Back when you and your partner were dating, you probably stuck to the classic Valentine’s Day plan: cards, flowers, chocolates, and a nice dinner for two. As much as we love those tried-and-true, romantic traditions, now that you’re engaged, you may want to step it up a notch. After all, most couples are engaged for a year or less, which means this may be the only Valentine’s Day you’ll have with your fiancé(e) before they become your spouse. So, we say, get unconventional!
Though you can always go as big as your heart desires, out of the ordinary doesn't have to mean spectacular, over the top, or even expensive. Instead, you can make this Valentine's Day about expressing your love in nonmaterial ways. Spending a few nights together out of the house, reminiscing on your honeymoon phase, or even just cooking a meal together are all romantic ways to celebrate your relationship without succumbing to clichés or breaking the bank before the wedding.
We've come up with 10 creative ways to spend your first Valentine's Day as an engaged couple. Choose one and then keep the other ideas in your back pocket for future love-filled holidays with your spouse.
Go Back to the Beginning
Use this Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to remember all the reasons why you’re getting married. Take a trip down memory lane (or a literal trip) back to where it all began. Make a reservation at the restaurant where you first said "I love you," watch the movie you saw on one of your early dates, or head back to the spot where you got engaged. It could also be fun to look at old photos from when you first met—chances are, they'll trigger memories that'll have you both smiling or laughing out loud.
Enjoy Pizza and Prosecco
Flowers, Champagne, and fancy chocolate can be expensive, which does not fit into any plans you might have to cut back on spending in order to save for the wedding. Instead of splurging, opt for romance that doesn’t break the bank. Skip the flowers, make homemade cards, pour prosecco instead of Champagne, and order pizza from your favorite place.
If you still want that special date-night feeling, wait a week or two. You can head out for a night on the town after Valentine’s Day to avoid inflated prices and crowds.
Book a Hotel Room
If you’re getting married this summer, chances are you’re already deep into planning and could use a break. So why not turn Valentine’s Day into a mini honeymoon? Book a hotel room for the night, and then unplug as much as you can. You can even set up an out-of-office email reply so your wedding vendors know why you’re not responding. You’ll be back to planning in no time, feeling refreshed.
Relax With a Spa Treatment
Kick that couple’s massage up a notch with a full-blown spa day for two. Get massages, scrubs, manicures, and pedicures—and don’t forget to hit up the sauna or whirlpool. If you really need some headspace, sign up for a yoga or meditation class. If you're trying to save money, you can always find some Zen at home: run a warm bath, light some candles, and download a meditation app so you and your S.O. can unwind without leaving the house.
Cook a Meal Together
Whip out your favorite cookbook and choose something challenging that you’ve never made before. Turn it into an adventure as you hit up the local shops to find those must-have ingredients. Then, shake up your favorite cocktails or open a bottle of wine and get cooking! If you want a little more guidance, sign up for a cooking class that focuses on a new cuisine or technique.
Watch a Movie Marathon
Of course, Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a huge to-do. You can always celebrate your love from the comfort of your home. Put on a romantic movie marathon and cuddle on the couch with some popcorn. Remember, you shouldn't feel pressured to make a big deal out of February 14—especially since you have so much on your plate planning a wedding.
Start a New Tradition
Now that you’re on the cusp of marriage, you’re probably thinking about what your life will look like in the future. Why not take this opportunity to start a new Valentine’s Day tradition that you can continue for years to come? It could be anything from a special meal that you’ll recreate year after year to booking a reservation at a restaurant you'll love coming back to for years to come.
Go for a Long Drive
Sometimes, there's nothing more romantic than going for a long drive with your significant other. Travel down the back roads and take in some scenery with your favorite songs playing on the radio, or drive to a destination like a lake and enjoy each other's company in the beauty of nature. You can even make a few stops along the way at places you've been meaning to check out, like coffee shops, antique shops, or bookstores, and buy each other some sentimental but inexpensive presents.
Dance the Night Away
This can really mean anything you want. If you and your partner used to go out to bars and dance clubs all the time when you first started dating, use Valentine's Day as an opportunity to go out dancing. Or, you can live stream a dance class from your laptop and learn some new moves together as a bonding activity (or as practice for the wedding). Of course, there's the option to dim the lights, put on your favorite romantic playlist, and slow dance in the living room with some wine.
Create a Masterpiece Together
Getting creative is one of the best ways to spend quality time with your significant other. A paint-and-sip, whether it's an actual class or just you and your partner at home, can be a super fun, out-of-the-box activity that will bring you closer together. Get a couple of canvases and inexpensive paints, plus a bottle or two of your favorite wine, and make a night of it, or find a deal at your local art studio. You can hang your finished products up in your home, so you'll never forget your first V-Day as an engaged couple.