You’re not the first one who can’t wait for the wedding in order to wash your hands of wedding planning.
And though movies can cast an image of dreamy engagements, it’s not necessarily a warning sign when there’s an uptick in conflict between the two of you. (And sometimes, that can even make you wonder if you’re making the right decision. Read “When To Call It Off Before the Big Day.”) When my husband and I were engaged, our honeymoon phase ended about three months before the actual honeymoon.
That is to say, engagement is admittedly not all cake-tasting and rose petals. Grab eight fun date-night ideas to stockpile great memories and haul away stress.
Fun Date-Night Ideas: Start Here
1. DIY art night.
Purchase inexpensive canvases, brushes, acrylic paints, or other art supplies for your own painting night. Check Pinterest for simple project ideas that, yes, even your accountant fiancé can accomplish with some level of satisfaction.
Bonus: Mix mocktails to create your own painting-with-a-twist.
2. Cook up something new.
Maybe you’ve always wanted to try making your own veggie sushi, fondue, or pierogis after that foray into Ancestry.com. Maybe you’re just noodling on that recipe from the Food Network. Either way, from the shopping to the taste-testing, make an evening out of creativity that stimulates all five senses.
Bonus: As a thank-you, make dinner for a couple who’s invested in one or both of you.
3. Read a book out loud, punctuated by a slow dance.
Casual, no-phones cuddle time? Yes, please.
Whip up some of your favorite snacks, grab your favorite drinks, and take turns reading from a book you’re both reasonably excited about.
Then, pull your fiancé in for a slow dance. (Your phone = instant DJ.) Light a candle for extra atmosphere.
Bonus: The listener could treat the reader to a foot rub.
4. Embark on a photo scavenger hunt.
Google “couples scavenger hunt,” and take photos where your chosen list suggests.
Or try ideas like these:
- The place we met.
- A house that looks fun to live in.
- The most romantic spot we drive by every day.
- Kissing at some location we’ve never kissed before.
- Our favorite date-night restaurant.
- Each of us eating our favorite flavor of ice cream.
- Sharing a food.
- Each of us doing something the other thinks we’re great at.
- Climbing a tree.
- Playing on a playground.
- A spot with a great memory.
- A place or activity that expresses each of us.
Bonus: Share a snack at the end and flip through your photos.
5. Shall we dance?
Especially if you’ve got the coordination of a herd of cats, not every couple will find dance lessons … relaxing. But for some of you, it’s nice to step away from picking invitations, flower arrangements, and venues—or your latest argument—to laugh, work up a sweat, and step on each other’s toes.
Not sure if dancing will be your jam? Find a low-commitment option for beginners and maybe even a kind of dancing you can show off with zero pressure at the reception.
Bonus: Create a playlist for you to practice on your own.
6. Catch a falling star.
Using an app like MeteorActive or a website like TimeandDate.com, find out when you might glimpse the next meteor shower. Pack blankets and carafes of your favorite hot drinks to set the stage for a little cuddling and stargazing.
7. Sink into a forest bath with a picnic on the side.
Though omitted from your typical list of fun date-night ideas, forest bathing, or in the original Japanese, shinrin-yoku, means “absorbing the forest atmosphere.” (So there’s no actual bathing, m’kay?).
Kaiser Permanente reports, “Aside from city parks, the more in-depth practice of forest bathing has been found to lower blood pressure, heart rate, and levels of harmful hormones — like cortisol, which your body produces when it’s stressed. This can help put you in a more calm and relaxed state.”
They continue, “In addition, studies have found that simply spending 10 to 20 minutes a day outdoors can lead to increased well-being and happiness — and decreased amounts of stress.”
So pack a simple picnic and find a place to surround yourself in a place green and quiet. And together, inhale.
Bonus: Gather a cluster of flowers together as you walk.
8. Let the sparks fly at the fire pit.
Roast marshmallows, cook hot dogs or hobo meals, and watch the stars.
Bonus: Before the sun sets, toss a football or play catch for awhile. Remember what it’s like to be playful together.
Engagement doesn’t have to equal migraines and stress sweat. With a little creativity and a few fun date-night ideas in your back pocket, it may be easier than you thought to remember all over again why you’re better together.
Copyright © 2023 Janel Breitenstein. All rights reserved.
Janel Breitenstein is an author, freelance writer, speaker, and frequent contributor for FamilyLife, including Passport2Identity®, Art of Parenting®, and regular articles. After five and a half years in East Africa, her family of six returned to Colorado, where they continue to work on behalf of the poor with Engineering Ministries International. Her book, Permanent Markers: Spiritual Life Skills to Write on Your Kids’ Hearts (Harvest House), empowers parents to creatively engage kids in vibrant spirituality. You can find her—“The Awkward Mom”—having uncomfortable, important conversations at JanelBreitenstein.com, and on Instagram @janelbreit.