Love it or hate it, Valentines day is almost upon us. Don’t leave organizing something romantic for the special lady in your life until the last minute. The less time you have, the more obvious and clichéd your presents will be. You don’t even have to spend a fortune. To make it special, you just have to put the effort in and plan ahead.
Don’t get caught out, follow my top tips and make Valentines Day a night she will never forget, without breaking the bank or succumbing to stereo typical convenience store chocolates, flowers sold from petrol station forecourts or expensive meals in restaurants where you are forced into a set menu with cheesy atmosphere when you are rushed out the door before the next group arrives.
This is not sandwiches, crisps and cartons of soda. A romantic picnic could have anti-pasti, fresh king prawns and chilli dipping sauce, cheese board, melted chocolate and strawberries and fine wine. Don’t think because it’s February and it’s cold that you can’t have a picnic. You don’t even have to leave the house. Put a rug down in front of the fire and enjoy.
Park bench bottle of champagne
This is not a couple of winos drinking booze from a brown bag scenario. This one is all about location and ambience. Clearly the location is 90% so if you don’t have a picturesque place to take your lady, this one is off limits. If you manage to find the perfect spot, you need check the weather reports. If after all that you are confident for a dry, clear evening – then this can be magic. Bring a radio, a blanket and don’t forget the wine!
Write a love letter
When was the last time you wrote a love letter, and I don’t mean by email, a proper hand written letter to your partner to show her how much you care? If never, you should be ashamed of yourself. If not since you were courting, then there is no better time to reinstate this very romantic gesture. You can take this a stage further and buy her a writing kit so you can continue this throughout the year. You can’t beat a hand written letter to show effort and the personal touch.
Take the day off and spend it together
If you both work, you won’t have the element of surprise for this one, but the anticipation will be exciting for you both. Plan something special for the day, do something different and spend the day together. Put off all chores and jobs (or make sure they are done the day before) and don’t use the day to stay in and watch TV. Get out of the house and enjoy each others company.
Book of personalised vouchers
Get a pad and create a list of things you would be happy to do on demand for your loved one. Either create a nice hand written pad of vouchers or create them on your PC and print them off. It could be anything from making a cup of tea, to going out for dinner, to… ok you will have to use your imagination and be creative, but you get my point. Give a few vouchers for the easy things, be less of the harder things to make it achievable. Handing over the vouchers is one thing, but all the romance will be undone if you don’t deliver!
Ultra modern mix tape
When I was a young man, there was a generation of us making mix tapes of our favourite songs on cassette to give to our girlfriends. Many women I have spoken to on the subject of romance remember this as a really romantic thing to do. For some reason this tradition/culture has faded from popularity. Why not bring it right up to date with a list of songs put onto CD or USB memory stick.
So I tried to steer clear of the clichés, but if you combine some of the other ideas, it could work out great and be different enough to avoid the stereo type. Book the day off and go for a romantic lunch instead of dinner. Evening meals are often too limited on Valentines day with a set menu of dubious taste (it needs to appeal to the masses, not your refined palette!). Also, as Valentines day is a real money maker for restaurants there will be pressure to get you out the door as soon as possible to get the next customer in. The restaurant will be likely filled to capacity so service may suffer. Lunch time you will not get any of these issues. You can enjoy a relaxed meal with more choice and once finished, stay in the bar for a drink. When the place starts to fill up, you know it’s time to leave. If you then finish off with a romantic picnic at home in the evening – you have done well.
Hands up if you only buy flowers for your partner when you are in trouble or it’s Valentines day? Shame on you. You should be buying flowers for your partner throughout the year, for no other reason than to make her happy. Flowers around Valentines day are over priced and probably the most clichéd thing you can do. Instead, buy an attractive calender and mark off weeks in which you will surprise her with flowers just because. This works in a number of ways:
- It encourages you to get into the habit of buying flowers throughout the year, not just at the ‘normal/expected’ times.
- You never know what will be going on in your lives at that time, so it could be a double bonus if things are tough (as things sometimes are).
- It builds anticipation and excitement because she will not know what day they are coming, only that they are coming soon.
- For those on a budget it could just be one flower, it really doesn’t matter, and 12 single flowers throughout the year will cost considerably less than a dozen red roses. However, as this isn’t about the money you could splash out on something a but more unusual.
After all, she is worth it.