One of the most amazing things about student ministry is that we can spend tens of thousands of dollars and months planning events that can be outdone by events that take no time to plan and little money to do. Sometimes those quirky, small events can prove to be a person’s favorite.
A few year’s ago Jennifer and I decided to make Waffle House our Valentine’s Day dinner. We enjoy WH and many Waffle House’s decorate for the holiday. It is a lot of fun and some of our best stories happen during this time. About the same time Anti-Valentine’s Day parties were becoming trendy. Basically getting groups together to do fun things that you wouldn’t normally associate with Valentine’s Day. Anti-Valentine’s Day events seem perfect for a youth group because they aren’t expensive, you don’t need a date, and you don’t have to dress nice.
In January, Jennifer and I began talking about doing our traditional Valentine’s Day dinner, but with the youth group. I never thought we would really do the event. One we needed to be okay with sacrificing our Valentine’s Day to hang out with teenagers. Two we needed a Waffle House in our area that decorated for Valentine’s Day. Three we needed a Waffle House that would allow us to reserve at least 20 spots during their 6pm time slot.
I found the only WH that was decorating for Valentine’s Day in Covington, Georgia. Jen and I talked about this event to make sure we were cool with sharing it with students. Yes I allowed her to veto this idea if she wanted. She was the driving force behind pull it off for the youth group. Jennifer called the WH and they allowed us to reserve 20 spots on Valentine’s Day!! I was most shocked by this. We rented out half of a Waffle House for the youth group on Valentine’s Day. How awesome is that??!?
I’ve announced many events in my life that I had to ‘sell’ to students. No selling this one. Almost immediately we hit our limit of 20 people. In fact, we made sure WH was okay if we went over that by 2 or 3.
Students loved it. We took tons of pics for Instagram and the student area. Waffle House did a great job with ambiance. Also I’m sure that is the only time the words ‘Waffle House’ and ‘ambiance’ will ever be used in the same sentence.
I encourage you to find local, quirky things like this to do with people. They are so fun and affordable for all groups. It might not be your favorite restaurant, but for Valentine’s Day it should be.