With Valentine’s Day and Galentine’s Day just around the corner, we asked New York-based food stylist and event curator, Rachel Snyder, who throws parties for a living, how she’s planning to set her table this year.  “Growing up, my mom would surprise me with Valentine's gifts every year, like pajamas or pink-frosted donuts,” Snyder reminisces. “Today, Valentine’s Day is a day of celebrating love in all my relationships. I try to take it as an opportunity to do something special for my girlfriends, and celebrate our love and friendship in a meaningful way.”

Although she’s someone who likes to plan on the day of as she likes “the creative-under-pressure aspect of it all,” Snyder did share some fail-proof tips on how to create a magical party for loved ones. Read on to take notes. 

They’re classics for a reason.

“Candles, great flatware and cloth napkins are my staples for every day–that evening glow is a must.”

Fruits or produce can be centerpieces, too.

“Cut them open, drape them on a cake stand, or scatter them over greenery. Guests can pick grapes from the table, or take home a papaya if they'd like!”

Flowers never hurt. 

“I often have flowers leftover from events (like the ones pictured here), which makes every day a special occasion! A single flower or a fern frond can be beautiful on the plate as well.

Make it personal.

“For Galentine's Day, I like to write notes of appreciation to all my gal pals, and use them as place holders.

Don’t forget the cheese board.

“Aside from candles, finish off the tablescape with a beautiful cheese board as well, so guests can see it’s part of the table as soon as they walk in.”

February 11, 2023 — Renée Tse