DIY Date Nights (that won’t kill the budget)

Are you and your partner in the middle of saving for your wedding? Chances are you’ve decided to sacrifice your nights out to save a few bucks which has caused you both to put date night (and maybe even romance) on the back burner. WHOOPS. What if we told you that there was a way you can still have some incredible dates, while saving for your wedding (and honeymoon!)? 

Although we are the first to admit that majority of the UY team are “homebodies” who find joy in a good movie, a good home cooked meal and an early bedtime we are also in the industry of LOVE, so we still find a way to add romance and excitement into the ordinary to celebrate our partners. We just do it without having to drop big bucks.

Obviously with the increased time at home over the past few years a lot of couples have gotten crafty with creative date ideas at home. We definitely are not taking full credit for any of these date ideas but we’d like to think we helped elevate the plans to take your date night to the next level (kind of like what we do with your wedding day!).

  1. Movie Night With A Twist

Do you and your partner disagree on movie genres? We’ve got the solution for you!

Have you and your partner select three movies to bring to the table. One movie is YOUR favourite movie, the second is a movie that you and your partner have already watched and enjoyed, and the third is a movie that you’ve never seen but it intrigues you. Once each partner has selected their three movies, each partner has to express why their selections are the clear winners.

OOPS did a huge fight just ensue? Good thing you can automatically narrow it down to the two movies you never had the chance to watch together.  From those two movies, narrow down which one to watch tonight, and which one to watch for the next date night. Remember, marriage isn’t about choosing what suits the individual best, nor is it about reminiscing on “the good ‘ol days”; it’s all about exploring and experiencing something new together. 

  1. “YES, let’s do that - and then we’ll…”

For those of you who also suffered in improv classes, you’ll know this activity well. If you’re finding yourself and your partner constantly saying “I don’t know, what do you want to do?”, switch the dialogue.  The first thing a partner suggests, don’t let it get shut down - instead, build off of that idea to create the best activity that suits the two of you! 

If you ask your partner what they want to do and they respond with “I don’t know, want to go for a walk?” you then would respond “yes, let’s go on a walk, and we’ll go down to that creek where the baby ducks always are”. Want to create a longer experience? Let your partner in on the game and force one another to only say “Yes, and” for the rest of the day to see what kind of fun you can get yourselves into! Before you know it, you’ll have seen the baby ducks, had a coffee from that new cafe,  and walked a new street - way more activities, and way cheaper than one dinner at the expensive micro bistro your mom's friend told you to try.

  1. Play pretend again!

Probably my favourite part of spending the day in a different town or city is imagining the day to day lives of their citizens and pretending to be a “local”.  I mean, I can’t be the only one who puts on a bit more effort into my outfit choices while traveling to NYC!   Of course, traveling to NYC does not fit in the pre-wedding budget, but traveling to your neighboring town just might! There was a date challenge in a book that encouraged couples to travel to a small town, and to then role play as locals. I hadn’t considered introducing my partner into my “dream sequence” until The Adventure Challenge encouraged me to, but now it’s all I want to do on my weekends off. 

So... you have to go and get some groceries on your only day off together, and you're bummed because that’s the only time you have together that week. Sounds like the perfect time to play pretend! Maybe you and your partner put on British accents as you go to another town’s market. You both keep up the act and imagine you’re lost somewhere in the English countryside, picking up bread for your “Great Aunt Gertrude” before you head back to your own town.  Maybe you and your partner role play as kindergarten kids in the park, skipping and embracing your inner child. You flirt like little kids, pulling pigtails and all, and you even swing on the swings for a few minutes, rather than sitting on your phones over coffee in a busy “adult” cafe. 

At some point as adults, we gave up on make-believe, but we never gave up on love; so let’s find a way to integrate them. By welcoming ourselves back into a dream world, we can find ways to invite our partners to explore and play and transform a boring trip to the grocery store into an amazing afternoon together.

  1. Create something new together…that isn’t going to be used at the wedding

In the thick of quarantine, I turned my stress and uncertainty into a lot of painting… a lot of painting. I switched from painting furniture to canvas as soon as I found out that there were some amazing paint tutorials on youtube. Whether it was the relief that the dresser would be one colour from here on out, or the excitement of seeing primary colours in paint bottles, I was surprised that  my partner quickly became interested; creating is a natural act all humans know.

Over the following weeks we’d swap between painting, re-learning an instrument, sketching, knitting, baking and creating together. Granted, apart from the baking, it was all garbage and we had no intention of ever showing anyone our work, but taking a few quiet hours together a week helped us connect more, and gain a greater appreciation in each other's talents (or at least, laugh together at the lack thereof).  Paint, canvas, new guitar strings, needles and yarn not in the budget? Totally fair. 

Try cooking up something new for dinner this weekend together, not only will you create another opportunity to save for your wedding, you’ll also be creating some amazing core memories. We’re huge advocates of trying something new with your partner, and living unapologetically messy; so DIY dates are sort of our thing, but we know it isn’t for everyone. Sometimes creating something without direction can cause some uncertain feelings, which is why we’re super stoked to offer you an opportunity to create with confidence and clarity at the end of the month. If you’re interested in creating a floral arrangement with the help of Mary from Springhill Flowers, you’ll want to visit our workshop page ASAP to register.

At the end of the day, there are countless ways to create cheap, or totally free date nights for you and your partner as you save for your wedding day. Ultimately it comes down to one thing: making time for one another. You don’t need to spend ALL of your time together doing ALL of the things, but just make sure that the time you DO spend time together, is time well spent well. 

If you’re working hard to spend time together, as well as find time for your wedding plans I encourage you to join us for The Old East Wedding Market where your $15 gives you full weekend access! Don’t just plan your wedding, you need to also plan your marriage, which is why we’re dedicating the Friday of the market to the lovers. Join us for the ultimate date night with music trivia, lawn games, free apps and beer tasting and over 25+ wedding vendors to chat with.  We may be biased… but that sounds like some time well spent.

What’s your favourite of our date night suggestions? Test one out and let us know in the comments below how it went!

~Jaqueline

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