Sitting shoulder-to-shoulder and paying through the roof for the banquet you don’t need is the old way to do February 14. Ramp up the romance with ideas that cause sparks, not stress…

Many people write off Valentine’s Day as a ‘Hallmark holiday’. An event we quite literally buy into for fear of missing out, or worry that the ones we love won’t feel the love.

On a day like February 14, the old saying, ‘it’s the thought that counts’, should ring more true than ever – because being creative can ensure the romance of the day, however forced it might seem, isn’t lost on stressful bookings and inflated bills, but celebrated by just the two of you – as it should be.

No matter where you live, here are a few top suggestions for romantic rendezvous that put the love back into this ‘Hallmark holiday’…

Go beachside

It’s still warm outside, especially in places like the Northern Territory and Queensland. Ask your love to join you for a swim at dusk, followed by some takeaway fish and chips from the local – and an iced tea with two straws.

Grab a picnic blanket and head to your spot

It may be a little unorthodox to say, but Valentine’s Day is quite possibly the worst day to choose to dine out. The restaurants are packed, they need their tables back by 8pm – and you’ve got no choice but to devour the special, ‘Valentine’s Day menu’. Ugh. What you should be doing, is saving your pennies for a day they’ll go further (everyone knows inflation is as akin to Valentine’s Day as it is to any place you utter the word, ‘wedding’), and heading to a quiet, romantic spot that’s yours. Bring a bottle of wine, two glasses and some antipasto. Romance guaranteed.

Head to the outdoor cinema

One of the few options that don’t book out or raise their prices just because of the date – an outdoor cinema experience, cuddled up with your love could be one of the more purely romantic options presented to you. The best part? You can bring in your own food and drink, so roll up your sleeves and create something together before making roads to the big screen, or pick up a pizza en route if that’s more your speed. Most Moonlight Cinemas, which are located in capital cities around Australia, will have Hugh Jackman’s The Greatest Showman (Sydney and Melbourne are unfortunately already sold out). And if you’re not in a capital city, fear not, outdoor cinemas are particularly ‘in Vogue’ right now – meaning it’s not hard to find one close to you.

Let dinner come to you

If you’re not well acquainted with food delivery apps like Deliveroo and UberEATS, you may well choose 14 February to be the day you dabble for the first time – and your bank account will thank you for it. Create an atmosphere with a few floor cushions, some candlelight and maybe a massage after dessert…

Try: Thai Lemongrass Massage Oil from The Body Shop, $28,