Whether you're single or coupled up come 14 February, there are certain things you should bear in mind to help the day go more smoothly. Check out these 10 dos and don'ts for Valentine's Day.
Don't assume your partner shares your feelings about Valentine's Day
It's no secret that some people love Valentine's Day while others view it simply as a day designed to con us out of our hard-earned cash. If this is your first Valentine's Day with your partner, it is important to find out which side they fall on. Different things are important to different people and, while your partner not being overly excited about this occasion is no indication of their feelings towards you, it may be helpful to discuss your hopes and plans for Valentine's Day in advance so as to avoid disappointment and, if necessary, reach a happy compromise.
Don't forget the date!
No matter whether Valentine's Day scores high on your list of favourite dates or not, if it is important to the person you care about then you should do your best not to forget it. Not only will forgetting about Valentine's Day potentially upset and hurt your partner, but you may find that they bring it up every February 14th for years to come! To stay in your partner's good books, set yourself a reminder of the day and make sure to keep the evening free.
Don't get too swept up in the romance
On arguably the most romantic day of the year it is easy to get swept up in the romance and say or do things you normally wouldn't. Shopping for a pair of earrings can easily turn into a spontaneous engagement ring purchase, or a romantic dinner could lead to an impromptu declaration of love. However, it's important to make sure you are really sure before you change the dynamics of your relationship and that you haven't just got carried away with the romance.
Don't get in contact with your ex
Romance is in the air, everybody is seemingly coupled up, so, for all you single guys and girls, it is perfectly understandable that your mind may drift to love. However, although the temptation may be strong to get in touch with your ex (or that guy you've been unrequitedly lusting after), don't do it! No matter how lonely you are this Valentine's Day, we can guarantee that setting yourself up for rejection and heartache will not make your experience more enjoyable. Instead, spend your valuable time and conversation on someone who will appreciate it, such as a family member or friend.
Don't overanalyse his gift
Unlike men, women have a tendency to analyse every word, gift and gesture from their partner to decipher hidden meanings. However, it is important that, although it may be disappointing, you don't take a rubbish gift on Valentine's Day to heart. Just because he gives you a cheap and generic present it doesn't mean he is making a statement about your relationship; in fact it may say more about his bank balance or feelings towards Valentine's Day than it does about you.
Do shop with caution
All the above said, guys, it's still important to try to put a little thought into your gifts to try to keep Valentine's Day conflict-free. As a rough guide, avoid buying anything overly practical (Valentine's Day is not the time to buy her a new iron, no matter how much you think she wants it), and definitely avoid exercise equipment unless you want to potentially cause serious offence. Unless you're proposing marriage, anything that comes in an engagement ring shaped box is also out! Also, if you plan on buying some underwear or clothing, do make sure you know her dress size.
Need some more tips, guys? Check out the 7 worst mistakes men make on Valentine's Day - you have been warned!
Do make it last all day
While most of us have work and responsibilities to attend to on Valentine's Day, it is possible to maintain the romance throughout the day with minimal money and effort. To really make the most of the day, try not to keep celebrations just for the evening. Instead, get up a bit early and start the day with breakfast in bed, then send a quick text during the day (or slip a note in with their lunch) to let them know that you are thinking of them and looking forward to your plans later.
Do make reservations well in advance
Valentine's Day is one of the busiest days of the year for most restaurants and DVD rental stores, so if you plan on heading out for a meal or renting a movie make sure you get in there early. Reserving a table a month in advance is perfectly acceptable - and often necessary - for Valentine's Day. Also, unless you are genuinely hard up, don't try to get away with booking a table for February 15th to try save some money as this will probably not make the best impression on your partner.
Do be creative
To really avoid the crowds on Valentine's Day, it can help to think outside the box and plan something a little more creative. A bunch of flowers and reservations for the best restaurant in town may have always been met with appreciation before, but to really surprise your partner try planning something a little less generic like a homemade gift or a picnic (you could even have this indoors if the weather is bad). Also, avoid using a tried-and-tested formula you have used on other partners - make your other half feel unique and special with a date planned just for them.
Do remember it's just one day
Many of us dream of having the perfect Valentine's Day where we're swept off our feet and lavished with attention from an adoring partner. However, as lovely as this may be, in reality it may be best to keep things in perspective. If you're single on Valentine's Day it is important to remember that it is not the end of the world if you haven't got plans - there will be many other days in the future to score the perfect date. If you are coupled up, it is equally important not to stress if things don't live up to expectations; bear in mind that your relationship is more important than just one day.
Want a Valentine's Day to remember? Check out these top tips for the perfect Valentine's Day.