So … who’s expected to pay the bill?
On Valentine’s Day, love is in the air and romance is in full bloom.
Let me stop right there.
College students dress casually, split restaurant bills evenly and pinch pennies most of the time. Quite the opposite of romance with open purse strings.
I do think college students want to put their best foot forward on Valentine’s Day and make it a special occasion, but knowing what to plan and how much to spend is complicated. The sweetness associated with Valentine’s Day can turn sour with uncertainty and worry.
Here are the answers to the five most common Valentine’s Day etiquette questions so that you can focus on romance instead of repairing a relationship.
1. How far should I plan ahead?
Try to secure a restaurant reservation as soon as possible. Most restaurants are booked several weeks in advance. By booking early, you increase your chances of getting a good table with the best view.
If you are opting to participate in an activity like attending a play or seeing a movie, purchase tickets in advance to guarantee admission. This also allows you to avoid the awkward “Is this together?” question at the box office.
With that being said, it’s important to arrive on time for your date so everything can go as scheduled. Nothing signifies that you don’t care about your date more than showing up 30 minutes late.
2. Who pays for the bill?
Traditionally, the man was expected to pay for everything. However, like many other traditions, things change to fit modern times. Now, the cost of a date is sometimes split or the woman may offer to pick up the tab. As a general rule today, the person who does the inviting is responsible for paying.
3. Should I give a gift? If so, how much should I spend?
As a token of your love or friendship, present your date with a gift. The price of the gift will depend on how well you know each other and how long you’ve been dating. Popular gifts include flowers, chocolate, wine and candles.
If money is an issue or you want to give something more personal, get creative and tailor your gift to your date’s interests. For example, you can decorate a picture frame based on memories you’ve shared together or create a personalized box with little mementos from your relationship inside.
Remember, it also never hurts to just give a sincere compliment.
4. Which restaurant should I chose? What should I order?
If you are paying for the meal, you are responsible for picking the restaurant. Consider your date’s interests and tastes when making your selection. If you are the host, allow your date to select his or her menu choices before you make your own. If money is not an issue, make suggestions about more expensive items on the menu.
As a bonus tip, if you are at a restaurant, make sure your date has your undivided attention. Avoid sending text messages or answering phone calls for the duration of the meal.
5. How should I thank my date?
I’m a big believer in thanking your date, regardless of how the night turned out. Your date still tried to plan something nice and very rarely is an experience only negative. If you had an enjoyable time, call your date the next day or write a thank-you note as soon as possible. If you’ve known your date for a long time, sending a text message could also be appropriate.
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