Plan the perfect Valentine's Day

Plan the perfect Valentine's Day

© Mitchell Photography Image by: © Mitchell Photography Author: Canadian Living


Plan the perfect Valentine's Day

There is nothing that says romance like Feb. 14. And sure, after 20-plus years of marriage and a handful of kids, Valentine's Day can seem a little overdone and worn out, right? But what if you could plan your most perfect, most memorable Valentine's Day yet?

For some tips on how to arrange the perfect celebration for you and your partner, we turned to Elisa Manolo, a romantic-event planner and owner of The Perfect Date.

1. Abandon the typical date ideas
Dinner at the usual little Italian place; catching the latest romantic comedy; candlelight, chocolate and wine -- it all starts to sound a little cliché after a while. But there are other choices out there. "My clients are steering away from typical date nights and predictability for Valentine's Day," says Manolo. "No matter where you are, you can find something unique to do."

She suggests something romantic yet fun, like reliving your childhood together at a board game café or taking a new and interesting class together. Looking for something with a little more get-up-and-go this Feb. 14? Why not find a local roller-skating rink, hit the hills for a little tobogganing or head out to a salsa club for a night on the dance floor?

2. Create a memorable gift
If you've been together for 14 Valentine's Days, give your partner 14 small gifts that each symbolize one year of your lives together. Better still, give the gift of a stronger bond by giving something that you can enjoy as a couple.

Manolo suggests looking into wine-tasting or jam-making tour packages available in your area, or escaping for a romantic weekend away. Attending an ice-sculpting lesson or drawing class, or taking part in a couples' photography shoot are also great ways that partners can enjoy their Valentine's Day gifts together while making memories that last. "You want to be able to remember this as a special day, not like every other one," says Manolo.

Page 1 of 2 -- Find inspiration to help recreate the magic from your first date on page 2

3. Try double-dating
"Valentine's Day is about spending time with your most special person," says Manolo. "But sometimes you may have another couple in your life who you want to enjoy that time with as well." Inviting another couple over for Valentine's Day dinner can be both enjoyable and memorable for all four of you. This gives you the chance to spend time with more than just one person you love. Try setting up an evening where one couple cooks dinner and the other makes dessert. Finish off the night by settling down with some drinks and a movie that came out during your dating days.

4. Rewind to your first date

And speaking of your dating days, one of the best and most memorable Valentine's Day dates you can plan is one where you relive your very first date. "I find a lot of couples have talked about doing this before but have never done it," says Manolo.

She suggests trying to go back to all of the same places you did on that first date if you can. And if you can't, just improvise, she says. And be creative! If you spent your first date ice skating and sipping hot chocolate in your hometown miles away, then find somewhere that you can do that together in your current city. Or better yet, surprise your partner by building your own mini ice rink out back and enjoy reliving your first date together for many more days to come!

With all its commercialism and all its critics, Valentine's Day gets a lot of flak. Make a promise to yourself, and to your partner, that this year you will do it right and celebrate the holiday in its true spirit. Don't focus too much on all the red and pink, and the bows and frills surrounding it, just do something for you and your partner. When it comes down to it, you are the only two who matter on this day! So go do something you want to do and enjoy celebrating the wonderful, lasting love that you share.

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Plan the perfect Valentine's Day