Make Over Your Valentine’s Table in 6 Easy Steps

Eco-friendly event designer Matthew David Hopkins created this romantic and easy-to-do table design for Valentine’s Day. Try it tonight!

Valentines day table setting

Photo by Courtesy of Matthew David Hopkins / The Nest

We caught up with event planner to the stars Matthew David Hopkins of 360 Design Events and asked him to design a Valentine’s table perfect for a romantic dinner in. True to form, Hopkins put just as much thought and effort into this small project as he does the gala events for which he’s known. “The heart of this is about showing you care without breaking the bank,” he says. “In my opinion, it’s not about how much money you spend; it’s about how much attention you pay.”

Step 1: Gather your materials. To create his table, Hopkins used the following items:

1 pack scallop paper squares

2 packs scallop paper hearts (various colors)

1 box pastel chalk

10 votive candles

10 roses

20 votive holders -- Hopkins used half-square, half-round holders in hot pink and red, but you can use what you have access to

2 place settings, including cloth napkins

Step 2: Prep your canvas. Hopkins’s table was white. Get the look by covering yours with a white tablecloth. Hopkins suggests choosing one that skims the floor. “It adds elegance,” he explains. “It’s another simple way to show that you’re paying attention.”

Step 3: Create a grid. “Lay out a row of squares in each direction to figure out how many you’ll need and how far apart they should be spaced,” Hopkins says. “Don’t worry about measuring. The scalloped squares help hide imperfection.” Tip: Leave two openings large enough for the place settings.

Step 4: Write some love notes. Channel your inner grade-schooler and scrawl words on the hearts with chalk. “This is a takeoff on the classic sweetheart candies,” Hopkins says. “It’s recognizable but with a twist -- the imperfect handwriting makes it cooler and more personal.” Place a heart on each blank square.

Step 5: Light it up. Put candles in half of the votive holders, and water and roses in the remaining ones, before adding them to the table. “I placed them irregularly,” Hopkins says. “I left at least one square between each one, but they aren’t in a specific pattern. Remember, there’s no right or wrong way of doing it.” Again, it’s not about perfection.

Step 6: All set. Add the table settings and napkins. And while paper napkins do have their place, Hopkins says that place isn’t at a romantic dinner for two. “Guys, get it together and buy a couple of cloth napkins. They won’t set you back much but will make a big difference,” he says.

Valentines day craft supplies

Photo by Courtesy of Matthew David Hopkins / The Nest

Resources: Scallop squares, $10 for 25, and hearts, $7 for 24, PaperPresentation.com; 24-piece pastel chalk set, $10, OfficeDepot.com; square and round votive holders, and votive candles, all $1 each, Pier1.com; roses, $1-$5 per stem, any local florist

-- Hallie Goodman