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  • Ryan Hogue

Unique and Affordable Valentine's Day Date Ideas

Happy Friday! Hope everyone is ready for the big game this weekend! This week I thought I’d help out some people with a holiday coming up that usually comes with high expectations! Valentine's day can be a very stressful holiday for people in a relationship. There can be a lot of expectations, even if they are coming from yourself. No one wants to come up short on Valentine's day of all days. You want your night to be a representation of how much you love and appreciate that person. The thing is, that’s easier said than done. For one reason or another planning a great date can be hard. You may be in a new relationship, you may be trying to rekindle an old flame, or you might be like me and just always feel the need to outdo yourself and try and do something unique that shows the time, thought and effort you put into it just to make that other person happy. To me, it’s better to do nothing at all than something half-baked and superficial. But I realize that’s not always easy with people having different schedules, different financial situations. Everyone would love to take their loved one on a private jet to an island for Valentine’s day but alas that’s unrealistic. So instead here are 7 Unique Valentine’s date ideas that are affordable and romantic.

At home wine tasting-Unfortunately with Valentine's day being on a Monday and in February when it’s most likely cold out that limits some options. But whenever one door closes…you know the saying. Taking your significant other to a winery is always a good idea. How to step it up? Bring the wine tastings to them! Imagine this, your loved one comes home after a hard day's work to a dimly lit house with a gorgeous fresh cut flower centerpiece on the table. You have all their favorite wines on the table surrounded by chocolate and a masterfully crafted charcuterie board overflowing with their favorites fruits, meats and cheeses. Put on their favorite music/movie, start a fire and…tell me you didn’t just fall in love all over again. Simple as that. It’s all about knowing what makes the other person happy and tailoring the ideas to them personally.

Go Camping/Stargazing- This one is all location and weather permitting but can easily be done in many ways. If you have an outdoorsy significant other who wouldn’t mind the outdoors in February on the Eastern shore then by all means a normal camping trip with some romantic gestures throughout is a great valentines date. But if you’re in a more realistic situation and are going to have to keep the camping close to home then this is for you! If it’s possible a backyard camping experience is an amazing date. Build a tent and a fire, roast some marshmallows and just take in the beauty of the night sky. There's few things more romantic than being alone together in nature with no distractions. If the weather messes up the plans, just move the camping indoors and unplug all electrical devices and make a pillow fort!

Day Trip/Play Hooky- This one just takes some listening and planning. Unfortunately it’ll be hard to make it a complete surprise unless you can somehow get them out of work without them knowing. But being on the eastern shore there are a ton of things to do within driving distance. So over the next couple weeks maybe ask a question or two but really listen to see if there’s any place they’ve really wanted to go recently, be it an aquarium, big city, far away restaurant, whatever they want. Just as long as it's a decent drive and you can make the day of it. Make them a custom valentine's day playlist for the drive (it’s the little things people!) Make them their ideal travel snack back/cooler. Get all their favorite snacks and drinks and have the ideal road trip on the way to the surprise destination.

Treasure/Scavenger Hunt- I know everyone’s not the same and this idea definitely wouldn’t work for everyone. I know a good bit of people personally who would absolutely hate this date idea but for others it is possibly the most romantic gesture you can make that will never be topped so also use with caution haha. Oh and if you haven’t caught on I definitely fall in the latter of the two categories. Like I said, my love language is thought and effort and this requires more thought and effort than any date idea I can think of. If they like puzzles and games then you may be able to pull this one off. So this shouldn’t need to be explained, everyone knows what a treasure or scavenger hunt is, but basically for this date you need to single out between 5-10 big moments in your two’s lives/relationships. Leave them clues that direct them to the locations where those moments happened or somewhere that represents those moments. Each spot should have a little note telling them how much that night/moment meant to you, possibly a gift representing that moment and then a clue to the next spot. Make sure the memories and moments get more romantic as you go on and end with the spot you proposed, or had your first kiss or whatever place means the most to you two and recreate that moment or have a candle lit dinner in that spot.

Join one of Their Hobbies- This might not seem like a big Valentines day gesture but trust me this is a long term gift that they will truly love. Most partners have at least one thing they love and enjoy that they can not do anything to get their loved ones to do with them no matter how hard they try. If you’re the person who stubbornly refused to try their hobby then this is your time to shine. Whether it’s getting a membership to their gym, or signing up for their yoga classes or getting yourself a bike so you can now ride together, the idea remains the same. Few things are more romantic than someone adopting a hobby or trying a new thing just to spend time with you. Even if it’s not something you love and end up doing for the rest of your life, showing the effort to adapt to their likes and interests will go a long way.

At Home Spa-This is just a foolproof idea. No single person alive would turn down relaxing and being pampered. Lay out their favorite robe. Draw them a nice hot bath. Pour them some wine with a charcuterie board and let their worries and stresses fade away. Follow that up with a massage and a homemade face mask. These are all things you can do yourself in the comfort of your own home for very little money.

Throw a Themed Party- This is for the leader of the group. The person who when everyone else is desperate for a way to impress on valentine's day, jumps in to save the holiday. Throwing a themed party is a way to not only have a great night with your date but all your friends will get to breathe easy and know that the hard part was taken care of for them. If you like to host then this is for you. My favorite theme for a valentines party is having each couple dress as their favorite rom-com couple. You can make valentine's day themed drinks and all enjoy blaring out your favorite love jams from all your favorite movies growing up. Just a warning though, more than likely someone will try the lifting scene from dirty dancing so have the first aid kit on hand!

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