Tips for a Sweet Valentine’s Day from Matthew David Hopkins

Get extra romantic and crafty when planning your February 14 date

We’re getting closer to Valentine’s Day, and whether you approach the day with an eye roll or with open arms, it’s almost upon us. For those of you who are looking to set the scene and do something special for your valentine this year, how about creating a romantic ambiance that has a ton of thought behind it?
If you’re thinking, "Great, where do I start?" Fear not! We’ve gone straight to the source and reached out to New York City event planner Matthew David Hopkins for his help on this one.

Hopkins’ idea of a great Valentine's date starts and ends with three simple steps:

Be Nostalgic: Here, I've used the classic sweetheart candy as inspiration. You may want to use the idea of those paper Valentines that we all used to give as kids. Always remember, though, that we aren't kids now so pair it with something sophisticated or just capture the essence of it — maybe you make delicious cookies looks like kids' Valentines or maybe you use one as a tag on a little boxed present (with jewelry inside). The idea is to be nostalgic and yet current. One of these without the other becomes less memorable.

Keep It Simple: I've basically used off-the-shelf elements here to create a stylish and memorable dinner for two. Copy mine by going to Paper Presentation and ordering the paper hearts. You can add in favorite colors if you want as a way to customize. Use a white cloth as an underlay if your table is wooden or colorful already.

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Be Thoughtful: Really put some thought behind what you do. What is his or her favorite dish? What is his or her favorite flower? What is his or her favorite aroma (get a candle), color (linen, clothing, lingerie), restaurant (go there or order in and re-plate it as a surprise), number (Lotto ticket anyone?). The point is to show your valentine that you are paying attention to them, that you listen to them, and that you get them.