Each year, my sister’s and I plan and put together a lovely brunch for all of our girlfriends on a special holiday called “Galentine’s Day”. Although the original holiday is on February 13th, we celebrate it on the last Saturday in February. This is an event that we do out of love and appreciation for all of the women in our lives who have helped us grow, laughed with us, shared our sorrows and uplifted us in all of our accomplishments both personally and professionally. It is our way of saying, “thank you” and, well, without getting too mushy “I love you”. Sure, there are other days that we could have chosen to celebrate the wonder women in our lives, but Galentine’s Day is our day. For the past five years, it has been a continued success amongst our friends. Each year, our group gets slightly larger and the brunch gets a fresh new look, but the main components are the same: we drink mimosas, eat a delicious brunch, and have chocolate for dessert. Now that is a win-win in our books. Check out the planning and ideas that went into this year’s Galentine’s brunch and we hope that this inspires you to do something similar with your friends soon.
Setting the Date:
Since Galentine’s Day is a spin off of Valentine’s Day, doing it in February just made sense for us. Hosting the brunch after February 14th allows us to save big time on Valentine-themed decor without breaking the bank. It also avoids any conflict in schedule with those actually celebrating Valentine’s Day with their significant other.
We have friends that live in both New Jersey and New York City, so we try to alternate locations each year. This year to make it easier for our Jersey guests we held the brunch at Fire and Oak located in Jersey City. This was a perfect location since it was easy to get to by car and public transportation. The best part was that there was also plenty of parking as well as a valet service that was validated by the restaurant. Of course, we fell in love with the menu options for the brunch and knowing that we would actually have our own private room gave the whole event a more intimate and homey feeling than we would have gotten someplace else.
Food is a major component of any event. Contrary to popular belief, girls can and will (and should!) eat food as long as it tastes delicious. We wanted a robust menu of both breakfast and lunch items (it is a brunch after all) and made sure that there was something for everyone. An absolute must for us is having mimosas and a delicious dessert to end things on a sweet note. Fire and Oak met all of our requirements and made it easy to make changes as needed for any allergies or dietary restrictions. The best part was that it was all within budget since our guests do pay for the cost of the meal and we aim to keep everything at a reasonable price for everyone.
As our brunch has grown, so has the decor. This year, we decided to call upon our friends in the industry and hire an amazing florist. DIY is fun, but through the years, we have become more and more busy in our personal and professional lives to devote the time needed to do a DIY project. The dining room at Fire and Oak had a warm feel with wood paneling and leather seating. We wanted the decor to play off the vibe of the room with reds, dark pinks, and gold.
For the flowers, we partnered with Al-Nisa Reid-Jenkins of ARJ Signature Designs to create beautiful, lush centerpieces for the table. The low row of flowers included the hues of red and pink that we were looking for and brought out the wood accents. Smaller bud vases with roses added a romantic feel to the gift bag display.
We went fancy with the stationery and worked with Lisa from Paper Dream & Keepsakes Design Studio for the menu cards and they came out beautifully. The custom menus matched the decor of the brunch and as an added touch, a watermark of our logo was printed on each one.
Since part of the color palate was gold, we reached out to our good friend, Terrian Freeman of Dream It Plan It Events to use her glass gold beaded chargers, which added the right touch of elegance to the decor and ambiance of the brunch. Since we opted to not have linens on the table, the chargers allowed us to have more color and elevate the look and feel of the white dinner plates. We love the versatility of chargers in any setting and were so glad that we used them for the bruch.
To encourage our friends to put down their phones instead of taking pictures, we made sure to invite our honorary big sister, Nana Annan of Nana Annan Photography to take pictures during the event. This was a huge hit as many of our friends hadn’t taken professional pictures in ages and got to leave with a high quality picture to actually print out and frame at home. Plus, not seeing a whole bunch of cellphones held up for selfies allowed for more face time rather than screen time.
The one DIY project that we all happily pitched in for each year are the gift bags that we make for all of our friends for Galentine’s Day. This year we feel was our best year yet with the items that we filled the bags with for everyone. We decided to stick with the theme of relaxation ( we could all use a mini break every now and then) and created a spa kit that included bath salts, a face mask, a candle, a bottle of wine, a gold chocolate covered pretzel, and a bag of chocolates. Pretty much: heaven in a bag. Almost every item in the gift bag was handmade and we had loads of fun putting everything together. It was a labor of love and our ladies really appreciated the personal touch.
Overall, the brunch was loads of fun. As busy women, we don’t often get the chance to just hang out with each other like we used to when we were young and carefree. The brunch is strictly for us girls, so no kids or boys are allowed. Since we send out the invitations months in advance, everyone is able to clear their schedules and get babysitters as needed. During the brunch, we eat, laugh, and play a few ice breaker games so that everyone has a chance to mingle and get to know each other. The best part of the whole brunch is the feeling of togetherness that we all have throughout the whole event. It is like a mini reunion and seeing friends all dressed up and enjoying each other’s company is amazing. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Cheers!