5 Date Ideas for the Engaged Couple

In recognition of Valentine’s Day and loving love, I figure it's about time I shared our engagement story to give a little context for the motivation for this post. Truth is, that "honeymoon" phase of a relationship sometimes discussed, well Andrew and I didn't have very much of that, if at all. I mean, we were definitely mushy gushy and in love and wanted to spend as much time together as possible, but our geographical locations prevented this option from being a reality.

Long story short, when we began hanging out I was living in the Philly area while he was permanently in Connecticut. From there, I moved to NH for a summer and then jetted off to England/Europe for my final term of college which I spent abroad at the University of Oxford. Andrew and I traveled together (though not continuously) for about 3 weeks while I was on the other side of the pond. When I returned home to NH I dove straight into work and thus created the routine of driving to CT most weekends to soak up some time together. The day we closed on our home is the day Andrew proposed (to a completely shocked me), and the 9 months between our engagement and our wedding were a total beautiful whirlwind. I really do believe the distance helped us learn to communicate quickly, to cherish the moments together, and the traveling we've been fortunate to do together are moments we'll never be able to recreate and I'm grateful for being able to recall those experiences in moments of stress and tension in our relationship. Sometimes I'll joke, "yeah, this might be tough...but it's definitely not as bad as being left on the side of the road in Santorini, Greece and almost missing our flight to Rome, right?"

I digress. BUT. I mention this part of our own story to encourage any of you who are reading this and engaged to slow down. And I really mean that. Look around and think about just how precious this season in life is. Stuff to get done? It can wait. Go out. Stay home. It doesn't much matter what you do, but take the time to invest in relaxation and laughs together because life sure does fly by. Next month Andrew and I will be celebrating three years of marriage and in June, welcoming a baby girl into the world - when they say time flies it really does. I hope this encourages you to set aside some precious time with your significant other, and I'm going to throw out a few ideas that will hopefully inspire you to be creative with your time and build new memories together.

1. Soak up Wisdom | Double Date Style

Double dating is a blast. But also, it's a great opportunity to pick married people’s brains about their tips and tricks for communicating, having fun, and tackling life together.  Don’t be afraid to ask for these little nuggets of wisdom or specific things they’ve learned. Though not every couple is the same, I know a lot of couples love to talk about their own process of falling in love and keeping the love alive even it looks like the magic of having fun while keeping the kitchen clean and the bills paid. Trust me, they’ll be honored you asked about their story.

2. Take it Back Now | Where you First Met

You might not be able go back to exact spot - maybe you’ve moved, the place no longer exists or isn’t publicly accessible - but regardless of this the concept is the same. You met at a concert? Find that band and see them again, or find a new band at the same venue and rock out to them. Whether it’s a restaurant, park, etc. Either that, or if where you met is kind of boring and impossible to recreate (class, work…. you get the picture) go back and enjoy a redo of your first date.

3. Honeymoon Cuisine

My hubby and I are total foodies, so maybe this one won't resonate with you, but I'm a firm believer that in the same way smells, sounds, music, etc. trigger memories so do tastes. When we were traveling in Europe we walked everywhere we possibly could for two reasons: 1. you get to experience the real culture complete with side streets and small farmer's markets & 2. from all of the exercise you tend to be even hungrier - which by default means eating more food. Yes please. A lot of my favorite memories somehow involve food, and some of those items now trigger fond memories while home several years later. For instance, gruyere cheese at BJs reminds me of our tour of gruyere Switzerland, limoncello reminds me of bonding with Andrew at an Italian restaurant in Rome over our discovered mutual disdain for the icky yellow drink and the practice of being gracious by eating and drinking what's in front of you regardless of your taste buds protests (if you're Italian, please don't hate me), and the smell of roasting nuts on the London Bridge. To this day, when we walk anywhere and smell the alluring scent of roasting nuts we laugh and say to each other "Remember: they usually smell SO much better than they taste." 

My suggestion is to find a place that serves authentic cuisine from the place you will visit for your honeymoon. There's something so special about having those memories together and connecting them to a place close to home. When the wedding is over and you return from your honeymoon you may find yourselves sitting at a table at a local restaurant 5 years from now thinking back to great memories of new places explored together.

4. Adventure Day

I love love love these. Set aside an entire day. No errands, it’s against the rules. Start with a breakfast at a cute local spot to fuel your day and drive somewhere new. Find a new walking or hiking trail. Hold hands. Make up hand motions in the car to your favorite songs. Sing those tunes loud and proud, roll down all of the windows, and absolutely no talking about wedding planning. I mean it. Try talking about traditions you want to start when you’re married the dogs you want to adopt (am I just projecting here?) the places you want to book plane tickets to. Take lots of goofy selfies and end the day with with some stargazing and a bottle of wine. I promise you won’t regret a single moment of a day free of to-do lists.

5. Embrace the Cliche | Dinner & A Movie

You know how something becomes classic? It stands the test of time. Much like this date night tradition: it’s popular because it’s a great go to in a pinch. You can put your own spin on it. Dinner can be at your favorite restaurant, followed by a Netflix movie at home. Or flip it, dinner at home with a night out on the town for a movie. Or both out or both in. You get the idea - You make the rules! Either way, believe it or not dinner and a movie will become increasingly hard to find time for. Sometimes the classics deserve some serious recognition.