As over-commercialized as the holiday can be, Valentine’s Day also serves as a great time of the year to remind your significant other just how much you value them, as well as time to focus on your relationship itself. Whether you’re the sort of couple who chooses not to recognize Valentine’s Day at all, or you’re the ones posting Instagrams laiden with roses and heart-shaped balloons, you can utilize the holiday regardless to have a special night with your other half. From your standard dinner and movie night to something a little more out of the box, we’ve compiled a variety of Valentine’s Day (or, frankly, any day of the year) date night ideas for you to make the day extra special.
First, to fully appreciate this holiday, let’s delve into its origins. This wintertime holiday of love can actually be traced all of the way back to the Roman festival of Lupercalia. Lupercalia, a celebration of fertility, was observed by pairing men off with women based on a lottery system. It wouldn’t be until Christianity was in full swing towards the end of the 5th century when Pope Gelasius I replaced the Pagan holiday of Lupercalia with St. Valentine’s Day. Because Valentine was such a common name, nobody is quite sure just which famous “Valentine” the day is named after.
One story goes that a priest named Valentine signed a letter “from your Valentine” to a woman he had helped heal. From this story came the supposed birth of the Valentine’s cards that line store aisles today. Another common origin story is that of a priest named Valentine who secretly married couples so that men would be prevented from having to go off to war. Now that you have a bit of a background on the origins of the holiday, let’s delve into some fun ideas for a 21st century Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Date Ideas
Not only is it a blast to actually execute, but putting together a scavenger hunt for your significant other is a meaningful and heartfelt gesture, especially if you fill it with clues, places, and activities that have relevance to your relationship. You can leave clues that steer them towards places like where you had your first date, where you first said “I love you”, etc. Getting the wait staff at restaurants involved and creating fun challenges for your partner to execute throughout also adds another layer of fun and difficulty to the date. Something this well-thought-out and sweet will assuredly be remembered for a long time to come.
A Themed Dinner Date… At Home
Maybe you’re watching your budget, or maybe you simply don’t feel like dealing with the Valentine’s dinner crowds. You don’t need to spend a ton of money or dine out to enjoy a memorable Valentine’s dinner. Avoid the restaurant wine mark-ups and grab a couple of bottles from the local liquor store, then decide on a theme when it comes to dinner. Rather than simply trying out a new recipe to impress your partner with, take the romance up a notch by revolving the entire dinner around a theme – any theme! One fun idea you may want to try is remaking a dish from a movie or TV show that both of you love. For example, if neither of you can get enough of Disney, you might want to share a big plate of spaghetti and meatballs Lady and the Tramp style, or cook up a big pot of ratatouille to emanate, well, Ratatouille. This is an affordable, thoughtful gesture that your partner is sure to adore.
A Small Getaway
If you’re both feeling burnt out and overly stressed, treating yourselves to a night or two away might be exactly what you need. Whether you hit the countryside to check out some wineries or head to a big city for an evening out on the town, be sure to keep an eye out for specials when you’re booking. A lot of hotels and B&Bs offer Valentine’s deals, especially for couples’ suites.
If you and your partner love getting out and being active together, then why not focus your Valentine’s Day around an activity like a bike ride, or a joint fitness class? The level of intensity you’d like to take up is completely up to you. Perhaps you’re in the mood for a more relaxing destressor like yoga, a very leisurely bike ride, or, depending on what climate you live in, perhaps even a kayak excursion. If regular workouts are your thing, perhaps instead you’d like to try a more intense workout class that’s new to both of you, like CrossFit or a HIIT workout. If you’re feeling especially daring, look into circus arts-themed classes in your local area to give trapezing or aerial yoga a try. While it may sound nerve-wracking at first, doing an activity like this together will not only be fun, but can help build trust.
A trip to the spa is one that you can easily incorporate into a weekend away, or as a reward after your workout. Whether it’s just to get a mani/pedi or to do a fully indulgent couples’ massage, many spas are going to be offering Valentine’s Day deals. If you’re more adventurous, you may be interested in trying a spa treatment that’s a bit more “out there.” Things like Reiki energy healing, sensory deprivation tanks, or salt caves can be a memorable and fun experience to try out with your partner.
Speaking of date ideas that some may consider a bit more eccentric, why not visit an astrologist or get your tarot cards read together? Many mediums and astrologists are happy to do joint couples readings, and may even provide some insights as to the astrology traits both of you exhibit. It is completely up to your discretion as to what level of seriousness you decide to take these readings with. However, if any negative predictions come up regarding your relationship, those are the pieces of the reading that we’d absolutely recommend taking with a grain of salt.
Dance the Night Away
No, we don’t mean dropping it low at your favorite club (unless that’s your thing, of course). Instead, go outside the box a little bit and try a ballroom dancing class together. If you’re engaged, this can serve as excellent practice for your first dance. Alternatively, for something a little less instructional and perhaps more romantic, you may want to check out a live music venue to enjoy a live show and dance the night away with your sweetheart.
Wine & Paint Night
The best part of a wine and paint night (besides the wine, of course) is that you get to take something that you created home with you at the end of the evening! These classes can be loads of fun, especially the boozier you make them. Even though the format of these classes tends to have everyone paint the same image, the beautiful thing is that each one ends up completely unique – just like relationships!
Yes, chocolate-making classes are a thing and yes, we are totally here for it. You’ll never revert to drug store chocolates again after learning how to make chocolates from the pros. Most of these classes allow you to take home some of your creations, as well. That means you can have the homemade sweet treats to look forward to after a romantic dinner date. If chocolate isn’t your thing, cooking classes may also be of interest to you.
Rent A Luxury Car
Not having a destination isn’t a problem when you’re cruising in style! If cars are your thing, consider renting a sports car for the day. Not only is this a great way to explore new terrain, but it’s a great way to get out of your comfort zone, too! You’ll feel ultra glamorous pulling up to a restaurant or date night spot when you’re stepping out of a Ferrari, Lamborghini, or something of the sort.
Basically, there is no “wrong” way to spend Valentine’s Day as a couple in a healthy relationship. Much like your relationship itself, the way you spend your holiday is completely unique to you. If you’re spending this Valentine’s Day engaged, you may want to use the romanticism in the air to have a discussion about your future, and the asset protection that comes along with having a prenup. Of course, if this is your first time bringing it up, this sort of intensive discussion about the future might be something that you want to save until after your date night, or at the very least, until after dinner. As you remain on a romantic high for the next couple of days though, you may want to begin discussing the first steps of a prenuptial agreement, and all of the benefits it can have, with your partner. After all, prenups often lead to happier marriages and less arguments over money at the end of the day. Setting yourself up for a bright and happy future together is one of the most romantic gesture you can make this Valentine’s season.
Julia Rodgers is HelloPrenup’s CEO and Co-Founder. She is a Massachusetts family law attorney and true believer in the value of prenuptial agreements. HelloPrenup was created with the goal of automating the prenup process, making it more collaborative, time efficient and cost effective. Julia believes that a healthy marriage is one in which couples can openly communicate about finances and life goals. You can read more about us here Questions? Reach out to Julia directly at [email protected].