It's that time of year which some take seriously and others cringe at -- Valentine's Day -- and if the holiday fills you with anxiety, unsure of what to get your partner and panicked at the idea of where to take them on a date, New York City based event planner Sarah Pease has a few suggestions.
"When I'm asked, 'Think outside the box of chocolates,' I think of tango dancing or salsa dancing," said Pease, CEO of Brilliant Event Planning, in a telephone interview with CBS News. "Go get your fortune told. When do you ever get your fortune told?"
Pease's clients range from couples just starting out to ones she has known for a long time, and even helped to plan their weddings.
"They see me as their private cupid concierge," said Pease. "It's like they check in at the doctor's."
Over the years, Pease has gotten all sorts of different requests.
"I've done trapeze type of stuff. There's been renting a private trolley in San Francisco and having dinner for two on that. I'm working on something in Turks and Caicos right now which is going to be a beach-front Valentine's," she said.
Eighty-five percent of couples and 45 percent of singles are expecting to mark the day, which means big bucks for American businesses. Spending in the United States is expected to reach $37 billion this Valentine's Day, according to a recent American Express Spending & Saving Tracker survey on the holiday.
However, Pease said "I don't believe you have to spend a lot of money in order to do something romantic and fun and memorable" and warned of the perils of going "too big" on a gift if you haven't been dating very long.
"I'm a big fan of experiences as gifts. So if she's really into cars, you can rent a Lamborghini or if she wants to have princess for a day, these are things that we can make happen, and that kind of experience is going to be much more important and much more memorable to her," she said.
"You're not gifting her with a sapphire pendant necklace where people are like 'Woah, what's up with that.' It's an experience you share together so it's not as ostentatious and awkward."
For example, Pease suggests being a tourist for a day, even in the city you live in.
"Take the double-decker bus tour, go to Times Square and see a show, go to Alcatraz if you're in San Francisco, go see the Hollywood Walk [of Fame]," said Pease.
You don't even have to leave your home to plan the perfect Valentine's Day date.
"Say she's always dreamed of going to Paris: maybe instead of whisking her off on the Lear jet to Paris for the weekend, when she comes home from work on that Friday exhausted from a long week, you've actually transformed your apartment into Paris, hung some little lights, pulled out a couple of baguettes, some beautiful cheeses and some Bordeaux wine and ta-da, there you are in France," said Pease.
according to the AmEx survey, for some couples the holiday will be extra special; of the 13
million who expect to be engaged by year end, 6 million will receive or plan
their proposal on Valentine's Day, which you can even decide
at the last minute. Just ask Pease.
"We just got a new booking for Valentine's Day and I'm like, 'Alright buddy, nothing like leaving it for the last second.'"