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Have you been asking what all the hoo-ha was with Valentine’s Day? Was Feb 14th filled with romance and flowers in your household? You wouldn’t be alone if it was, as Brits really do go to town on Valentine’s Day right from school children to couples who have been together a lifetime. I love visiting other countries and taking a peek at how they celebrate – birthdays, weddings, births and deaths, after all it’s what I’ve built my career on.
Valentine’s Day is an interesting one. And all isn’t how you would think. Love is all around no matter where you go but it’s celebrated in different ways on different dates across the world and I’ve certainly taken some inspiration from the different interpretations….
On Malaysia‘s day of love, which falls on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, women write their phone numbers on oranges before throwing them into the closest river with hopes that the man of their dreams might pick one up.
In Brazil theycelebrate Dia dos Namorados (“Day of Lovers”) on June 12. On the eve of the day, women write the names of various crushes on folded-up pieces of paper. Whichever name they pick from the pile on the following day will be the one they marry, or at least choose to go for.
As you’d expect in the USA Valentine’s Day is hugely popular. In fact the ‘love’ even spread to teachers, parents and any other close relation. Dinner and dance parties take place across the country for couples to celebrate the day. Many of the Valentine’s Day traditions we now use – chocolates, flowers etc all come straight from the USA. The celebrations even take place in schools with Valentine’s Day performances.
In Italy it was once celebrated as an open-air festival in the spring. Young people would gather in gardens to listen to music and the reading of poetry. These romantic scenes have long since died out..what a shame! A popular Valentine’s Day gift nowadays is ‘Baco Perugina’, a small, chocolate-covered hazelnut containing a small slip of paper with a romantic poetic quote in four languages which you often see in shops in the UK.
A typical Danish Valentine’s Day custom is to send pressed Snowdrops to friends and the Danes also see it as a time of fun. Danish men send their chosen one a form of valentine known as a gaekkebrev (or “joking letter”). This gaekkebrev is a type of romantic letter that contains a rhyme compiled by the sender and the name of who sent it isn’t included in the end…just a series of dots for each letter of the name. If the lady who receives the gaekkebrev correctly guesses the sender’s name, he rewards her with an Easter egg during Eastertide.
In South Korea and Japan, couples celebrate two Valentine’s Days. On February 14th, women give chocolate to men and in the following month on ‘White Day’, men turn it around by giving non-chocolate candy.
I think I’m sticking with the traditional British way to celebrate though – maybe with an Italian Baco Preugina thrown in!
Baby Shower Planning
It’s that time of the year when it seems there’s endless exquisite baby showers taking place. I’ve organised too many to mention over the past couple of years and one thing is for sure it’s all about treating the ‘mum to be’ to a fantastic day out as she celebrates the imminent arrival of her beautiful baby. But where do you start organising a baby shower? I approach them like a wedding and, if you’re organising a baby shower for a friend, I’ve listed out my Baby Shower Planning tips to help you ensure your event is simply the most fantastic baby shower of the year!
First thing to do on our list of Baby Shower Planning tips, is confirm the location – there is a move towards holding baby showers in beautiful luxurious locations such as the private dining room of your nearest five star boutique hotel. Many will offer private dining facilities and will have their own event organisers so you can work with them to help plan the party. Don’t be afraid to enlist their help–after all they have lots of experience and will offer lots of guidance on what will work and what won’t. If you prefer enrol the help of your own private event organiser especially if it’s taking place in a home.
Can’t decide what time to hold the event? Breakfast baby showers are becoming more and more popular as are baby showers held early evening.
Pick a theme – this can be as simple as choosing a colour and mix and matching different shades of blue or pink. If the sex of the baby hasn’t been revealed then go with white. Fill the room with stylish balloons and beautiful flowers in cut glass vases (place a bespoke order with your local flower shop) with delicately scented candle. If the mum loves a film then go for that as a theme. The Kardashians went for a ‘Breakfast at Tiffanys’ theme for Kourtney’s last shower and decked out the room in the infamous Tiffany turquoise and included mini Tiffany tiaras as place settings.
Invites should be personalised. How about a delicate Tiffany child’s silver rattle or silver or wooden building blocks engraved with baby with labels detailing the event wrapped in a beautiful box. If you’re going down the paper option them you must choose a luxurious card design that is personal to the mum to be – think luxury engraved invitations. Or issue electronic invitations designed by an expert.
The dress code? For me it’s all about glamour. It’s an opportunity for the mum to dress up and have an amazing time – and the guests can do the same. Enlist the help of a make up artist and hairdresser to ensure she looks stunning.
Hire a professional photographer to record the and then afterwards present the mum to be with a beautiful commemorative photo album from the day.
With regards to refreshments you need to ensure that the ‘mum to be’s’ likes and dislikes are catered for. Ensure the food and drink is personalised to her and, if the shower is being held in a hotel or restaurant, you will be able to ensure the menu is top notch – the latest canapés, and mini desserts are a must.
Alternatively if it’s being held at your home then enlist the help of a private caterer. Not all the guests will be pregnant so feel free to let the champagne flow or serve non-alcoholic and alcoholic cocktails including a ‘Pregatinni’! And maybe add a little ‘cheek’ to the day, and get Butlers in the Buff to serve them- always a talking point!
Create a hashtag so all the guests can post on all social media channels pictures/thoughts on the day and create the baby shower’s own website where guests can post pictures and comments on the day.
Create a gift list at the ‘mum to be’s’ favourite retailer or maternity concierge company. The likes of John Lewis, local bespoke baby boutiques and Selfridges all cater for new borns.
The cake is the crowning glory. Go three tiers, or cake pops served to everyone is always a good choice. Just ensure that it fits with the theme and is the day’s centrepiece.
Create a wish box where all the guests can write down their wish for the baby’s life ahead. Hand out specially designed cards that list out various points..’I hope you become…I hope you learn…I hope you love..’ Guests just pop the completed note in the box at the end of the day.
Finish the shower on a high and ensure that everyone receives a customised favour– from the latest range of Mac make up, to vouchers for the local spa to Tiffany picture frames to engraved key rings really spoil the guests.
Oh….good luck and enjoy!
Have you enjoyed reading our Baby Shower Planning tips? Take a look at this too: http://www.tlc-ltd.co.uk/mothers-day-brunch-planning-tips/
In my latest column in The Cheshire Magazine, I share some of the things that inspire me and TLC’s fabulous events – take a look and ‘get creative’. Liz x
For the fifth year running, the Taylor Lynn Corporation (www.tlc-ltd.co.uk) was proud to inject real magic and entertainment into the Marina Dalglish Appeal event by creating a spectacular gold and black colour theme, dramatic lighting design and a stylish décor, which, alongside amazing entertainment from the Swann Band, helped to make the night a memorable success.