Imagine this. You’re swept away on a first date to a planetarium for a romantic evening under the stars. While you gaze up at the heavens, sparks begin to fly between the two of you. Or this: You’re strolling with your serious boyfriend through London’s Hyde Park when you encounter a choir singing “your song.” Your guy goes down on one knee and proposes.
Romantic gestures like these become much more than gestures. If they’re done right, they form the beginning of your “couple story,” something you’ll remember forever and share with family and friends in years to come.
OK, that’s a lot of pressure. So how do you get it right? There’s Google of course, there are dozens of articles with suggestions, and your friends might also have some ideas. But what if your sweetheart has already seen those ideas? What if your grand gesture comes off as silly or, worse yet, meh?
Enter the “romance whisperers,” experts who specialize in planning extraordinary dates, events and proposals to impress that special someone and ensure everything goes smoothly.
Romance planners have carved out a unique niche in the event-planning industry. Instead of focusing only on weddings, they arrange special occasions — dates, anniversaries and “just because” events that can strengthen a relationship before and after the Big Day.
ADDING ROMANTIC FAIRY DUST
Anything can become a romantic event, says Tiffany Wright of The One Romance, a high-end planning service in London that boasts a number of celebrity clients. “We are committed to bringing romance to any and every part of our clients’ lives,” she says. “If they want something special arranged, we’ll add the romantic fairy dust to it!”
This could be filling a room with thousands upon thousands of scented rose petals or having a choir sing the couple’s favorite song, Wright said. “We will go above and beyond whatever we need to do to make sure everything we arrange is like something out of a romantic Hollywood movie,” she said.
1ST “I LOVE YOU”
One turning point in a romantic relationship is the first time “I love you” is expressed. To make that event unique for one couple, The One Romance arranged a walk in a London park during which complete strangers handed the client’s girlfriend objets d’amour, including messages in a bottle and an iPod playing a special song.
After this, when they neared a bridge at the edge of the park, eight heart-shaped umbrellas opened, spelling “I love you.” Wright, who has worked on hundreds of events, says this was one of her favorites. Her client’s girlfriend “started crying the second the umbrellas opened. It was one of the most romantic things I’ve ever seen.”
Cristina Abboud Hicks, 34, and her husband, Ben Hicks, 37, of Boca Raton, Fla., were married four years ago and have a 2-year-old son. They’re still very much in love, but Cristina says it’s been hard to find time for each other. Last winter, at a local charity auction, she won a romantic picnic offered by Society Romance, an event planner based in South Florida.
Cristina and Ben say they were floored by the amount of detail and effort invested in their date, which took place in one of their favorite parks. The decorations included an illuminated heart and a display shaped as the No. 5, for their upcoming fifth anniversary. “There were all sorts of nice sandwiches and tarts, macarons, Italian pastries and drinks in a basket,” says Cristina. Sharing a beautiful day and the natural setting “with my best friend, my husband … made it really special.”
Ben agreed the picnic was a wonderful surprise. “Usually, my wife is the one who wants” to receive romantic gestures, he says. “So it was really cool that she did that” for him.
Costs of romance concierge services vary widely by event and provider, ranging from a few hundred dollars to many thousands. For those on a budget, Heather Vaughn, owner of The Yes Girls, offers the following tips:
Make a special invitation for your date night. For example, if you’re planning a wine tasting, leave the invitation in the form of “a monogrammed wine glass with a note.”
Personalize your event. Incorporate one of your partner’s hobbies or something you’ve enjoyed together. “Being thoughtful doesn’t mean having to be over the top.”
Include keepsakes. You “can never go wrong with memorabilia” — things that hold special memories for you both.