As St. Valentine’s day approaches, it often conjures up feelings of love and anticipation, as well as some stress in thinking of the best ways to “wow” your sweetheart year after year. Sure, you’ve tried the requisite roses and box of chocolates, but we’d like to offer you a few ideas on making this year’s BIG date night a hit, whether you’ve got a little or a lot to spend.
Ride in style! Depending on where you’re located, try taking an unusual form of transportation to your date-night destination. This can include a horse and carriage, a motorcycle (make sure to have a license and helmets!), a classic car or even a boat/water taxi. Pre-plant a small gift or bottle of champagne (if you’re not driving, of course!) in whatever mode of transportation you choose for an added surprise. Just mix it up a bit!
Take it back! This can be a tricky one if you’ve only been dating a short time, but it can still work to your advantage. Try to recreate some of your most fond memories together in one evening, or spread it out through a whole day together. Perhaps it’s a meal at a favorite pizza place from college, then going for some suds at your local watering hole and finally ending with a long walk where you had your first kiss. Or, maybe it’s igniting that fire again by recreating the way you proposed with rose petals, candles and “your song” at home after a nice dinner at your favorite sushi bar. You know the memories that mean the most to you both, so rack your brain for the best moments and it can lead to a fabulous evening!
Get outdoors! For some, a little physical activity is all it takes to get the fires of love burning between them. Get creative on your usual bike excursion by packing a backpack with a picnic blanket, a bottle of bubbly (or Gatorade, if that’s your taste), plastic glasses and some delicious but easy-to-carry snacks. Plan to unveil them at a picturesque or secluded place along the trail. Another great option is to re-route your usual activity to make sure you pass by a great art museum, conservatory or library that has an interesting exhibit or tour that you can both take together. On your way home, make sure to stop at a local bakery or gelato stand for a small but tempting treat!
Taste of the good life! In most regions around the country, you can find some local wineries or breweries that offer great tours and tastings. Many of these spots also try to partner with a local B&B so that you can enjoy plenty of tasting and not have to worry about a long drive home. If you’re a wine couple, find out what’s close to you and what varietals they offer, and make a day of going from tasting room to tasting room trying all the best the purveyors have to offer. Make sure to start with a hearty lunch ahead of time at a local hot spot. If beer is more your style, you may find that there are some smaller, local breweries (even those that operate out of a local bar) that offer samplings and food pairings. Some larger breweries even offer tours of their facilities. What a great way to try something new with your partner while enjoying a great mug of brew!
Surprise them! So, your sweetheart has the misfortune to be working on Valentine’s Day, or worse, is on a business trip for the whole week. Don’t despair! Surprise them with something special at work or at their hotel when they arrive. A handmade card and a custom gift basket of their favorite things (small candles, candies and mini bottles of their favorite libation), a bunch of their favorite flowers and a singing telegram, or even showing up yourself to their destination (within reason, of course!) with a smile, a small gift and a “leading,” romantic card to when they’re able to make it home- these are all great ways to make Valentine’s Day special even if you aren’t able to really go all-out this year.
And really, the best advice is to think outside of the box, be thoughtful, and remember that it’s just one day out of the year where you can express your love for your partner. Who says you can’t celebrate one another all year long? Have fun and Happy Valentine’s Day!