Ah, Valentine’s Day. The day when greeting card, flower, candy, and jewelry companies try to convince you that the future of your relationship depends on your choice of the perfect gift for your significant other. And the world becomes festooned with pink in every direction, and inexplicably, people love it.*

If you want to celebrate your love, I am completely on board with that. I love it, actually, that’s why I’m in the business of making weddings happen. However, I hate it when people** pressure you to put a price on your relationship. Whether it’s for a holiday (You must buy jewelry for Christmas! You must go out for a fancy dinner and give flowers and chocolates for Valentine’s Day! You must now replicate V-day in October for the recently-resurrected Sweetest Day!) or your wedding (You must spend a month’s salary on an engagement ring! You must have a white dress! You must have a cocktail hour with a string quartet followed by a cocktail hour with an open bar and a sit-down dinner with filet mignon and then throw your bouquet to a sad assemblage of 14-year-old girls before getting pummeled with rice on your way out!), there are always people** out there trying to shove their opinions down your throat and tell you you’re doing it wrong.

Eff. That. Noise.

Love is totally awesome. You should celebrate it whenever and however you want to. If that happens to be any of the above-mentioned things, then that is also awesome. But maybe it’s not. Maybe you don’t need all that pressure. Maybe you don’t wear jewelry or even like flowers or know what the hell a Chiavari chair is, and you would just like people** to stop telling you what to do already, so you can keep your intimate relationship… intimate.

Why not pick a day (or seven) that has a special meaning to you and your love, and celebrate that instead? Here are some options that we like to celebrate, and some I am making up as I write this just to show you that you can:

  • The anniversary of the day you met
  • Or of the first time you kissed
  • Or the day you got engaged
  • Or the first time you said, “I love you”
  • Or the day you first felt like the two of you were your own little family
  • Or when you feel like you’ve truly become part of your partner’s family
  • Or because it snowed for the first time this year
  • Or you had a great day at work, and it’s swell to have someone to share it with
  • Or you had a rotten one, and it’s even better to have a shoulder to cry on
  • Or because it’s the third Tuesday of the month, and Tuesdays are the best day
  • For any reason, or no reason at all!

Won’t it be nice when you can make whatever dinner reservation you like, because 11,872 other couples aren’t trying to do it on the same night as you are? Won’t it be fabulous when the store doesn’t force you to buy your sweetheart’s favorite candy in a seasonal red/pink wrapper? Won’t it be the sweetest day when you celebrate purely because you want to celebrate and not because society is telling you that you must?

I offer you one more extra-special idea: surprise. Tell your partner you’re treating him/her to a date night, but keep all the details secret. Then think about what that person really loves (besides you, of course, though I’m not saying you should rule out a bottle of wine and your sexiest underthings) – and plan that.

Point being – it’s YOUR love, celebrate it YOUR way.

*I don’t know about you, but I prefer not to walk around in a world that feels like the inside of a Pepto-Bismol bottle. But my general dislike of pink is a story for another day.
**Companies trying to sell you their stuff. Also friends/family who mean well. Most of them, anyway. Some of them are just being jerks.

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