Valentine's Day

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Valentine’s night out planning pointers

Many couples go out for a night on the town in celebration of Valentine's Day. Romance typically prevails on such nights, but there's more to planning Valentine's Day dates than just roses and chocolate. The following are a few tips to make sure this year's Valentine's Day date night goes off without a hitch.

• Make a dinner reservation. Restaurants fill up on Valentine's Day, so make a reservation no matter how frequently you may patronize the place you want to go to. Nothing derails a dinner date more quickly than being told there are no tables available.

• Cancel the reservation if you must. If plans change and you cannot make it, be respectful of the restaurant and call to cancel your reservation. No-shows cost restaurants substantial amounts of money, especially on popular dining out nights like Valentine's Day.

• Arrange for transportation. If you plan to open a bottle of wine or make a champagne toast while out on the town, arrange for a car service to pick you up after dinner or use public transportation. Drinking and driving is dangerous, and local law enforcement may even have checkpoints set up to protect residents from drivers who might have celebrated a bit too much.

• Bring cash. Few restaurants remain cash-only, but bring cash with you anyway just in case your card won't swipe correctly. You don't want to embarrass your date by leaving the restaurant to go get some cash, so prepare for this in advance.

• Review the menu. If you or your date has special dietary needs, peruse a restaurant's menu before making a reservation so you know there's something for both of you. If Valentine's Day is a first date, ask your date in advance if he or she has any food allergies or dietary restrictions.