Here we are at that time of year again—romance is in the air, Valentine’s Day gifts and cards are all over stores and the online world is buzzing with search queries by nervous boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands and wives looking to find the right way to show their significant other how much they care about them. No matter how much love they feel inside, some people just aren’t that romantic and don’t know how to show their feelings in a way that will impress their loved one and melt their hearts. There is no shame in looking for help when it comes to romance—we all have much to learn about love and the many different ways of expressing it.
In fact, those more experienced in the ways of love, veterans of 10+ years of marriage, will tell you that the more you get to know someone the more you are aware of the fact that there is a vast sea of things you don’t know about love and relationships, a sea that can easily drown those who are unprepared. Luckily, planning a great romantic Valentine’s Day date is something that you can research and prepare for, even if you are lacking in the romance department. Here are several somewhat generalized steps that work across the board and will help you create the perfect romantic experience for your loved one.
1. Develop your strategy well in advance.
The worst thing you can do is to wait until you only have a day or two until Valentine’s Day and then start frantically throwing together some sort of gift and trying to find a restaurant that isn’t booked solid. Give yourself enough time to plan the date and think about all the little details that make the difference between a pretty good date and a heart-melting super-date. Reservations need to be made pretty early on since good restaurants can be booked a month in advance and you’ll want to do some shopping at least a week earlier to avoid the holiday rush. If you already have a plan you will also be a lot less stressed out when the actual day comes.
2. Prepare all the little things first.
Apart from making restaurant reservations or ordering a gift online pretty early on so everything is ready by Valentine’s Day, the most important thing you should focus on are the details or finishing touches. A card, or better yet, a fancy love letter is something you can work on for about 30 minutes a day in the week leading to V-day, and you can also start working early on things like:
- Massage oil
- A romantic music playlist
- Cute boxes and gift wraps
- Flowers and chocolate
- Sexy lingerie or role-playing costumes
- Small gift basket items like perfumes and soaps
Having these important items ready a few days in advance will allow you to focus on more important things come Valentine’s Day, things like making sure your date is having fun and that everything is going smoothly and according plan.
3. Craft the perfect gift for your loved one.
There are a whole bunch of generic gifts out there, but try and avoid clichés and focus on something your significant other really cares about. You can use standard Valentine’s Day gifts like heart-shaped items, teddy bears, flowers and chocolate as part of gift basket, but be sure to include something related to the activities, ideals and concepts your partner holds dear.
4. Dining out vs. preparing a romantic dinner.
Each of these two options has its strengths and weaknesses, so the right choice will depend on the person and the situation. Dining in a fancy restaurant will require you to make reservations well in advance and will cost you quite a bit, but the atmosphere and the meals are truly incredible. On the other hand, a home-cooked dinner is much more personal and allows you a lot of creative freedom, but unless you know your way around a kitchen, it can easily turn into a disaster. Whatever choice you make, you should give some thought to the choice of food and focus on dessert—all bad jokes and stupid comments about your partner being as sweet as chocolate aside, sugary snacks do actually cause hormones related to feeling pleasure to be released by the brain and will leave a wonderful taste in your mouth.