What’s Galentine’s Day?! Oh, it’s only the best day of the year.“Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation
In season 2, episode 16 of the sitcom Parks and Recreation, Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler) introduced us to Galentine’s Day. Celebrated every year on Feb. 13, it’s a day of “ladies celebrating ladies” as they “kick it breakfast style,” sans romantic partners.
In the episode, Knope gathers her girlfriends and gifts each of them a bouquet of hand-crocheted flower pens and a personalized mosaic portrait made from the crushed bottles of their favorite diet soda — among other gems. (The personalized 5,000-word essay describing each woman’s awesomeness is my personal favorite, but I digress.)
Galentine’s Day celebrates the love you have for your friends. Have fun with it and remember: It’s about creating memories.
Katharine Nicole Magsaysay
Founder, Say Say Experience
As it turns out, it was the celebratory event women the world over didn’t know they needed. Fourteen years since its unofficial inauguration, Galentine’s Day continues to be embraced by women with an (almost) Leslie Knope-type of enthusiasm — excessive gestures honoring the sisterhood notwithstanding. And the event gives gal pals a reason to hit pause on their busy lives as they commemorate their friendships in a relaxed atmosphere. But the occasion may have evolved into one with even deeper meaning than when it was first created.
Wendy DiPietro, event planner and owner of We Plan It in Vancouver, Washington, believes Galentine’s Day is a day of empowerment for women. “It has become about their strength and independence,” she says, in addition to “celebrating the female friends that are extremely important to them.”
Galentine’s Day party ideas
In honor of Galentine’s Day 2024, we’ve compiled a list of six party ideas for curating an event worthy of you and your female tribe — with nary a crocheted flower pen bouquet in sight.
1. Keep planning in perspective
We all want to throw the perfect party (remember “Mrs. Dalloway”?), but before you lose yourself in insignificant minutia, make sure to keep the spirit of the event in the forefront of your mind. “Galentine’s Day celebrates the love you have for your friends,” says Katharine Nicole Magsaysay, founder of Say Say Experience in Vancouver, Washington. “Have fun with it and remember: It’s about creating memories.”
2. Don’t stress about invitations
When it comes to invites, DiPietro and Magsaysay are in favor of keeping it simple. “Go paperless,” DiPietro says, adding that using evites and social media posts to invite guests to your gathering is the way to go — although she suggests steering clear of Facebook for events. “People who take a Facebook hiatus may end up missing it,” she says. Magsaysay likes Canva for personalized invitations that you can create, download, and send out via text and email.
Paperphiles might still prefer to send personalized printed cards — either as invitations to the event or post-party as thank you cards. Whatever choice you go with, make sure it doesn’t give you unnecessary stress during the planning process.
3. Personalize your dècor
Whether you choose to decorate in a style that is elegant and elaborate or homespun and sweet is up to you; you should, however, make sure the decor reflects your personality and aesthetic. Magsaysay likes going the DIY route. “Head over to your local dollar store or the cute $3 to $5 section at Target. They have some of the best decorations, and it’s affordable,” she says. DIY balloon garland kits can really elevate the atmosphere of your soiree, especially when paired with a flower bouquet as a centerpiece.
DiPietro likes adding personalized place settings for a sincere touch. These can be as simple as including a heartfelt handwritten note to each guest, along with a small token at each plate, such as a chocolate truffle. DiPietro also suggests that hostesses “have a special gift curated for their gal pals.” Personalized wine glasses are a fun keepsake that will remind guests of the festive Galentine’s Day they spent with you. Or treat your friends to a bit of bling with personalized friendship bracelets.
4. Bring food & drink front and center
Options for food abound — from charcuterie, fruit bouquets, and gourmet snacks to multi-course meals. Magsaysay even suggests making the event about the food. “Invite all your pals over for an intimate dinner, and have each person make a dish that you can all enjoy,” she says. “You can do the same with drinks — there are so many fun alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage options that friends can enjoy creating together.”
Then again, you can’t go wrong with a good ol’ fashioned Sunday brunch with mimosas a la Leslie Knope. Eggs benedict, baked goods, and fresh coffee were made for Galentine’s Day gatherings. Throw in some deep belly laughs and heartwarming stories, and your event is sure to create fond lasting memories.
5. Crank up the tunes
Creating a festive atmosphere is what Galentine’s get-togethers are all about — and music can help cultivate the mood you want for your gathering. Magsaysay recommends assembling a fun playlist for the event. “Give everyone access to add songs to the playlist before the big day,” she says. And don’t forget to add candles for a bit of glimmer and glow that vibe with the music.
6. Bond over activities
Playing games, making crafts or vision boards, baking together, or just sitting down for a nice long gab fest are interactive ways to enjoy your time together. Or sign up for an online workshop to learn to do everything from gnocchi making to flower arranging.
Whatever you decide, stay open to developing new relationships, DiPietro suggests. She cites a recent client as an example, a bride who met her best friend and maid of honor at a Galentine’s Day party.
“Keep the door open to friends of friends,” she says. “When you allow people to bring a friend, you pave the way to create new connections.”