While most of us tend to spend Valentine’s Day with our one and only (or, you know, a box of chocolates), I think it makes things way more fun to spend an evening with all the people we adore, right? (You can go make out with your sweetie later. Nobody wants to see that at the dinner table anyway.)

Personally, I’d rather spend this sappy day showing my favorite people some heartfelt gratitude for their friendships. Keeping things small and intimate – the best of the besties – I’d put together something unexpected and casual, with delicious comfort food to fight off the February chill. And, since we’d all rather be in Mexico right now…. what could possibly be a better theme? 

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julie harmsen for coco+kelley modern mexicana 2

What, you’ve never heard of a Mexican Valentine’s Day feast? Well, you’re about to. Truth be told, I really wanted to create a tabletop that gave me the excuse to wear that fabulous vintage dress you see above. I was inspired by the subtle color and stylings – something we don’t envision when we think of a Mexican themed party.  So I wanted to put that style into a table. A more modern, clean look with lots of whites and metallics, but just the right pop of coral and red…

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The menus were created with the same idea. Authentic but updated dishes that are a bit less common (Ahem. No taco bar allowed).

A spicy crab soup to start, followed by mini tostadas to cleanse the palate. Then super traditional turkey tamales with mole to finish things off! And for dessert? Well, we’ll get to that part later…

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As with all my tables – even the most casual – there has to be a hit of glamour. The high shine of the gold flatware, salad dishes, and gold rimmed glasses add that lovely touch perfectly. The rest of the table, in contrast, uses really natural, beautiful textures. I love the combination!

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To top things off, some easy floral bunches all in white, and a few glowing glassybabies (my favorite go-to votives made here in Seattle!) do the trick…

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A welcoming table that inspires casual comfort, and warm blankets for friends that invite late night conversations. Now you tell me – who wouldn’t want to spend their Valentine’s Day here?

*photography by julie harmsen // creative direction and styling by cassandra lavalle // styling assistant amanda gray

*shop the look :: gold rimmed glassware // coral rimmed glassware // wood dish // metallic dish // dinner plate // wood charger // cadiz napkin // gold flatware // ‘placemat‘ // handmade glass candleholders // vases (1) and (2) // table linen // baskets // mexican blankets //


  1. Rochelle Nigri

    I love the idea of this! What better way to show the people you care about that they are important to you even on the most “couple specific” day of the year.

  2. Kate

    I would give my left pinky if I could set a table that nicely! You don’t really need your left pinky, do you?

  3. Becca

    I LOVE this whole thing. I think celebrating Valentine’s day with all of the people you love is definitely the way to go – and who doesn’t love Mexican food? Are you going to share recipes for some of the things you mentioned? The table setting is really fantastic. The Anthro hand towels work perfectly as placemats.

  4. Emily

    I absolutely love Glassybabies and they really give the table that special V-day punch here. And what shows love and gratitude like yummy mexican food? Seriously.

  5. vintage market place

    wow, this is so beautiful and LOVE the pops of red.
    I just think it is so inviting and would love to set my table this way for a small dinner party with friends.
    Loving the idea of blankets too.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  6. Jeri

    I am in love with this. It makes me miss you & sharing a dinner table with my girls. I’m sure you’ll start the party off with some glamorous margaritas. Lots of love.

  7. Kory

    Beautiful! I love the idea of doing a Valentine’s dinner for friends too. I completely agree that the day should be about sharing the love with all of the important people in your life.

  8. mikky

    Mexican Valentine’s dinner, I like it! I love the paper chandelier, it is just so pretty and festive. Would love to do one like that outside this summer. And love the runners too, very cute. And those red rimmed glasses are great.

    Now what about that dessert? 😉


    1. Cassandra LaValle Post author

      hi leslie! the red on is ‘love’ (so appropriate, right?) and the white ones are a mix of pearl, hope and cream (i believe). it made me want to add a ton of white ones to my small but growing collection!

  9. Carolyn

    This refreshing, elegant table setting proves there more to Mexican style than sombrero chip bowls and garish colors. I’d love to know where you got your lovely dress!

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About Cassandra LaValle

Cassandra LaValle is the founder and editor-in-chief of coco+kelley where she explores trends in fashion, decor and entertaining, highlighting pieces that exude classic design and glamour. As a designer, she consults clients across the globe on styling their homes and private events from her offices in Seattle.

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