Tired of the same old, boring gifts for Valentine’s Day? Or maybe you’re fed up with all the commercialism associated with buying useless stuff for this holiday devoted to love. Surely there are better ways to show your affection. Luckily, there are! We’re talking about taking a page from the Victorian era for inspiration and meaningful traditions this February 14th.
If you want to kick empty, fake gestures to the curb on this special day, we’re here to help. Get out of the holiday rut with these uncommon traditions from the Victorian era you can try out on your sweetie this Valentine’s Day.
1. Sweets for Your Sweet: Gifts of Rare Decadence
What you and I might find commonplace today was actually an extreme indulgence in the Victorian era. Take chocolates, for example. In the 19th century, these sweet morsels were mostly reserved for the upper class in society, because they were so expensive. As such, they were considered a rare delicacy, and giving someone chocolates was a gesture of extravagance and serious affection. This year, don’t grab a cheap box of candy at a dollar store. Instead, select exotic, finely crafted Valentine’s Day chocolates that make a powerful, loving statement to your sweetheart.
2. Say “I Love You” the Old School Way
Toss the text messages and ditch the email this Valentine’s Day. Sure, technology provides an ingenious way to communicate your love – but it’s so overdone – it doesn’t pack a meaningful punch the way other forms of conveyance have. Instead of hollow digital sentiments, try hand-crafting your own Valentine’s cards and messages this year. Haul out your kid’s construction paper and colored markers and go to town.
Your beloved is bound to appreciate the thoughtfulness and creativity you invested in creating a proper, traditional Victorian love note. After all, if it was good enough for Queen Victoria (who wrote and sent Valentine’s Day cards fragranced with her favorite perfume), it’s certainly good enough for these modern times!
3. A-Tisket, A-Tasket, Pack a Picnic Basket
It might sound corny today, but you’ve got to remember that in the 19th century, picnics were all the rage for couples in love. In fact, having a picnic in a Victorian garden was a status statement – it was a way for couples to express their affection for each other in public. You can follow suit by doing the same.
Make your picnic over-the-top. Create an elegant charcuterie board, and pack the finest quality bubbly champagne. Make your picnic a lavish Victorian affair with sumptuous edibles and sophisticated trimmings. Oh, and if your February weather doesn’t permit an outdoor feast, there’s nothing wrong with bringing your Valentine’s picnic indoors. You might even consider leveling up by having your picnic catered.
4. Attend a Fancy Dress Party
There’s nothing that screams Victorian flair quite like attending a high-society fancy ball. In the 19th century, Valentine’s Day entertainment was a means for people to mingle, chitchat, and dance. This might not sound like a big deal today, but in Victorian times, expressions of courtship were done with utmost prim and proper conduct. Therefore, luxurious ballrooms were the perfect setting to get flamboyant and more demonstrative with affections among guests.
If you can’t access a fancy dress party, throw one for yourself! Opt for a Victorian theme, and ask your party guests to wear their most dazzling attire. Your DIY Valentine’s Day ball is sure to be unforgettable.
5. Let Flowers Do the Talking
As mentioned earlier, social interactions between unwed couples were highly scrutinized in Victorian times, and people tended to be extremely reserved in showing amorous feelings. Consequently, flowers were often used as a way to convey messages between couples.
The art of communicating secret sentiments and messages of love actually started before the Victorian era when English aristocrat, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, standardized the meaning of different flowers. In more socially restrictive Victorian times, the language of flowers (also known as floriography) was hotter than Facebook as a way to say “I love you.”
You can pick up this tradition by learning different flower meanings and giving them to your sweetie. For instance, sending an iris to the object of your affection intimates that you shall always be faithful in the relationship.
Just be mindful of your selections because certain colors or flowers can cause your message to backfire. For example, a sprig of basil means “I hate you” in traditional Victorian flower language, so watch out!
6. Embrace the Elegance of Handwritten Poetry
In the Victorian era, poetry was not just an art form; it was a heartfelt medium for expressing emotions and conveying deep affection. This Valentine’s Day, why not pen a few lines of romantic verse for your beloved? You don’t have to be a Shakespeare or a Browning; what matters is that your words come from the heart. Handwrite your poem on parchment paper or inside the Valentine’s card you crafted. It’s a profoundly personal and intimate gesture that’s bound to touch your sweetheart’s heart deeply, making them feel cherished and adored.
7. Create a Victorian-Inspired Photo Album
In an age where photos are snapped and forgotten on digital devices, creating a physical photo album can be a profoundly nostalgic and romantic gesture. Take inspiration from the Victorians, who cherished portrait photography as a means of capturing and immortalizing their loved ones. Select your most meaningful photographs, perhaps edit them with a sepia or black-and-white filter for that vintage feel, and arrange them in a beautiful album. Accompany each photo with a small note or a quote that encapsulates the memory or your feelings at that moment. This Valentine’s Day, give your partner a timeless gift that encapsulates the essence of your shared moments and the depth of your affection.
8. The Last Word About Having a Victorian Valentine’s Day
We hope these ideas about celebrating Valentine’s Day in Victorian style inspire you to try something different with your partner this February 14th. Keep in mind that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to expressing your love on Valentine’s Day. Just be yourself and show you care in your own unique way. You simply can’t go wrong when your heart is true. Happy Valentine’s Day!