Valentine's Day can divide opinion - some revel in showering the object of their affection with gifts or treating them to a swanky meal, while others roll their eyes at OTT gestures and soppy cards.
One thing we know for certain, however, is that you don't need to head out to an expensive and overcrowded restaurant to make the most of it.
So, whether you’re planning a quiet evening with your loved one or hosting a group of your unattached pals, here’s everything you'll need to create the perfect Valentine's celebrations - at home.
Set the tone
Regardless of whether you’re throwing a Galentine’s get together or a romantic meal for two, you’ll need to set the tone in your home so it doesn’t just feel like any other evening.
If you’re looking to create maximum impact, put up fairy lights, garlands and paper decorations. You can even add balloons and a foil-fringe hanging decoration, which will conveniently act as a great backdrop for photos.
If you’re opting for a more intimate vibe, scale back the paper decs and go for a more subtle look – think fairy lights, blankets, flowers and candles.
Remember to make a great playlist in advance so you always have background music as you gaze into one another's eyes. Or, worst case, to fill any awkward silences.
Get the look:
Prepare the table
Prepare your table in advance so you can relax when your date night - or dinner party - gets underway. Pinterest is brilliant for inspiration, so have a scroll and decide how you want your table to look before adding fresh flowers, cute themed table runners and crockery.
If you’re wanting to create a party atmosphere for your guests, you can always add little table favours to the place settings, such as little boxes of chocolate. Miniatures of your guest's favourite spirit are a thoughtful touch - and ready to use for cocktail making later on in the evening.
Remember, no celebration would be complete without a nice glass of wine or your favourite soft drink, so make sure to put a bottle in a cooler on the table, so guests can help themselves.
Get the look:
Valentine's blush rose, £5.10
Pink Lustre Champagne Flutes, Set of 2, £25
Cooking an impressive three-course meal on Valentine’s Day is definitely not for everyone. But if you’re a keen cook, it’s certainly a great opportunity to wow your other half with a show-stopping dish. If this sounds like you, here are some of our favourite romantic recipes that are sure to impress:
If, however, the thought of having to cook something impressive for someone else sounds like your idea of hell, order in your favourite food or, even better, cheat with one of these handy pre-packaged shortcuts:
Marshmallow dipping kit, £17.99
Impress with cocktails (or mocktails)
After-dinner cocktails are the classiest way to end an evening, whether you make and serve them yourself or turn it into a friendly competition. Why not try one of our favourite Valentine’s mixes?
If cocktail making doesn’t appeal to you, why not put on your favourite film and prepare some snacks?
For a real treat, you can schedule a massage or treatment with a wellness app like Urban which sends the therapist right to your door. Or, for some alternative entertainment, why not try Couples Q cards? They've been described as 'the ultimate date night accessory,' and with three levels of questions on increasing levels of intimacy, they can help you cut through the everyday small talk to enjoy some truly meaningful connection.
End your evening on a high note and exchange thoughtful gifts. If you need some inspiration, why not take a look at our gift guide?