The gift of a Galentine’s party for the ladies who need a little extra love.
No offense to our forever wedding dates, you know, our better halves with those dad bods we adore, but sometimes a mom just needs a little February festivity with her friends. You might be short on time or tight on dollars, but we’re here to remind you that the only thing you need in abundance to throw a good party is love. To help you get in the hostess zone, here’s some planning tips that will send you down the right party aisle for that extra bit of pizazz. We don’t want you to waste any time planning some kind of Sad Sally Stayed Home to Wash Her Hair party for the girls whose men didn’t make dinner reservations in time for Valentine’s. Oh no, you don’t throw consolation parties. We want this to be the kind of plan you cancel other plans for, the party that gets put on your calendar this month before anything else! The girls in your crew could use a little extra attention this year, and we think you’re the one to show them the love they need. So here’s to your low key night with a higher purpose – a Galentine’s party! And don’t forget what the wise Shania once said… the best thing about being a woman, is the prerogative to have a little fun!
Food: All parties need it, and all moms are good at providing it, so our only piece of advice with the food is don’t be a control freak, and do divide the duties! Don’t try and cook or buy for the whole party, especially if you’re also doing some other extra things to make the party special. Potlucks are more than okay, and so is chipping in for fancy take-out or assigning a specific dish to each friend based on what you know they make well. Countertop charcuterie spreads are still on point, so our go-to favorite at the moment is to announce a culinary theme and have everyone bring two or three tidbits to contribute to the tapas-type of spread. Put out some brown paper and platters on your island bar, and build the dinner as it arrives! And if the food decision becomes overwhelming, remember that a later-in-the-evening dessert and drinks party is always on the table too.
Music: It might sound basic, but you must have background music. Even for a casual get-together, you want guests to feel the shift in the atmosphere as soon as they walk into your home. The more you do to create a fun vibe in your home, the less pressure there is on everyone else to “be fun” before they’re socially warmed up. If your home isn’t wired for music, now is the time to buy a $15 Bluetooth speaker from Amazon and put it on your kitchen counter to play music from your phone. Trust us, you won’t regret the purchase. Find a playlist ahead of time that you can trust will stay chill and relevant. For a Galentine’s party, search for lists like, “easy listening,” “girls just want to have fun,” or, better yet, put on the top 40 list from the year you graduated from high school. Moms and their old jams go together like, well, like charcuterie and The Backstreet Boys. If you are the plan-ahead type, ask every guest for their top 3 favorite “hype songs,” or a song that they used to “get ready to” before going out as a young single, and make your playlist from that list!
Games for points: We’ve come full circle since our childhood parties and we say that it’s time to bring games back for moms. Look for the kind of game that prompts conversation, jokes, and a reason to talk to the women around you. Etsy and Pinterest are full of clever ideas to play for points, and all moms love a friendly competition. They might have a baby or wedding shower theme, but can be easily edited for your Galentine’s party! You’re looking for one-page printouts that are self-contained games requiring little to no prep. You’ll just print out a stack and provide a cup full of pens! If your group has any new moms to welcome, partner games, name tag games, or activities that require guests to ask questions of one another are always a hit too. It’s a great thing to be able to hand to guests once they’ve arrived and an easy conversation starter for everyone. Choose a time once everyone has arrived and start chatting to announce that you’ll review the games in ten minutes, and then have a little race to the finish. Prizes are a must and always make moms laugh because it’s usually our kids that are getting treats from parties. Small candles, lip glosses, hand lotions, a favorite book, or even a few bars of high-quality chocolate work great as game prizes, and won’t break the bank. You can pretty much put anything you would like in a clear cello bag tied with a curly cue of bright ribbon, and it looks cute as a door prize sitting on your counter.
Conversation Cards: In the Downtown Abbey era, dinner parties often boasted formal conversation topics. This is the modern day version of forced participation, but we promise it’s fun, and even the moms who grumble about it at first always end up feeling heard and seen after getting a chance to share what they’ve chosen. The idea here is to offer choices so that the moms who feel like sharing something deep or personal can do so, but the moms who are more in a funny story mood can share that instead. You don’t need to be sitting down or totally silent to have the sharing time either. A good idea is to announce that you’ll do the questions in between dinner and dessert, and then you have a natural transition in the middle of the evening to shift to something new. Print out a handful of copies of your “conversation cards” ahead of time and leave them scattered on your counter or a coffee table. When guests arrive, announce that before dessert everyone will be answering one of the questions on the cards, so get ready!
Take Home Activity: Another idea that can elevate your party beyond the run-of-the-mill girls night, is to do something during the night that they can go home with them as a token reminder of the fun you had together. Remember the days of holiday class parties in elementary school with a take-home craft? It’s like that but for moms to take home and show off. Flowers arrangements are an easy theme and require just the right amount of skill where you can still chat while doing it. You can find small inexpensive glass vases in bulk on Amazon, use mason jars, or even create bunches to wrap in brown paper and twine. Buy a few choices of flower colors and a type or two of greenery for your guests to choose from, and you’re on your way. If the price becomes too much for you to swing alone for your amount of guests, it’s totally fine to announce it as a theme on the invite and ask for a small Venmo contribution for those who want to participate!
Another gift to your guests would be if they could get something crossed off their to-do list at your party. Every mom loves a little productivity! You could provide the supplies to make-your-own Valentine’s. If your group knows each other well, a sweet idea for Valentine’s to give one another are “character hearts” that look like giant conversation hearts. Start with large foam heart shapes or hearts cut from construction paper. Put the name of each guest at the top of a heart, and throughout the evening, write complementary statements and adjectives about each person on their hearts. By the end of the night each guest has a Valentine full of their lovely personality and character attributes to take home. If your group doesn’t know each other well enough to do this, making these “character hearts” for your children is a great activity and lends well to conversation about the differences between your kids!
Take the offers for help! Our last piece of advice is that if someone says, “Can I bring anything?” or “Can I come early to help you set up?” Say, “Yes!” It will help keep your party budget under control and spread the ownership of the event, making your guests feel needed and appreciated. It’s a good idea to always offer choices of things to bring, both to feel out your guest’s level of interest, and to offer them different styles of participation. You never know if they are offering just to be polite or because they’re secretly full of fun ideas and willingness to help! So, you might say that you could always use extra beverages if they want to bring something they love to drink to share with the group, or mention that you still need to get a few $5 door prizes if they have anything on hand they might want to contribute? You could even ask for their brainstorming help with a hands-on activity, or if they seem extra excited to dig in behind the scenes, they could make the run to the flower mart for you, and bring some photos for inspiration! Remember, this is the year we go together, so if you want to throw a fun party but can’t swing it alone, step up and ask for the help you need!
We think a Galentine’s party is a chance to do something a step above the regular girls’ night, a chance to wear red and win prizes. Sometimes moms get the leftover scheduling which means our girls’ nights can become about our least common mom denominator – the weariness of the week, the gossip, the complaints, and all the ways we aren’t winning at life. Galentine’s is a chance to celebrate your greatest common mom denominator – how much you are loved and appreciated. So, resist the temptation to just collapse into a restaurant booth and drown your sorrows in queso dip and complaints (you can do that another time!). Instead of just emptying all the dishes at the table in an effort to have a moment of group comfort, have the kind of party where you leave with your cups full because you practiced true group care. Put on your hotmom-hype music, send out that Evite, and dust off the good glasses you never let your kids use. Let’s go, girls!