Please, No Chocolate Fountains!

Valentine’s Day — Feb. 14 is here (or gone). The day we either love, or hate, or the day we would love to hate. It’s always a bit awkward for planners who have an event falling over Cupid’s holiday. Especially if your attendees are primarily men and the destination is out of town. So what’s a planner to do? I recommend embracing the day with a certain amount of political appropriateness. Even the biggest Scrooge warms to a little lovin’ whether they’ll admit it or not.

Here are some suggestions that I have found successful. These ideas can be used all year long, too. Lean to the “cheeky” side with your fun factor. Make the dessert a bit more special at the primary meal of the day. Example: An ice cream sundae bar with lots of toppings. Display a note letting attendees know you are doing something special for them.

Interactive dessert stations are another way to be creative. Do a truffle station with two-piece to-go boxes. It lets guests roll the chocolates in toppings and enjoy them later. If your event is plated, use a dessert that has a historical tie to St. Valentine. Send a card with the dessert that explains the connection. You also could bring in a wine expert for a wine and dessert pairing. Chocolate is not a necessity. Please, whatever you do, no chocolate fountain.

Other ideas: Show off the cheesy box of Whitman’s candy samplers at coffee breaks; include a bowl of those candy hearts we adored in elementary school; write trivia on Valentine’s Day facts and place them on stanchions around the break table. Make sure to use the special items in addition to more traditional break foods so the valentine’s treats register an an extra.

If you can, buy chocolates or candies from a local shop. I’ve found hotels very accepting of bringing in outside companies with minimal charges for a one-off special circumstance.

If you need to send something home to your partner, try John & Kira’s in Philadelphia, my preferred chocolate vendor. It’s been rated by Consumer Reports as the best Valentine’s Day chocolate around. You won’t go wrong with any of their offerings.

This is my sweet story for now, and I am sticking to it.

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