February 12, 2018

A Modern Couple’s Guide to Valentine’s Day

You most likely belong to one of two groups when it comes to Valentine’s Day. You’re either the passionate person who can’t stand the idea of a commercialized love holiday – you strongly believe we should show love and affection all year round (and Hallmark won’t be taking your money). Or you’re obsessed with the idea of a holiday that celebrates one of the greatest feelings ­– love. Maybe you’re somewhere in the middle, but we certainly all lean one way or the other.

Feelings aside, the red metallic balloons will appear, the conversation hearts will be near every check-out stand, and February 14th will show up no matter what. Being in the wedding industry, we also love love. We’re focused and driven on making your day run as smooth as possible, but we have to admit seeing a first look or hearing heartfelt vows makes us a little emotional.

We know too, that love continues after the celebrations, parties, and honeymoons. So in hopes of helping you strengthen your bond and kick butt at life as a newlywed couple, we’ve compiled some ideas for dates and gifts that will make Valentine’s Day feel a bit more personalized and special.

Date Ideas

Going out to eat might seem like a no brainer for cupid’s holiday, but oftentimes this can be more stressful than fun.  You can make reservations in advance, but many restaurants will have fixed price menus. Not to mention, the setting won’t feel as intimate with couples crowding into tables next to you. Portland-based couples should take a trip to Powell’s to pick out a new recipe book. Cook a meal together at home and then focus on something else fun for the night. If you’ve got a competitive edge, you should each make a dish and taste test to determine the winner.

If you decide to go out, revamp dinner and a movie with dinner and a play or concert. Rather than watching A-listers on the silver screen, you can enjoy local talent at many of Portland’s main stages. Everything from comedy shows poking fun at the holiday to sexy vaudeville shows are available in Portland this year. You can find an event that fits you best on the Portland Mercury’s calendar.

If the waterfront is calling your name, but it’s too chilly for a stroll, the Portland Spirit is hosting a Valentine’s Day cruise. Your ticket price includes a four course meal, a live band, and views of the city skyline and lights that you can’t get from anywhere else. 

For something a little different this year, take a brewery tour with Brewvana on the 14th. You can purchase tickets on their website and join the group for a slight buzz from all the beer (and love). Don’t worry about finding dinner, there will be food pairings, dinner, and dessert included. 

For you diehard rip city fans, the Blazers will be playing Golden state Valentine’s Day night. Grab your partner and get ready to go hoarse from cheering. Afterwards, sneak off to Salt & Straw to taste their February flavors–you know waiting in this line is worth it. Feeling a bit sneaky, but not too sneaky? Head up to Council Crest to get a chilly viewing of the stars that night and a breathtaking view of the city. (Careful, you’re there past curfew).

Gift Ideas

For Her

This year, set down the box of chocolates and pick out something that she’ll love beyond Valentine’s Day. We’re never one to turn away a treat, but a thoughtful gift makes her feel the time and effort you put into thinking about her. Here’s a few ideas.

Candles – Both Voluspa and Nest candles are fan favorites, and there is definitely a scent for every person. Whether she prefers tobacco and musk or citrus and coconut, a candle will make her place smell great and feel cozy.

Lingerie – This gift is a win-win for both of you. You’ll get to appreciate how amazing she looks in it, and she’ll feel confident and stunning. You know her well, so make sure you don’t buy a red hot lacy piece if she’s more fond of black satin garments. Hanky Panky sells a set of three lace panties in a heart-shaped box, and that certainly beats predictable heart chocolates. 

Leather bag – A new bag will always come in handy, and a high quality leather one will last for years. She’ll think of you every time she uses it and will be happy to receive a present that’s both stylish and useful. Madewell and Frye have selections that are perfect for the PNW vibe but transition well for any occasion no matter where she goes. 

Perfume – Redefining your look with a new scent can be exciting. With a new scent she can decide which fits her best each day. There’s also something so chic about a stylish glass bottle that can serve as a piece of decor for her dresser or nightstand. A spray from Jo Malone or Le Labo Santal 33 are luxe little splurges that she’ll adore. 

Sweater – She can never have too many sweaters, especially during the rainy season. A soft cozy one for lounging around the house is always a good idea or a chunky knit piece she can throw on before heading out the door will no doubt be a closet essential for her. 

For Him

While we can’t assume all couples are the same, men can typically be a bit more relaxed about what they like. While this makes shopping easier, it can also be frustrating when trying to find something that will really make him feel special. You love him a lot, so we have you covered with gifts that surpass chocolates and wine.

Sweatshirt – This may be the biggest wardrobe staple for a lot of men, but a sweatshirt that he can cozy up in at home or wear out to the bar is the perfect combination. Patagonia and True Grit both have styles that are streetwear savvy and ready for football Sunday at home. 

Cologne – A signature scent is something he can be remembered by when he’s on a trip or traveling for business. It’s a small, but opulent gesture for someone you care about. Le Labo Santal 33 makes scents for both women and men or you can stick with classics from Dolce & Gabbana and Calvin Klein. 

Craft Beer Tasting Kit – One of the best things about being in Portland, or on the west coast in general, is the selection of beers and spirits. You can purchase him a tasting kit so he can taste test new microbrews and IPAs. Or create your own by stopping at different breweries to fashion a DIY version that you can customize to his taste preferences. 

Boxers – Not just any pack, but gift him with a pair of comfy, cloud-like ones. Calvin Klein makes them out of micromodal material, which feels silky smooth and soft to the touch. He’ll look super handsome, and he’ll never want another type of underwear in his drawer after getting these. 

Laptop Case – Useful and stylish, he’ll appreciate having something that keeps his files safe. He won’t have to slip his computer into his bag and worry about damage, especially with a sturdy leather sleeve. Nordstrom, Amazon, and Madewell all have cases fit for your hard working guy.

With love,



Images used from Pinterest and not the work or property of Vanity Affair Events.