To be in love is a wonderful thing. To celebrate your life with your beloved by spending a king’s ransom is quickly, in these cost-conscious times, becoming passe. It is just not politically or economically correct anymore to overspend just to demonstrate your ardour. For those of us with champagne wishes, but a flat beer budget, read, take notes, and replicate at a venue or location near you. After all, it truly is the thought that counts!

Ye Olde Day Trip

Imagine an afternoon of hiking or a trail ride capped by going down on one knee and asking for their hand? Think about the possibilities near you. Add a star if you can manage to pause at an elevation with the sun going down behind you. Perfect, and perfectly within budget.

Okay, if the rugged outdoor life is not for you, arrange for a wine or beer tasting at a local winery/brewery. If you include the vendor in your plans, they may throw in some lovely and memorable perks, such as tapas, chocolates, and/or a bouquet gratis.

Breakfast in Bed

Face it, the weekend at a bed and breakfast can be pricey, privacy nil, and, well, there are checkout times, too. Instead, prepare a sumptuous feast ahead of time that can quickly be reheated such as french toast, waffles, and sausages, or something simple like a croissant and a fruit-filled butter, add a tray, a single bloom and hot coffee or tea. Spruce up your room by decluttering, maybe buy a couple spa robes, and if you are lucky enough to have a canopy bed, create an intimate place by stringing inexpensive drapes up on the bars using electrical ties.

Make Something Together

Whether it is a RTA credenza from that Swedish big box store, or a ceramics class, find something neither of you is good at, and learn about it together. Big hint: that credenza comes with easy to follow instructions and the finished product is something you’ll be proud to display. Your first thrown pot, well…kinda like your first potholder- a creation only your mother could love!

Couples That Cook Together

It is highly likely, especially if you are Millennials, that you already cook together at least a few times a month. Even so, bet you’ve never made heart-shaped food. What could be more fun, or more romantic, than to make a pepperoni, red onion, and steak-topped heart-shaped pizza as your main course, followed by a dessert fruit tart shaped like that vital organ? Downed with red wine, of course! If you’ve only time for breakfast, what about a heart-y (pun intended) leek quiche?

Treasure Hunt to Pleasure Hunt

Even the smallest apartment can become a place of adventure. Wrap your (jewelry, an expensive pen, tickets to an event, etc.) festively in your partner’s favorite color, and hide it around your digs. Write a list of questions based on dates and travels you’ve had together and take turns quizzing each other. Every correct answer scores points ‘til they’ve earned enough to unwrap your gift. Be sure to consider hiding the gift under their pillow. Just saying. After all, where do you want the evening to end?
Write a Love Letter

Millennials’ vows, at least every wedding I’ve attended in the last couple of years, has required attendees to suffer through the couple’s lengthy (and often tedious) pledges of love. Since your intimacy is best shared with each other, take the time, and consider using a quality blank greeting card AND a fountain pen, and write your love, a letter. If is absolutely okay to draft it on lined paper or a word processing program first. This is no time for stream of consciousness nor typos. The goal is to share your innermost feelings. If you succeed, years from now your gift may be found in someone’s sock or lingerie drawer.
Message in the Mirror

For the price of a couple pads of hot pink Post-Its™, start his or her day off romantically by writing a sentiment on each of the sheets “You Complete Me” “Best Partner” “You are Amazing” etc. Just stick each sheet to the bathroom mirror. Think how special this will make them feel and anyone can do this!

Create a Future Adventure Box

Short on money, but not ideas? Buy a nice gift box at the craft store and some small cards. On each write a promise to do something with your partner. “Couples Massage“, “Dinner at Maxim’s”, “Day Trip to Mystic Seaport“, “Wine Tasting on LI’s East End“, etc. At various internals over the next year, the giftee will present a card and you’ll be off!

Valentines’ Day for Non-Romantics

There are those, and this author is one of them, who would prefer not to acknowledge what we call, “The Hallmark Holidays”. So instead of plying these people with champagne, roses, or a ring, instead, try being more attentive, and saying, “Well, I would like to acknowledge the day by doing something with you!” After all, there is no reason for a romantic paired with a Valentine’s Day Scrooge to suffer. So downplay the day, and upsell the person. February is a dreary time and there are not too many events to attend after the Holidays until Spring. So ask if they’d like to go to a concert and buy tickets for that event on V-Day. Maybe acquiesce and watch their choice of movie that night, order in something a grade up from Chinese take out or a pizza, etc. This way you’ll both have a good time, and still have money in the bank.

As with anything else, it does not have to eclipse the National debt to have a memorable Valentine’s Day. It just takes a little planning, usually the internet, and the element of surprise. Try one and be sure to save the post for reference for next year! To love!