Valentine's Day may be the day of love, but it sure is fraught with a lot of questions. Like, how seriously should you take the holiday? Is it as important as everyone makes it out to be? And oh yeah, how do you get a last minute Valentine's Day reservation because you totally forgot?
If you're not opting for a night in with your sweetheart, it can feel totally overwhelming to plan a big dinner out, so you probably put it off. And if you're not one who normally plans a night out for the holiday, it may be surprising to hear that you should've made your Valentine's Day reservations about a month before the big day. But let's be real here, chances are, life got in the way. It's not like Valentine's Day is Christmas, where everything's been planned for weeks and traditions are in place. It's a holiday that can quickly sneak up on you until you realize it's Feb. 13 and you still have to find a box of chocolates that doesn't suck for your boo.
But if you didn't make your Valentine's Day reservations in advance, that doesn't mean your holiday is ruined. Although you may not be able to enjoy an 8 p.m. dinner date at a high-end restaurant, you can still enjoy a night out with your valentine. I spoke with Cheryl Brandes and Deena Duron, restaurant managers at Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temeculac, California, who shared some amazing ways to enjoy your Valentine's Day sans dinner reservations.
"As long as you're not winging it the day of, the creative choices can be endless," says Duron. Brandes agrees, offering her own advice of making sure the holiday is more about memories. "Remember, it's not about the destination, it's all about the journey getting there." Follow their expert advice with these four tips, and you and your sweetie are sure to have a great Valentine's Day no matter what.
1. Find A Happy Hour
Turn your main meal in a happy hour. "Many restaurants will still offer Happy Hours with great options for appetizers, beers, or cocktails you may not otherwise have tried," Brandes says. It may not sound like an incredibly romantic, elegant Valentine's Day, but it involves sharing plates and trying news things. And who better to do that with than a loved one?
2. Have An Early Dinner And Entertainment
If you're not into beer and mozzarella sticks, Brandes suggests having an earlier dinner. "Since Valentine's Day is on a Sunday this year, plan to go out for an early dinner," she says. "After early dinner, there are bound to be some good options for entertainment. Check out a jazz club or a dance studio. Do something you may never do."
3. Head To A Sushi Bar
Duron also offers a non-traditional way to enjoy your date. "Many couples opt for tables on Valentine's Day, but sushi bars offer fantastic and fun environments for Feb. 14," he says. "You get to sit right next to your date, not across the table, there's interaction with the sushi chef, you can have the chef surprise you with their choice of seafood dish creations, you can enjoy sake tastings and so much more." But it's not just the flexibility of a sushi bar that makes it a great choice. The food itself is perfect for Valentine's Day. "Since sushi is often bite-sized, it's a perfect food for feeding to your loved one. Getting take out sushi and going on a picnic in the park, or even your own living room, can be a different and fun experience."