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Common Valentine's Day Disasters...And How to Avoid Them

Valentine’s Day is supposed to be the most romantic day of the year, but with all that pressure for things to be just right, sometimes things can go a little, well, wrong

It doesn’t matter if it’s due to a lack of planning or just an unfortunate V-Day surprise: When disaster strikes, you have a very limited amount of time to fix it before Cupid labels your evening a failure. Here’s how you can overcome six of the most common Valentine’s Day disasters and get the biggest date night of the year back on track.

DISASTER: You forgot to make a restaurant reservation, and now the best ones are booked solid.

SOLUTION: Guarantee a great seat by cooking a romantic dinner for two at home. With the right touches, a night in can feel like a night out. Type up and print the evening’s menu to place at your partner’s setting. Dim the lights, and turn on some music. Start with a fancy appetizer, and make a main dish that departs from your usual dinnertime fare (lobster, anyone?). Don’t forget a great bottle of wine or a specialty cocktail, plus plenty of candles and a romantic centerpiece. Find more meal inspiration with our Valentine’s Day Menu Ideas.

DISASTER: Your calendars are jam-packed, and the two of you don’t have a free evening until June.

SOLUTION: Who says Valentine’s Day needs to be celebrated at night? Surprise your partner with breakfast in bed, prepping the ingredients the night before to avoid any measurement mishaps that tend to happen pre-coffee. Nestle a thoughtful card alongside the fresh-squeezed juice, coffee, and a mix of her favorite savory and sweet breakfast foods.

Photo Credit: Katie Meyers

DISASTER: You’re stuck in a Valentine’s Day rut.

SOLUTION: Shake up the same-old, same-old and go a different route—literally. Plan a daylong road trip to a secret locale, stocking the car with your partner’s top snacks, drinks, and tunes. Build excitement by sharing visual “clues” with her on a Pinterest board ahead of time. If the weather’s a bit too blustery, plan a romantic staycation at home instead. Turn off those devices, draw a romantic bubble bath for two, and nosh on your favorite takeout in bed: room service-style.

Photo Credit: Katie Meyers

DISASTER: Your beloved has pretty particular taste, which can make gift-giving a tad challenging.

SOLUTION: If the usual heart-shaped box of candy just isn’t her thing, pick a present that’s more tailored to her tastes. The key is to focus on the gift and its intended recipient, not the holiday. If your one-and-only is an oenophile, for example, treat her to a fine bottle of wine. Want to keep the romance going beyond February 14? Try a subscription to a unique gift club to send your sweetheart gifts several times a year.

DISASTER A sudden sickness has thrown a wrench in the romantic plans.

SOLUTION: Reschedule that night out and enjoy a cozy, low-key movie night at home. Make some homemade chicken soup or cookies and hot cocoa (with extra marshmallows!). Don your warmest PJs and snuggle up together with a romantic comedy—and a box of tissues. A get-well bouquet of bright blooms will help cheer her up, too.

DISASTER: The client meeting is running long, and you’re going to be late for your very important date.

SOLUTION: Don’t cancel or make your date wait. Send a ride share service (like Uber or Lyft), or arrange for a car service. Call ahead to the restaurant and ask to have a glass of wine or champagne waiting at the table for when your partner arrives. While your dinner date might not love the tardiness, your reservation will be saved and your thoughtful gestures will cut down on any pre-appetizer tension.

Find more party planning inspirations for Valentines Day

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Meet our Writer
Jennifer Geddes
Celebrations Writer

Jennifer Kelly Geddes has hosted Christmas cookie swaps, New Year's open houses, Thanksgiving for 22, and all manner of dinner parties in her Manhattan and Ghent, NY homes.

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