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Ideas for tailoring a Valentine’s Day that speaks to every kind of love

In the book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts, you’ve got your words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, physical touch, and quality time. While it’s always considerate to respect your main squeeze, confidant, or partner by honoring the way they experience and convey love, on February 14th (or somewhere in that neighborhood), it’s sort of… required. So, give a heartfelt compliment to your BFF, buy your spouse that sweater they’ve been wanting, clean the bathroom, hold your companion’s hand as you walk around the neighborhood, and plan a meaningful Valentine’s Day date that celebrates your one-of-a-kind love.

For the couple who do their best loving under the stars, the Three Rivers Park District has numerous cross-country ski trails and snowshoeing paths for all skill levels and special Candlelit Night events for a little extra romance. No equipment? No problem! Renting is available at a few of their wander-lust-filled parks. Load up your lungs with fresh air, then sate your hunger and thirst at Schram Winery and Vineyards. In their beautiful tasting room, you’ll feel like you’re in the great outdoors with the space’s rustic charm and expansive windows that showcase gorgeous views of Lake Reitz. The beauty continues with their award-winning wine and charcuterie boards and other shareable delights made in their Perfect Pairings Kitchen.

If your idea of romance is a night on the couch in your fanciest pajamas, order takeout from The Noble Lion to dine like royalty in the comfort of your own home. Set the table with your prettiest dishes (is Chinet your prettiest? Go for it!), light a candle, and make a toast to love and coziness. Pick up a few delectable desserts from Bakery on Main - may we suggest the cupcakes the size of your face and their classy macarons - and a growler of your favorite brew from Waconia Brewing Company. And nothing says a perfect love-filled Valentine’s night like movie-marathoning The Notebook, Titanic, and You’ve Got Mail… or binging Succession. You do you.

Should you be an organizer of the last-minute variety, don’t fear! Swing into Mackenthun’s to gather the freshest ingredients for your love’s favorite meal and cook together. With a bottle of wine or a classy mocktail, your ‘Enchanted Love’ playlist, and precious time alone, it could very well feel like you actually did plan ahead. A moonlit walk followed by chocolate and strawberry fondue at home is another idea, or order pizza, play games, and sync your calendars to plan a future date for fettuccine alfredo and a prosciutto pizza at Bode Gray’s, followed by Old Fashioneds at The Brass Hat.

Put the ‘Day’ back in Galentine’s Day and begin a friend-filled love fest early in the day. Shop at The Stash, Magnolia North Boutique, and Ruthie’s Vintage, then head to Victoria for stops at White Birch House and Willa June. You’re in luck because Victoria Burrow is just around the corner, so a fun game of mini golf, some ax throwing, and arcade games is convenient and definitely in order. After winning yourself a stuffed unicorn and an armful of glow-in-the-dark bracelets, finish up your “GNE” (Greatest Night Ever, that is) with a celebratory dinner at Winchester and Rye. You have so much to celebrate, and there’s no better place to do it.  

The classic romantic Valentine’s Day isn’t classic or romantic without spending it at Lola’s Lakehouse. In a private booth tucked back in the bar or a table along the windows that line Lake Waconia, you really couldn’t ask for a better backdrop to the most amorous of evenings. Sip on glasses of wine or order from their craft cocktail menu, then choose a couple of goodies from their dessert menu for a perfect bookend to an evening spent by the glistening lake. Next, make the short drive to Emagine Movie Theater for the latest flick and a buttery bucket of popcorn, Lady and the Tramp style, for dessert number two. 

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