Candy, flowers, teddy bears, and cliché heart shaped jewelry- that is what Valentine’s Day means to me. As much as we - and I speak for the entire female species - appreciate the Valentine’s Day gestures, sometimes the “thought” doesn’t really appear to be there at all. But don’t worry boyfriends and dates, you’re not hopeless - I’m here to provide you with a no-fail guide to V-DAY.
First, here is the bare minimum expected of you. Keep in mind, I don’t personally know your girlfriend, so this is pretty general. It never hurts to go above and beyond.
Dating 0-3 months - Dinner at a pretty nice restaurant (light-wash jeans and sneakers discouraged), a bouquet of flowers, and nice chocolates are EXPECTED.
Dating 4-7 months - Dinner at a nice restaurant (jeans altogether discouraged, nice flowers, nice chocolates, and a heart-felt card are EXPECTED and gifts are very encouraged).
Dating 8-12 months - Dinner at a very nice restaurant (jeans not allowed), nice flowers, nice chocolates, a very heart-felt card, and a nice gift are EXPECTED.
Dating over a year - Dinner at a very nice restaurant that requires reservations, very nice flowers, very nice chocolates, very heart-felt card, and a very nice gift are all expected.
I don’t make the rules, I just report them.
When buying or making card it’s important to remember a few things.
- Don’t buy a card from CVS’s “Shoe Box” collection and simply sign your name to it. She will most likely write you a heartfelt card that will take hours to produce, at least write a cute little note or something.
- If you pick a funny card, it better make them laugh. If it isn’t LOL funny, choose a different one.
- Even if you are not in the “I love you” stage of your relationship, it is important to sign the card LOVE,_________. You love ice cream, your favorite movie, and beer - I’d hope you “love” your girlfriend at least equally. Signing your name “love” doesn’t scream “I’m in love with you”.
This says “you’re fat and I hate you, so I bought you fruit”
This says “I love you so much”
Nothing says “I love you” like Edible Arrangements, but something to keep in mind when ordering one - if you can’t afford the fruit that’s coated in chocolate (at least dipped), don’t order it at all. Suddenly by ordering the fruit-only arrangement you’ve turned this gift into a slap in the face. You’re sending me a fruit salad on Valentines day? Ouch. However, nobody will be insulted if you get the traditional arrangements instead of the V-Day ones, and they are significantly cheaper. A nice edible arrangement cancels out the need to send flowers, it’s a 2 in 1: you save money, she brags to her friends.
Nothing says “I’m thoughtless” like boxes of chocolates from CVS, Walgreens, Christmas Tree Shop, etc. I would rather ONE chocolate covered strawberry from Godiva and a single red rose than a box of chocolates from CVS (wrapped in plastic) and a bouquet of carnations. It’s about the quality! Buy the nice chocolates!
This says “I’m sorry your cat died”
This says “Its Valentine’s Day and you’re special to me”
Yellow Roses are for hospital visits.
Tulips are for summer weddings.
Carnations are for burning.
And red roses are for Valentine’s Day, (even if it’s just half a dozen).
My favorite flower is a sunflower but I don’t want that on Valentine’s Day - save that for my birthday or something.
Let me make this very clear, you WILL know if your girlfriend is the type to appreciate a stuffed animal of some kind. If she is, make sure you’re getting her a stuffed animal that you want her to remember you by. You’re not in 5th grade and it is not acceptable to pick up your gifts at the local drug store. Go to Build-A-Bear (or the website), pick out her FAVORITE ANIMAL, not some “limited edition Valentines Day” BULLSH*T. And make sure you put an outfit on it - don’t be one of those cheap parents who used to half-ass an awesome B-DAY party.
(the example above is what not to do, so we’re clear)
If your plan was to walk over to Kohl’s or Kay jewelers because “every kiss begins with K,” you should change your plans immediately. If you think that the absolute perfect gift for your love is a necklace with a misshaped heart with diamonds on one side of the loop, think again. The only thing worse than having to pretend you like a gift you’ve already received 800 times is having to wear it in public every-day.
However! I like to keep Valentine’s Day gifts relevant to the holiday. Keep it a little cliché! V-Day is dedicated to pink, red, love, hearts, cupid, the works - for example: what is Christmas without a stocking?
- Unless she has stated otherwise, she already has an “infinity” ring/necklace. So since she already has it, you don’t need to get her another one.
- Know if your girl is a gold or silver girl. If you don’t know and simply guess you are running the risk of messing up her entire jewelry routine, don’t turn your nice gesture into a hassle!
- Don’t guess on a ring size. Ask a friend and make sure they aren’t guessing and actually know. If you can’t find out her size from a friend, ask her “all her sizes”- she’ll never know ;)
Just Started Dating (0-4 months)
Monogramed necklaces have become extremely popular over the past year. However, something personalized like this isn’t something you just buy yourself. My boyfriend got me a monogramed necklace for Christmas this past year and I absolutely love it. This is a perfect gift for a girl you just started dating because it’s thoughtful, unique, but affordable.
Surprise her with a little designer find! These Tory Burch heart-studs are festive, but she can wear them all year! ($68!)
Some-what established Relationship (5-10 months)
As you’re about to find out, I LOVE stackable rings! The best part of this set is separately you have two different rings - in love! At $100, even this is relatively affordable as well. Valentine’s Day is a cliché holiday, so there is no shame in using hearts!
Once again, love the stackable rings! If you’ve been dating for a substantial amount of time its really cute to do [your first initial] <3 [her first initial], but if you’ve only been dating for a short period its also acceptable to just get her initials without the heart. The best quality stackable rings are from CatBird NYC, but comparable ones can be found on etsy for a much cheaper price. If you don't like the idea of a ring, get her this engraved necklace with either both her first and last initials or both of your first initials.
Tiffany’s Never Fails
The pricetag isn’t the easiest to swallow, but this Tiffany’s heart pendant is a no-fail for ANY girl!
Your relationship is on the “rocks” but you’re still together for the holiday OR you’re unsure of your status all together
Spa related gift cards! No girl would pass up a massage or mani-pedi, and the expiration date is much more forgiving then your relationship. The longer you’ve been together the more extravagant the gift card should be.
- Make dinner reservations in advance, some places need up to a month in advance (Max Brenners).
- Even if you neglect to ever do it again, open her car door on V-day.
- Don’t generalize her when you’re picking out her gift, just because she’s a girl doesn’t mean she’s into the same things as every other girl in the world.
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Best of luck boys! And if you need any more guidance, feel free to ask!