once in my ball gown, hair put up, red lipstick on my lips, I made my way downstairs. Guests would be arriving soon and I wanted to have the first dance alone with my husband. The ballroom looked amazing! The white lights were twinkling, the chandeliers were glowing, the DJ was ready to play, the bartender ready to pour, and the hors d'oeuvres ready to be eaten. My husband and I walked up to the bar and ordered drinks. We toasted each other, took a big gulp, and went to the dance floor. We had selected this DJ because he was also a dance teacher and would teach our guests some steps to the tango, fox trot, swing and waltz, later in the evening. He quickly showed us a few dance moves so we would look like we knew what we were doing later on. After a little practice he started the music, and my Valentine and I tripped the light fantastic.
When guests started arriving, we noticed all of our friends went all out and dressed amazingly. The women were beautiful in their long gowns and the men handsome in their suits and tuxedos. We ate, drank and danced all evening. It was especially fun when the DJ had us lined up in rows to learn a few steps to the cha-cha. It was a treat to learn something most of us never dreamed of trying (it's hard enough dancing to the music of today) and we vowed to remember what we learned.
When dessert was served in was nearly midnight. Individual heart-shaped cakes were placed on the tables and coffee was served. It was a wonderful evening and our guests couldn't remember the last time they'd had so much fun.