This year for Valentine’s Day I had a different task then usual – I was asked to coordinate a Date Night for married and engaged couples at my local church. Going from planning weddings and bridal shows to planning smaller scale events was not that much of a stretch but creating all the decor and desserts on a smaller budget would definitely call for some creativity. Off I went to the dollar store – my new favourite place to hunt for fantastic decor on a budget. You wouldn’t think so put together these items look very professional and complete! The room that I was working with has light green walls, grey plastic tables and darker grey plastic chairs. Right away, I knew I need I needed pink and white table cloths to cover those tables.

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For the walls, I picked up some large, red, sparkly hearts, red garland, and hanging heart streamers. To spruce up the table settings, I used some plastic martini glasses and filled them with red and white vase filler and red plastic jewels. I used red beaded fashion necklaces to create the shapes of hearts on the tables around the base of the glasses. In other glasses, I used the standard red cinnamon hearts, a staple for any Valentine’s Day gathering. I also purchased some heart-shaped foam pieces to spread on the tables as confetti.

The desserts were a little more of a challenge as we were tasked with creating 200 mini cupcakes among other delicious goodies. I quickly asked around to get help for this one! I ended up finding a literal life saver in a girl who used to bake cakes and cupcakes all the time and therefore was way more suited for the task than I was. I went to the store and bought a mix of chocolate, vanilla and confetti cake mix and chocolate, milk chocolate, buttercream, vanilla and cream cheese icing. She provided the rest of the decorating tools and items such as sprinkles and the piping bag and attachments. Within just a few days, this lovely helper of mine had baked and decorated with amazing skill 200 mini cupcakes.

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We planned on having two chocolate fountains at this event – one milk chocolate and one dark chocolate – and the church graciously provided all the melted chocolate as well as the pineapple, strawberries, and pretzels to dip into the chocolate with. Previous to this, I had never full operated a chocolate fountain before so operating it was a bit of a learning curve. Note to everyone: Give the chocolate fountain at least 10 minutes on the “warm” setting before putting the chocolate in! After the chocolate had finally completely melted, guests were able to enjoy fruit on skewers covered in the chocolate of their choice.

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After the decorations for the food area and food was prepared, I added a little extra inside the Sanctuary of the church, where the couples would hear advice on relationship and love earlier on in the night.

I opted for some standalone arrangements to place on the floor beside the pews down the aisle. I also used some red tulle to create bows for the actual pews. It was small and simple but effective enough to create the feel of romance and love. I realized that all these decorations did not have to be as elaborate as a wedding but the thought put into the detail still has to be the same.

On the night of, the couples had a lot of fun with the games, prizes, the message and the food. Overall the event was a success! I had a great time organizing it and would love to do it again next year.

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