Of all the holidays to celebrate throughout the year, Valentine’s Day is the one that can make or break a relationship. After all, even if lovers joke about the commerciality of the day, how superficial it all is, and how one day doesn’t represent love for each other, ignoring the holiday will leave the one who didn’t acknowledge it sleeping on the sofa! Unless the love interest is truly uninterested in all things Valentines, a person could end up finding themselves singing the blues if they don’t step up.
But there is some truth to the complaints of superficiality:
- Restaurants are packed and expensive
- Roses are hard to get also expensive
- Even the price of a box of chocolates will suddenly skyrocket when it’s themed for Valentine’s Day
Some say, “One can’t put a price on true love”. True. But there is also some truth to the notion that a gift that is well thought out, in which some effort has been placed and it is in tune with a loved one’s interests or passions, is worthwhile. It’s not just a notion or knick-knack picked up at the local card store!
These tips say ‘I love you’ with a beautifully planned and orchestrated evening that will be remembered for years to come.
As mentioned earlier, going to a restaurant on Valentine’s Day can be stressful. All the restaurants are crazy busy, the staff is run off their feet, and the special ‘Valentine’s Menu’ is twice the price of a normal menu. Forget about that option and set the stage for a quiet, romantic dinner at home. What are his or her favorite foods that they don’t get to eat every day? That’s the starting point.
Of course, it’s an option to cook this dinner from scratch but these days, elegant and scrumptious pre-prepared foods are available to purchase that can make any non-cook look like a maestro, along with a well-appointed table complete with candlelight and flowers. Look to the finer food establishments for everything needed for a multi-course dinner worthy of Julia Child: elegant canapes for appetizers, a delicious main course with sides, and dessert… Never forget the power of a decadent dessert. Add in a cocktail before, or champagne and a perfectly elegant meal are well in the works.
Like what? Invent a cocktail and name it after them (a little internet research will go a long way on this!). While oysters are an old standby aphrodisiac, they’re not everyone’s cup of tea, so look to other options for foods that will tantalize most taste buds while being heart smart at the same time:
- Flavors are important: truffle oil roasted salmon is a good example of a fairly standard dish kicked up a notch for the occasion.
- A light starter, such as an arugula salad with an olive oil dressing, will pack a lot of flavors and open up the palate for the main course.
- Go for the gold and choose entrees that are not on the everyday menu: lobster in a silky sauce, over angel hair pasta, for example?
- Make sure that chocolate is part of the dessert: it is also an aphrodisiac and the perfect way to end the meal. Something as simple as a tiny dark chocolate mousse to give a little sweet to the finish.
Traditional flowers are not something that every special someone will enjoy. A beautiful bouquet of tulips can adorn a table just as beautifully as long stem roses. The only proviso on the flowers is to beware of anything with a strong scent if they are needed to double as dining table decor: it can be off-putting when eating.
The lighting is next, with dimmed, muted tones. Replace white light bulbs with pink ones on the side or floor lamps to give a warm, flattering glow. Add candlelight—avoiding strongly scented candles—throughout the living room/dining room, to keep a lovely glimmer.
Finally, choose the perfect background music. Will it be classical, or soft jazz? Perhaps pan flutes or something slightly operatic? Whatever it is, make it something that conversation can be heard above it. Ensure that it doesn’t interfere with the whispering of sweet nothings.
After all this effort, a gift is really not necessary, but if one is still in the program to commemorate the day, choose something that is reflective of the passions and interests of the giftee. A reader would adore a first edition or signed copy of a book from a favorite author. A car enthusiast might like a scale model of their dream car or a pair of driving gloves. Keep it simple and to their tastes to avoid any disappointment.
If space permits, make room in the living room for a little dancing. Keep a separate playlist at the ready so that the music can be changed easily, keeping the mood of the evening flowing smoothly.
Success in creating the perfect evening should seem effortless and filled with all the best intentions. The goal isn’t perfection, it’s enjoyment. Happy Valentine’s Day!