First, some history on the lover's holiday: Though sending cards and love notes only dates back to the 1840s, Valentine's Day has been around since 496 A.D. Flash forward hundreds of years, and you'll find that this year Valentine's Day falls on a Saturday, making the most romantic day of the year the perfect time to say I do. Not sure how to pull off a Valentine's Day wedding with style? We've got 10 tips to help you plan.
Show Your Love
To get started, think about Valentine's Day and what it means to you. Look for inspiration from your own love story -- if you met on the ski slopes of Vail, incorporate cool blues and other wintry hues. Or take your decor cues from an ultraromantic destination you've been to, like Paris or Venice.
Find Your True Colors
Valentine's Day is synonymous with pink and red. Depending on your style, you can go with this traditional palette or do something unexpected. For example, choose a classic black and white palette and subtly add hints of red or pink. Do so by carrying a deep red bouquet or wrapping pale pink satin ribbon around the tiers of an all-white cake
. Another way to make these romantic hues stylish is to go for contrast. Think deep crimson paired with ballet slipper pink.
Seal It with a Kiss
For a semiformal affair, get guests in the mood by sending save-the-dates decorated to look like vintage Valentines. Instead of a guest book, you might leave out Valentines for your guests to send to you with their well wishes and words of advice (make sure there are extras in case they want to give some to each other too!). For a formal wedding, flocked paper, whether for your invitations
or escort cards
, makes a luxurious statement with its rich, soft texture.
Create Room for Romance
Speaking of texture, use it to your advantage to create a romantic vibe. Lots of candlelight will shine even brighter if you choose table linens that have a silky sheen. For lounge or cocktail areas, a few faux fur pillows or throws will create a comfy, cozy mood (as well as a perfect spot for guests to snuggle). And if a fireplace or fire pit is an option, by all means, light it. Any frosty February chill will be forgotten thanks to its comfort and warmth.
Add Some Mood Lighting
Think about lighting
to set the mood. Splashes of soft pink light will warm up a space and make everyone look great in photos. While you may not want hearts everywhere, a heart-patterned gobo spotlight would look quite modern dressing up your dance floor. And, of course, nothing says romance like a candlelit dinner. Go for ornate, flower-draped candelabras or create a more contemporary vibe with frosted glass votives.
Say It with Flowers
Roses on Valentine's Day are a given. But other blooms can be just as romantic and stylish. Amaryllis is one showy winter flower that's dramatic and gorgeous. For a rich contrast, mix deep red calla lilies and cockscomb. Another option, no matter what your budget: Experiment with adding nonfloral elements, like feathers or crystals, to your centerpieces for a rich and luxurious look.
Toast Your Love
A Valentine's Day wedding calls for its own special signature cocktail. A pink sugar-rimmed cosmopolitan or a flute of champagne with gold flakes will play up the romance factor. A chocolate martini is another delicious option. You might also consider having small bowls of classic Valentine candies, like Conversation Hearts and red cinnamon hearts, at the bar for a sweet but subtle touch.
Have Your Cake and More
Valentine's Day is a day to indulge. Last year, $14.9 billion worth of chocolate was sold in America. Consider serving decadent desserts like individual-size flourless chocolate cakes drizzled with raspberry syrup or dark chocolate-dipped dried fruits. For the actual cake, a modern heart pattern embossed into white fondant is a great option, or choose a red filling (like red velvet cake or fresh strawberries) so that each slice will have a hint of color.
Play Sweet Music
It's more than likely your first dance will be to a love song. But if you want to keep the mood romantic all night long, ask your guests to fill in their first dance song (or simply the name of their song”) on their RSVP cards. Mixing some of these tunes into your playlist is a lovely way to honor your guests and help them relive loving memories.
Give 'Em Some Sugar
Don't forget to let your guests know how much you love them. Leave them handwritten messages -- love notes, if you will -- in glass bottles at each place setting for a fun favor. Or send guests home with something sweet, like chocolate truffles or chocolate-covered espresso beans, packaged in a creative way. Add a personalized card with a cute saying like, We're in love…with you! Thank you for coming.”
Special thanks to Maya Kalman of Swank Productions, New York; Debbie Geller of Geller Events, Los Angeles; and Christine Paul of Christine Paul Events, Inc., New York
Photo Credits: (From top to bottom) Eclectic Images Photography, Jonathan Dann Photography, Weddings By Pamela, Alternate Angles, Glenn Barnett Photography, Lisa Kyle Photography.
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