Whether you love or love to hate this Hallmark holiday, you can't escape the fact that you will need to have something planned to show your significant other how much you care on Valentine's Day. And with everyone showing off their engagement rings, lavish presents or romantic settings on social media, it seems like a simple card and box of candy just won't cut it.
But thinking of date ideas, figuring out which restaurant isn't already booked and of course what gift to get can be difficult — especially if you've waited until the last minute. Before you start to have a heart attack over how you will pull together a special day in such a short amount of time, take a deep breath (or have a cocktail) and know that there's an app for just about everything you have on your to-do list.
And no, we aren't talking about dating apps like Tinder. From selecting wine to setting the mood (not talking about just Netflix and chill), this app guide will hook you up with everything you need to create the perfect Valentine's Day.
Make Your Restaurant Reservation
One of the first things you need to do to make sure you have the perfect Valentine's Day date night is to reserve a table at your significant other's favorite restaurant. Take our word for it that showing up without one will end in one of two ways: either getting stuck with a ridiculously long wait time that will spoil the rest of the evening, or the hostess will simply turn you away because they're all booked up.
Luckily there's no shortage of apps that will help you make your reservation — and even let you pay for your bill once you're done eating — all with a few taps. One of our favorites is OpenTable, especially since it is sweetening the deal by offering $20 off at participating restaurants when you pay with Apple Pay on Feb. 14.
OpenTable lets users find a restaurant by location or by what type of food your taste buds are craving, with over 32,000 establishments worldwide. Simply select a date, time and the amount of people in your party, and tap serve to book a table.
Wine After You Dine
Nothing pairs better with chocolates than a delicious glass of red wine. But those who are not regular winos may not know where to even start when picking up a bottle. That's where Drync comes in, an app dedicated to learning, browsing and shopping for wine.
Users can view ratings and reviews about a specific bottle, see what their friends are drinking and get recommendations from experts based on the wines you like. Browse by wine style, region or grape and stop to pick up bottles on your way to your date or have them shipped directly to your house. Those who use Apple Pay by Feb. 14 get a free signed copy of Hungry for Wine by Forbes wine writer Cathy Huyghe, along with other goodies.
Plan The Perfect Date
Some couples prefer to skip the crowded restaurant scene, but figuring out a creative date idea might be bit challenging since the pressure is on. Instead of staying inside for an evening of Netflix, use the app Headout to help you discover cool events or activities happening around you.
The app is only available in select cities such New York, Las Vegas, L.A., Chicago and Miami, but users who are lucky to be in those towns will also be able to land exclusive discounts when reserving tickets. This is perfect for those who make plans the day of, or for those who are traveling and want to check out what that city has to offer.
On-demand tickets are available for events ranging from Broadway shows to private tours. They include offerings of romantic dates like sunset cruises or more adventurous outdoor activities.
Avoid The Ex
Whether you're spending the night single and ready to mingle, opting for a girls' or guys' night out, or taking out a new crush, the last thing you want is to run into your ex. Fresh off the breakup, seeing them with someone new might open the wound and send you back to that bad place where you ate ice cream and couldn't get off your couch for five days.
Avoiding your ex at all costs is so easy when using Cloak. This app searches through your various social media accounts to show you where they are, and if they are near you. Think of it as your personal assistant that stalks your ex for you to make sure you are as far away from them as possible.
Cloak is available to download for free for iOS.
Set The Mood
There is nothing more romantic than gazing out into the stars and looking back into your partner's eyes. Star Walk 2 provides users with a guide to watching the night sky, pointing out constellations, nebulae and planets in their exact position.
The user just has to hold their smartphone or tablet in the direction of the heavens, and the app's technology and astronomical data will help guide you through your journey out to space. The app won the Apple Design Award, and features atmospheric visuals and a soothing soundtrack, which will help sparks fly.
Give A Gift That Shows You Care
It's almost a given that you will be giving your significant other roses and chocolates on this holiday. But many couples use this holiday as a way to show how much they care by gifting their loved one with something that they've been talking about for months. While it's safe to go the jewelry route, not everyone can afford diamonds every year. Those looking to present their partner with something unique should check out the app Fancy for inspiration.
Fancy allows users to discover and buy items from a catalog of various sellers and stores. Ask your partner to also download the app so they can create their own wishlist and share it with their friends. If you'd rather it be a surprise, check out items listed by category, what's recommended or by gift guide. Users can also use its Tinder-like feature of collecting items they want to buy themselves in the future.
Photo: b_earth_photos | Flickr