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5 Valentine's Day Dinner Party Ideas for the Savvy Host

You've heard the saying: "The way to a man (or woman's) heart, is through his/her stomach?" There's no better time than a Valentine's Day dinner to put this adage to good work. 

Who doesn't love their palates pampered—especially in February—which for most means it's still cold and inhospitable outside? Bring the warmth of the holiday inside by following these five savvy dinner party ideas. Now all you need to do is invite those you love most to share it with you!

Set a Sumptuous Table
Few things say "welcome" more than a thoughtfully laid, beautiful table. Choose your color scheme and stick to it so that you don't end up with a rainbow effect, and add a few flourishes that show guests you're thinking about them. If someone in your group loves cookies, for example, you might consider ordering a Sweetheart Belgian Chocolate Covered Oreo® Tin from 1800baskets.com and offer a couple of these prettily iced treats as a keepsake to take home in a thoughtful take-out container or gift bag. Name cards add a touch of elegance, while some votives and thoughtfully folded napkins can complete the look. The tuxedo or dinner jacket napkin fold looks smart atop a dinner plate.
Pour Luscious Libations

Think about what you're having for dinner and choose your wines accordingly. You can't go wrong with a glass of sparkling wine to start the night off as it pairs with most any appetizer. To keep conversation flowing and guests semi-sated, take the hassle out of multiple shopping trips and order a Heritage Cellars Wine Trio Gift Basket from 1800baskets.com, which includes gourmet nibbles such as garlic summer sausage, artichoke bruschetta, an olive medley, and an outstanding bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon to pair with those steaks you're serving for dinner.
Serve the Main Attraction

Craft a menu that you can mostly make ahead of time. If you're serving steak, for example, finish it at the last minute so guests can hear the sizzle and smell those intoxicating aromas. Let it rest while you toss your pre-assembled salad—like this colorful beet and goat cheese salad—and pull your roasted potatoes out of the oven. Don't try to make or do too much—you'll end up flustered at best, frustrated at worst and—for Valentine's Day—that's a buzz-kill for you and your guests.
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
If you don't have fancy silverware, use what you do have. If you've ever read that you have to knock it out of the ballpark by only using the best, let me tell you otherwise: the fact that you cleaned, cooked, and made an effort will more than impress any guest with an ounce of gratitude in them. Let your imperfect awesomeness shine, bring out the best you own, and feel free to delegate to guests—even if it's just to answer the door while you set up the playlist. I personally like a Bossa Nova, Bebel Gilberto kind of vibe for dinner parties-sultry enough to evoke a mood, and playful enough to enhance conversation.
Make a Sweet Ending

In sticking with the tuxedo/dinner jacket napkin fold theme, I'd happily buy a dessert that matches this elegance, like the Decadent Chocolate & Fruit Fondue Basket from 1800baskets.com. Cap the night off with some beautiful biscotti, a good espresso (with or without the liqueur), and end the evening on a sweet note.
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Meet our Writer
Jennifer Geddes
Celebrations Writer

Jennifer Kelly Geddes has hosted Christmas cookie swaps, New Year's open houses, Thanksgiving for 22, and all manner of dinner parties in her Manhattan and Ghent, NY homes.

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