Jewels. Roses. Champagne and Caviar.
We often think “bigger is better” when it comes to indulging our loved ones on Valentine’s Day, but sometimes it’s the simple things that make the best impressions. A home-cooked meal, a long, warm bath or a shared slice of something sweet can all be had for a song, and will be remembered for years to come.
Read on for our top tips for romantic touches that won’t break the bank.
Five Rules: Simply Seductive
1. The way to his heart. Or hers.
Your Granny was right - the way to your sweetie’s heart is through the stomach. A meal at home by candlelight is a sure-fire romantic homerun, and you don’t have to spend a fortune to pull it off. Try this no-fail formula: Place a store-bought rotisserie chicken in a roasting dish and brush generously with Dijon mustard. Bake at 375° until golden brown and warmed through. Serve with spring greens dressed with raspberry–walnut vinaigrette (we like Newman’s Own). Who knew four affordable ingredients could add up to such a stylish supper? (Need even more delicious recipes? Gourmet Yourself and your Valentine by clicking here.)
2. Tune in and cuddle up.
Did you know that salty snacks and sparking wine are a classic combination? Grab a good bottle from your local liquor store, then keep the rest of the evening low-key with a romantic flick and a selection of snacks. Serve kettle chips and lightly-salted popcorn in big bowls for sharing, and make sure your blanket’s big enough for two.
3. Create a relaxing retreat.
Help your honey ease into the mood with an at-home escape. Draw a warm, scented bath and surround the tub with candles. Set a glass of wine or a beer on the vanity and then send him or her away for a long, soothing soak. Guys, your girls probably have a selection of bath products for just this purpose in a cabinet somewhere already. And ladies, you’ll find an aisle-full of new products just for men at the grocery store (check out Every Man Jack).
4. Sweets for your sweet.
Nothing compares to a homemade treat. And again, it doesn’t take a pastry chef or a lot of dough to pull it off. Click here for a full batch of quick-and-easy baking ideas.
5. Bloomin' romantic.
Finally, rather than spending a Benjamin on a fancy-shmancy bouquet, try this unexpectedly romantic arrangement instead. First, raid your fridge for all the small glass jars you can find. (If you’re like us, there’s about a dozen you’ve been meaning to ditch anyway.) Remove the labels and scrub ‘em clean and shiny – the more, the merrier. Then, pick up a couple of inexpensive bouquets and place one or two flowers in each jar, trimming the stems as necessary. Add water and group the jars together as a centerpiece for your romantic meal (see #1). Beautiful, affordable and creative!
For even more Valentine's Day tips, events, and ideas, check out our special section.