There are so many languages of love. Mom whispered “Je T’aime beaucoup ma belle fille,” French for “I love you, my beautiful girl,” each night as she tucked us into bed. I yell “Te Amo,” Spanish for “I love you” to my boys as I head out the door each morning. I also show my love languages to friends and family by creating experiences to share with them. Whether it’s a dinner, a thoughtfully laid table or a fresh batch of brownies for an afterschool treat, my love language usually involves a creative gesture.
Similarly, as we approach February 14th, I start planning ways to show my love. I thought about Valentine’s Day and the idea of hosting a lovely lunch with friends or a cheerful dinner with those I barely get to be with these days. Of course, this is all in addition to the dinner pour deux that I am planning for my primo Valentine, Mike. I realized that my inventory of tabletop selections could support all of the creativity simmering in my head. I identified that the key to my three different events was a variety of dynamic tablecloths that would set the foundation for all of the pretties that I planned to lay on top.
As large gatherings remain discouraged, I am aiming for a responsible and intimate lunch for ladies and a heart-filled friends’ dinner as well…even if it’s just with one or two of my besties.
With three different Valentine celebrations in mind, I have created a trio of pink and red table settings. For the girls’ lunch, I draped a geometric cloth of zigzag concentric diamonds over the table. Pink is a natural go-to for this holiday, but the bold shocking pink-and-white coloration of this pattern speaks to the subjects of art and fashion that manage to slip their way into the many conversations that my friends and I share. We love to talk about art, design, and of course shoes. Gold is a must on a day when the gift of baubles is classic. Whether it’s a fun piece from our shop or a forever piece from a fine jeweler, I loved how the gold accent speaks to idea of jewelry. That’s why I turned to the woven gold placemats from Juliska to anchor the plates. You know that beloved green cabbage ware pottery that so many people collect? I’m a collector, too, but of the rare pink version. I placed it here with a dainty gold plate and a striped one that will no doubt be used to serve an ultra-decadent chocolate dessert that my friends and I will dive into with zero hesitation. When I host a lunch or dinner, a charming addition is the inclusion of a menu card. It makes the experience a bit more special and adds an additional detail the importance of the friendship.
For my next tablescape, I somewhat reversed the scheme of the first with gold playing the leading role and pink blushing its way onto the table as a supporting character. I love how the geometry of the print offsets the shimmer of the gold. Concentric squares are regimented and also play well with the circular forms of my dishes and glassware. I love them on this fabric that makes a statement in gold and ivory. The strong value of the placemats is softened by the plates in pale pink and gold. I season the scheme with a few moments of dark color from the faux-tortoise flatware to roses in a deep shade of scarlet.
Finally, why not go all out for the table where Mike and I will share our Valentine’s Day dinner? We will most likely be staying in and it is fun to create an environment that makes the occasion feel more special than an everyday dinner. It does lean towards the feminine side with floating shamrocks on the tablecloth from India Amory. But it’s charming, it’s pink, and since Mike grew up in a very traditional household, he welcomes the soft and pretty color that speaks to this holiday. Plus, I offset the cloth’s charming side with a contrast of natural, neutral materials from round wicker placemats to bamboo-handled flatware, also from Juliska. A menu card by Oh So Grand is not only the perfect place to let my other half know what we’re eating, but also an opportunity for a sweet Valentine’s Day message, even a classic one such as “Be Mine.”
Notice I keep all of the centerpieces simple with roses (which can be found at your local grocer). Candles add the perfect ambience for nighttime meals, and custom embroidered napkins celebrate the occasion with personality.
I look forward to celebrating Valentine’s Day because it’s an opportunity to show love with abundance. Whether the affection is for dear friends, a spouse or a brand-new sweetheart, this is an opportunity to use my love language. Love is officially in the air in February. whether seen or heard, it’s always special and welcome. As the French would say, “Joyeuse saint Valentin”. Or in English, “Happy Valentine’s Day.” XO