Most people expect an advice column with ideas about what to do for Valentine's Day, not a blog about things you should NOT do on that auspicious date. But that's our topic because so many couples do, in fact, screw up the biggest romantic holiday of the year. And then they feel bitter about it. Let's avoid that this year!
First I'd like to point out that Valentine's Day, while certainly more legitimate than the American Greeting's faux holiday "Sweetest Day," is still a commercialized day that has become more about pressuring people into spending money on gifts than anything else. Maybe I'm not supposed to say that as a wedding planner, but it's the absolute freaking truth. If you are in a happy relationship with someone, every day is Valentine's Day. I'm not kidding. Every day has love and romance. And every date night can be like Valentine's Day if you both shut out the rest of the world (and turn off your damned phones) and focus on each other.
The first Valentine's Day after Bill and I started dating, he had to work and I was invited to a friend's "Anti-Valentine's Day" party. The event had very specific rules. Nobody could come with a date or significant other unless they promised not to act lovey dovey. Costumes expressing the theme were encouraged. Nobody was allowed to flirt with anybody else, and certainly nobody was allowed to hook up. Of course, not all of the rules were followed, but it was pretty close. I was greeted at the door by my former Georgetown roommate Psyche wearing her wedding gown -- dyed black (yes, she was divorced). It was a shocker even though she'd joked about doing it. Her roommate Jon was wearing nothing but a diaper and Marilyn Monroe wig and prancing around with Cupid's bow and arrow. Felt a bit like I'd fallen down the rabbit hole, to be honest. But it was hilarious. And certainly a fabulous way to celebrate the holiday if you didn't have somebody to eat a ridiculously decadent chocolate dessert with at an overpriced restaurant. I met my best friend Myra there that night. I hadn't come in costume, and she put her headband with heart antennae on my head so I wouldn't feel underdressed, and we've been close ever since.
That was the last Valentine's Day I had to spend away from Bill, fortunately. But we have worked every single one of them since we started this wedding planning company. In fact, my husband asked me last week what I'd like to do for Valentine's Day and I reminded him that we'd be coordinating Lindsay and Patrick's wedding welcome party that night so we'll have to bundle it up with his birthday trip later this year and go away for a weekend. We can do that -- celebrate things at different times because we have to. It's the life of a successful event planner -- even the celebrity ones. They didn't get where they are by sitting on their asses on the big holidays. Somebody has to supervise famous people's big holiday dinners. You didn't think Kris Kardashian did any of that herself, did you? That's why special event planners worldwide are probably agreeing with me that sometimes we have to pick another day to celebrate the holidays we're missing out on. But I digress...
Unlike me, you probably don't have to plan somebody else's party this Friday night, so you have no excuse not to do something very special on your own. I trust you have ideas, or that somebody else has kindly blogged with 6 million different creative dates for the big night. I'm going to give you the MOST important tips right here, right now -- five ways to avoid messing up Valentine's Day.
1) Make plans early. Do it now. Do not wait til Thursday to attempt to get a dinner reservation. You will be screwed and end up someplace you didn't really mean to go or that means nothing to you as a couple. If you need a babysitter, make those arrangements now or you won't be able to get one at the last minute. Spontaneity sucks when it doesn't work out. And trying to plan a special night out for Valentine's Day ON Valentine's Day doesn't usually work out too well.
2) If you're going to stay in and cook an amazing dinner, plan for it and shop for it now, not at the last minute so that everything turns out rushed and half-assed. You can even think about the music and décor in ways you wouldn't usually. But seriously, plan it out so that it's obvious you made a very special effort and it's not just another night at home in front of the television. Don't end up doing fancy carryout at the last minute.