This guide is for the guy that is clueless about what a girl REALLY wants for Valentine’s Day. The one that thinks a cheap teddy bear and a box of exceptionally waxy chocolates is sufficient for Valentine’s Day. He thinks that if he brings flowers too, he nailed it. It is not, at any level of any relationship, ok to do ANY of these things. In fact, that should be on a national “what not to do” public service announcement. This guide is the typical “real guy” , who is not Prince Charming or McDreamy by nature.
As an experienced event planner, I have seen many an attempt to “wow” and impress a date/spouse/significant other with a flashy high priced meal, overpriced bottle of champagne, and a dessert that was made weeks ago and defrosted that morning. While I’m sure there are some ladies out there that are really into that type of Valentine’s Day, I can assure you that it is not the case. Not all women are that superficial and materialistic.
Now that is good and bad for men. It’s good because maybe you don’t have an endless supply of money to dote on her every whim and pull out the big show for Valentine’s Day. It’s bad because now what do you do?
You read my guide. I have lots of experience in social events of all types. Let me share my knowledge with you. Make THIS YEAR’S Valentine’s Day awesome for that special lady in your life. Every girl deserves it, and really wants it. Go through each section, read it, understand it, ask questions if you need to. You can even email me at email@example.com if you are shy. I will do my best to help.
**Also, I’d like to clarify I am going to try and keep this guide as frugal and DIY capable as I can! It not only shows the girl that you cared enough to plan (even just a little) and make an effort. That goes 10 times further than a dinner at a crowded restaurant and some crappy chocolates. There will be no intricate 4 layered specialty cake, or some super cheesy felt – knitted- garland- who knows what thing. I like to think of this as more of a REALISTIC guide.**
Original Post Here:
Step 1: Getting Started:
When Is Valentine’s Day?
You may be laughing at the question, but I’m serious. When is it? This year it is on a Tuesday. Not exactly primetime date night. That’s ok. We are going to make it work for you. Keep going with it now, WHEN will you be seeing your Valentine? Do you live with her? Will you be asking her out? Do you work together? Is dinner happening? Are you doing it the weekend before hand? Not so simple is it? You need to try your best to figure out when you will be seeing your Valentine, and start your planning around that. You may even have to have a backup plan or two. It can’t hurt.
How committed are you?
There are two things you need to decide on. You need to decide how committed you are to making this an AWESOME Valentine’s Day. Are you going to be able to put forth some effort? I’m not saying you are going to have to cut out 400 paper hearts by hand, that’s not realistic even for girls. But you will need to spend some time planning, prepping, and thinking. The second part you need to decide on is how committed to this girl are you? Is this only a few dates in? Have you been together for years? Is this your loving partner of decades?
***CAUTION***Too much of an overwhelming effort could go either way for new relationships. Obviously all girls love for guys to make an effort, but seriously, if you’ve only gone on a few dates and you are still on the fence about her, going ALL OUT may be a bit much. Just a heads up. Use your discretion to decide. ***
Decide on budget.
Budget you say? Yes! I know it may sound silly, but times are tough. I know it can be difficult to resist the urge to just go out to dinner and buy her some flowers (which add up quick if I might add!) Decide on a rough estimate. Do not fear: I’m keeping this guide as frugal and DIY it yourself as I can! You’d be surprised what you can do with limitations! Any starting point is a good one.
Step 2: Planning:
From this point on, I am assuming you have already answered the previous questions, and have a general idea about where you stand in making this Valentine’s Day unforgettable this year. I am also assuming that the bulk of your plans will be done on Valentine’s Day, which is a Tuesday**. Additionally, because I do not think the celebration of Valentine’s Day should be limited to the after five, dinner time and into the night portion, I am including some great ideas for all hours of the day.
**You are welcome to go ahead and celebrate early on the weekend, and you may even do something out of this world amazing, but regardless, when Tuesday rolls around and everyone is all lovey-dovey with hearts in their eyes, you need to make SOME SORT of romantic gesture. Bring by lunch, have flowers delivered, something. **
Laying the Foundation
If at all humanly possible, confirm the day(s) and times you and your Valentine will be celebrating together if you don’t live together or if either of you are frequent travelers. This is a critical step; however, you can be very casual about it. In fact, I would be pretty vague. You want to keep it a surprise! Keeping a girl on her toes a little bit never hurt anyone! In this instance let us assume you will be seeing your Valentine on Tuesday, which is Valentine’s Day this year.
If you are feeling extra ambitious you can even send her a Valentine’s Day card (think elementary school classic valentine cards) and drop if off on her pillow, leave it on her driver’s seat in her car to find in the morning, mail it to her. Keep it simple, ask her to be your valentine and put down whatever day or time you were thinking of starting you celebration. Even if you have been together for years and years, you should still ask her out!
Step 3: The Big Day
By now you both have agreed on a day and a time (or maybe even all day!) You asked her out (how sweet are you!?) and of course she said yes! Now it’s time to get to work. I am breaking the day into three sections: Day, Night and Anytime. In each section I will have a collection of ideas that you can easily do yourself, without breaking the bank, and still WOW her! You may have to do a little prep work ahead of time, but I assure you it will be worth it. Pick and choose what works best for you relationship. Every girl has their likes and dislikes, so you will have to once again use your best judgment to see which of these ideas work best for your girl.
When planning anything for your significant other, and trying to really make a lasting impression, THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO IS…………….Remember your senses. You know those five things you learned in kindergarten? See, Smell, Touch, Taste, Hear. Think about how you are incorporating them into your plans.
**You will notice some ideas have two sections, a normal section and a “wow factor section”. You can use the wow factor section to take the idea a little further and go the extra mile. **
Step 4: Day
Flowers: You don’t need to have some huge overpriced delivered bouquet of flowers to make a girl smile. Do you live with this girl? You SHOULD be able to find someplace to store flowers in a vase wherever you live (pick them up the day before if possible). If you plan on doing flowers later in the day, an alternative would be to get a nice small potted plant that has some set of pretty flowers blooming. That is easy (and quite cheap), additionally, it will sit on her desk or table and remind her just how sweet you are for weeks after a regular bunch of flowers wilts and dies.
Flower Wow Factor: Can you place them near her side of the bed so the first thing she sees in the morning is beautiful flowers? Or maybe near the bathroom sink? Can you stop by her place before she leaves for work (or even meet her at the door as she is walking into work) and give her a nice bunch of flowers?
**TIP: Tulips are perfect, but carnations and other flowers are nice too! Stray away from ones such as lilies, in the event you are not aware of her allergies. That could make for a long day! **
Spa & Salon: Send you Valentine off to her favorite Salon or Spar to get a facial, her hair done, nails touched up, whatever she likes, with a gift card you provide her. This could also be done ahead of time, and she could go the weekend before, or during her lunch break on Valentine’s Day to be pampered.
Spa & Salon WOW Factor: If you know she has a specific salon she regularly goes to, you could call ahead and request a surprise nail design, such as these are done just for Valentine’s Day, and pay ahead so she doesn’t ruin her nails looking for her card!
Step 5: Night
In-house Oasis: Tuesday night is a rough night for Valentine’s Day to be on. You don’t really want to be out too late, you both probably have work in the morning. You can’t take a long weekend, it’s almost the middle of the week! Solution? Create a little mini getaway in your own home, using things you probably already have. Sheets, pillows, Christmas lights (extra points if they twinkle!) and some rope are really all you need.
Drinks: Regardless of if you eat in out eat out, there is a fair chance the night will continue past dinner. Having a few unusual, yet special, cocktails options ready is a good idea. Something incredibly easy you can do is these little cubes. You can do those WEEKS ahead of time, take them out of your ice cube tray, and store them in Tupperware until you are ready to use them. They look amazing, but it’s just fruit frozen in water.
Drinks WOW Factor: Make your own signature drink of the night, and name if after your Valentine. Think of something clever. Maybe “Sarah’s Sweetness” or just name it after her, if she is a sweet or bubbly girl! There are plenty of specialty drinks out there to choose from.
Wind Down Bath: This particular element may not apply to all couples, but for the ones who do, don’t overlook this simple, yet very much appreciated option. This could be turned for the girl to enjoy solo, clear her mind, relax, but could also be turned into a couples mini retreat. Don’t feel obligated to BUY rose petals, they are going to incredibly expensive, and honestly, get stuck in the drain.
Go to Wal-Mart, the dollar store, big lots, wherever you want, and get a few different types of candles. Get a few of the big glass round ones; leave those on the counter away from the tub. A few of the tall cylinder shaped ones are excellent, and a pack or two of the little tea lights. Practice fire safety when lighting! Remember the senses we talked about earlier? Keep that in mind when picking out candles, some scented ones are awesome! Make sure to find a good station on Pandora to have on in the background!
Wind Down Bath WOW FACTOR: If you feel like you want to kick it up a notch, consider putting together a small yet great little package for you Valentine to open to further enjoy her relaxing bath here.
Additionally, purchasing (and prewashing!) nice new towels that are super soft and leaving them out for use is another great idea, and a gift that keeps on giving! It’s the little touches that add up. You could add or substitute soft slippers, a nice silky robe, etc. to add to the effect you were going for. Remember, these types of things go on sale, you can easily buy them ahead of time when you see them at a good price.
Food: Eating dinner in? Awesome. Regardless of if you are making a home cooked fancy dinner or ordering your favorite foods from some of your favorite restaurant’s, and combing them into a meal of favorites, take it one set further and print up some quick menu cars. Even if you are just having dessert at home, a few minutes in Publisher or Word and you can have a beautiful and elegant custom menu.
Dessert: I suppose this could be filed under “food” but this is portable desserts! There is a fair chance you’ve probably eaten a pretty hearty dinner. Maybe you don’t want to have to enjoy your sweets at the table, maybe you want to move on to more comfortable locations. Both of these desserts are SIMPLE and any guy and put them together without messing them up. Here and here are the links!
Step 6: Anytime
Balloons: I’m not taking about getting her a bunch of balloons and awkwardly handing them to her before you go on your date. I’m talking about full on OH MY GOSH THAT’S CRAZY balloons. But crazy in a good way! Depending on your situation, you can surprise her with these when she wakes up in the morning, maybe when she comes home from work. There are many options where this idea can work. What is great about it is it is cheap! You can literally go to the dollar store and have them blow them up for you, or you can buy a small pump and do it yourself. It does take a little time, but how many girls do you think have honestly had a guy do this for them before? Not many!
You can go the route of super Valentine’s Day theme, with lots of reds, whites, and pinks, or maybe her favorite colors! Lots of options out there!
Step 7: Closing Thoughts
Other then maybe some flowers, I think you could technically get everything mentioned in this guide at Wal-Mart. Most of it you probably already have, or could easily get at the Dollar Store. There really is no excuse for not being able to break away from the consumer mold and do something to show your Valentine just how much they mean to you. This guide can easily translate in to ideas for anniversaries, birthdays, or just a special, unexpected gesture. I sincerely hope you found this guide useful, and if you need any other ideas or want to bounce some thoughts around, please do not hesitate to contact me!
Step 8: References
Picture & Tutorial Resources:
ALL PHOTOS & LINKS ARE ALSO ON MY PINTEREST: http://pinterest.com/SparklySharpFab/