Ready to make their heart flutter? Whether you’re looking for romantic gift ideas or tips on how to sweep them off their feet, “Your Trusted Cupid” brings you topnotch advice from relationship experts that’s sure to make your sweetheart feel adored. From thoughtful gestures to memorable date night ideas, we share the sweetest ways to say, “I love you.”
Valentine’s Day has come a long way since its Roman Empire roots. What likely started back then with a few martyred saints evolved over the centuries into this big-deal holiday with flowers, chocolates, and greeting cards covered in pink and red hearts.
Yikes. You get one day to get it right.
How do you prepare to show your special someone on Valentine’s Day exactly how much they mean to you? To answer that question, Petal Talk invited four guys with experience wooing their partners to share their successful Valentine’s Day tips for guys.
Lifestyle blogger Kenny Daniels admits that the occasion can be easy for some guys but “a load of pressure” for most. He suggests treating the run-up to the occasion like a game.
“What you bring to the table determines the outcome moving forward,” he says. “It’s like taking the last shot in a basketball game to advance to the championship round.”
Celebrating for any situation
Like a game, Valentine’s Day success requires a strategic approach. The first step, according to our experts, is assessing the situation.
Maybe you and your partner just recently met and are worrying about how to express yourselves on your first Valentine’s Day together. During the pandemic, the old standby of dinner at a favorite restaurant may be off the table. But that shouldn’t stop you from having the restaurant deliver to your house, says Jon Bailey, who writes about family lifestyle, traveling, and LGBTQ issues.
“Arrange the food on the plates as beautifully as possible like the restaurant would have and present it to your seated partner like they are a king or queen,” he says.
Or perhaps you and your partner have been together for a long time and have seemingly run out of ways to express your love. “At this point in your relationship, you know each other very well and can anticipate what the other person might expect of you,” Jon says. “That’s why changing it up will bring them true surprise!”
If you have any ability in the kitchen, you might consider surprising them,” he says. “Believe me, it does not have to be fancy. If you are not normally the one who cooks at your house, your significant other will greatly appreciate your effort.”
Another situation to consider: Do you and your partner speak the same love language or share the same feelings about Valentine’s Day? You might be setting yourself up for failure if you think Valentine’s Day is overrated but your partner is counting down the days. “Without some gesture, someone might end up feeling empty and unloved,” Jon says.
(Confused about “love languages”? Check out our article in which we discuss them with the author of the best-selling book on the topic.)
Guys in long-distance relationships have an additional challenge, says Jeff Yamazaki, who writes on financial topics and men’s style. His girlfriend lived in Japan during the first three years of their relationship. “Valentine’s Day is stressful and when you add distance to that, it adds a whole other level of panic!” he says.
“The first thing I learned is that you don’t need to buy an expensive gift,” Jeff says. “It sounds cliché but getting her something memorable and thoughtful such as a custom-made card with a well-thought-out letter and flowers is way better than expensive chocolates.”
Make sure your Valentine’s Day gift has meaning
All four agreed that thoughtfulness is key, regardless of the situation. If you were raised to hold in your emotions, it might be hard to express how you really feel about your partner with the perfect present or words. The great thing about flowers is that they can do the speaking for you.
“Sure, they may be a bit cliché, but they’re also a timeless Valentine’s gift,” says Zach Burrus, who writes about lifestyle, societal issues and pet parenting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Wait. Not so fast. Would this person revel in receiving a dozen long-stem roses? Or would they balk at them or that mixed bouquet? “Consider your loved one’s favorite flowers when choosing the arrangement,” says Zach, who suggests pairing it with a complementary vase.
If your love interest isn’t into cut blossoms, you can always take the potted-plant route. Uh-oh, no green thumb? “Opt for a plant that requires little effort,” Zach says. “Since many plants have cool meanings, consider what the plant represents in your search.” When you select the one that promises to make someone’s day, it speaks of how you value the person and want to please them.
Tips on choosing the perfect gift this Valentine’s Day
Flowers and plants know just what to say when you can’t find the words, but they’re not the only way to express your feelings on Valentine’s Day.
“The question is,” says Kenny, “What do you get? Do you buy jewelry, a designer bag? Some might even book a vacation, but do you really have to jump that high? My advice to you: Don’t reach for the stars if you can’t make the trip often.”
Zach likes the idea of gifting artwork or photos that capture a loved one’s favorite people, pets and places. “A framed photo of a favorite memory is always a winner, too,” he says. So is impressing your Valentine “by cooking their favorite meal, which you can then eat while watching their favorite flick.”
Don’t reach for the stars if you can’t make the trip often.
According to Jon, if you and your partner can’t celebrate Valentine’s Day in person, there are ways you can still enjoy the day together. For example, you can both have dinner delivered from the same restaurant and video chat as you enjoy your meal.
“Send them all the things to set their Valentine’s table, and do the same on your end — flowers, white tablecloth, the whole nine yards,” he says. “Pop a bottle of bubbly and toast your partner screen to screen. It’s not as good as being together, but it’s an effort that your partner will appreciate.”
Why there are no limits on love this Valentine’s Day
These days, Valentine’s Day isn’t only about romance. “I’ve come to view it as a season to celebrate the ones I love, including my husband, mom and others in my life,” says Zach. Drop off or send cards you make yourself, grocery shop for them or walk their dog. And yes, send them flowers!
Valentine’s Day belongs to everyone — love knows no bounds — and every day can be Valentine’s Day. What you make of the holiday is up to you. Whether you go all-out traditional or are more offbeat, what matters most is that you’re genuine about it. When you are, you can’t go wrong. The person who receives your generosity will see and admire the real you, in whatever you give them that day.