The holidays are behind us and gloomy January has arrived—but what’s that bright pink spot on the horizon? Valentine’s Day! It has something for everyone (Don’t believe us? Read on for a little Valentine’s Day history.) and is an opportunity for your business or nonprofit organization to host an event.
Jump to our virtual and live movie night Valentine’s Day event ideas for both those into romance and those that just can’t with love this year.
A Short History of Valentine’s Day
Though many believe this romantic day is manufactured, it actually has deep roots that reach back to a pagan Roman festival. “Lupercalia” was a pretty debauched affair (read up on it here), but it was related to fertility and partnering up.
By the Middle Ages, it had evolved into a more romantic holiday. The first mention of Valentine’s Day was back in 1375 when in his poem “Parliament of Foules,” Geoffrey Chaucer wrote, “For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day / Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.” (via History.com). However, as with many things, the Victorians turned Valentine’s Day into a full-blown holiday with pretty Valentine’s Day cards, hearts, and flowers. But it wasn’t all unicorns, undying love, and rainbows. The Victorians also exchanged something called “Vinegar Valentines,” which could be sassy, teasing, or just plain mean! More on Victorians and Vinegar Valentines here.
Photo Credit: Missouri Historical Society
Valentine’s Day Parties for Everyone
No matter your relationship status or state of mind, movie night is always a good idea.
Whether you’re single, in love, part of a couple, or 100% not on the relationship train, the rich history of Valentine’s Day has plenty of inspiration for a great event! Today, we’ll deep dive into the idea of a movie night. They’re easy to organize, are great for promoting a business and engaging the community, and can also serve as a terrific fundraiser.
Host a Rom-Com/Anti-Love Movie Night for Valentine’s Day
This themed event is all about the movie you’re screening, so we’ll start there. Our favorite movies of the anti-Valentine’s Day variety include War of the Roses, 500 Days of Summer, Casablanca, She’s Gotta Have It, Blue Valentine, Fatal Attraction, My Best Friend’s Wedding, John Tucker Must Die, and Gone Girl.
Thinking you want to keep the love alive? Consider screening these romantic comedy films: Always Be My Maybe, Isn’t it Romantic, Crazy Rich Asians, Moonstruck, Love & Basketball, Pride and Prejudice, and the kids-friendly Lady and the Tramp.
Host it live:
String some twinkle lights outdoors and serve decadent finger food (chocolate-covered strawberries, anyone?) and cocktails inspired by the movie you’re screening. For example, you could serve a romantic dinner of spaghetti and meatballs for Lady and the Tramp or jello and creme brulee for dessert during a screening of My Best Friend’s Wedding. Send out on-theme, printed invitations to make it feel even more special. If you’re going the anti-Valentine’s Day route, maybe play with the notion of Vinegar Valentines and get sassy with your decor through things like “Love Stinks” balloons, a heartbreak piñata people can take a swing at, and anti-Valentine’s Day conversation cookies.
Guests can buy printed tickets, which gets them a seat, food (including popcorn), and drinks. As a bonus, mix in some fun activities that go along with your theme. For example, if you’re hosting an anti-Valentines Day, you could offer card games like Exploding Kittens, Cards Against Humanity, or traditional card game like Spite and Malice or War.
Host a hybrid movie night:
Use an events platform to live stream the movie of your choice as a ticketed virtual event. Add a gaming element to engage your guests. One way to do this is to sprinkle trivia questions throughout the movie. Guests can answer in real time via live chat. Another idea is to add a scavenger hunt with questions about moments and characters in the film. Whoever correctly answers the most questions can win a fun prize at the film’s end. For instance, if you own a bakery, restaurant, boutique, or spa, you could give away a virtual cooking class, cute accessory, or spa service.
Make Your Valentine’s Day Movie Night a Fundraiser
Whether you’re a nonprofit or a business that wants to give back, your Valentine’s Day event can double as a fundraiser. Here are a few ways to add a fundraising element:
Host a raffle.
Each event ticket sale can include a raffle entry, and the prize draw can happen at the end of the night. Alternatively, host an online raffle and sell tickets in person and online. That way, those at home or who can’t attend can still enter to win and support your chosen cause. Experience prizes are a great idea here — things like dance classes and cooking classes for two are fun for couples and for people who’d rather bring along their bestie. For tips and tricks on hosting a successful raffle, download our free Raffle for Success e-book,
Create a crowdfunding fundraising campaign on Eventgroove, then promote it in person with text-to-give or through your emcee. For example, if you’re hosting a virtual screening, you can promote the cause and your goal and guests can donate in real time.