My friend Karri planned an epic date for her boyfriend and I asked her if she would share the details with all you for inspiration. We hope it will get your creative juices flowing and inspire you to plan your next surprise date. I’m so happy that her boyfriend decided to chime in and share how this awesome experience made him feel. Enjoy!
By Karri G. and Jon B.
When my friend, Dana, asked me to share about the last epic date I planned, I paused because one of the reasons it was so epic was due to its unusual circumstances. I had only just met Jon, my now boyfriend, on eHarmony.com. We “met” on a Sunday and immediately liked one another, so planned to meet in person the following weekend. He was coming from his city (Denver) to visit me in my city (Phoenix), so we thought it best that I plan the date. In the following days, we spoke for hours and hours on the phone. We had so much commonality (or “mutuality” as Jon likes to call it) in our values, our family history, our dating history, but most importantly, in our communication styles. We were old enough to quickly eliminate that which we knew were deal breakers (or heart breakers), so we were very authentic and transparent in our communication with one another. This is important to note because this is how we decided to make some time during our date to discuss— honestly—our chemistry, and determine if we would move forward to a second date.
So let me start there: at the end of our first date. I had created a Schedule of Events of sorts to share with Jon the evening before our date so he would have a sense of who I am and what he (we) would be doing. I called this date planning “The Firestarter Package.” For some reason (seriously, I gave it absolutely no forethought, it just fell out of my mouth), I asked Jonathan, “Since you are coming to my town to visit me, pick your date: air, fire, or water.” He picked fire. Immediately, I responded with, “Of course…that is the hardest one!” But I was not about to back down from this creative challenge, since I like to think myself a pretty cool cat who is able to sniff out great events and venues. So these few moments on our Schedule of Events were to determine, “air or water.” Do we add air and create greater flame, or do we add water and douse the flame? (The irony in this, I did not realize until I was nearly done planning…I am a Leo, a fire sign, and Jon is a Gemini, an air sign!)
I definitely knew that Karri and I had verbal chemistry. Our communication styles were instantly evident. I had never known anyone who invested so much creativity and thought into a first date. I was very eager to meet her in person so I could validate what I was already thinking and feeling.
I am attaching a picture of this Schedule of Events so you can see what I planned for this date. I will be completely transparent in telling you that I spent a lot more money than I normally would on a first date so that we could experience something that would fit into his fire theme: glassblowing. But I also really liked this guy and knew it would be money well spent. And a pleasant synchronicity was that Jonathan had always wanted to try glassblowing! I will also tell you that I stole this glassblowing idea from my friend, the fabulous Dana Lam, at SurpriseDateChallenge.com.
Now that I had this fire theme, choosing a place for lunch or dinner was easy peasy. I simply Googled my city, restaurant, and some fire-like words like ash, cinder, flame…
you get the picture. The couple of activities in between were the result of Google searches, a little bit of footwork, and some luck!
We have a Fire Museum here in Phoenix, Arizona. Boom. Done. And I thought a fire breathing performer would be hugely impressive to my new date, so I Googled again to find GigSalad.com. Wow, I had no idea. I mean, you people with kids have probably used this site before to plan entertaining parties for the little ones, but I had no idea that entertainment could so easily be found. The glitch here was that it was EXPENSIVE. In my head, I was thinking someone could come to the house for an hour, singing telegram style…maybe $100 tops but…whoa…the regulations that come with the fire were too much. I did reach out and inquire though and connected with the most enthusiastic little spark of a fire breather who told me I could see the show for a
$10 entry fee if I attended an event across town. Sold! Side note? The event was packed, not our style, and my date was not even close to being impressed!
The last experience (by the way, this is also stolen from the lovely Dana Lam: plan a doing date) was simple luck. I came across the fireflies’ exhibit by chance and threw it into the Schedule of Events just because I could not pass it up! I mean, it jumped off the page at me! And it gave my date options from which to choose.
And lastly, an actual fire was a no-brainer, of course. And it was a lovely little pause in the date to ask, “Air or water?” Although in our case? Approximately 45 minutes into our date as we watched our Instructor fire glass, I said, “Air.” Even better? My sweet date exclaimed, “Air,” about 35 minutes sooner than that!
Here are some of the reasons this was not only fun for my date (now my boyfriend) to experience but for me to plan!
1) I had a theme. Fire. I have since planned many more dates, and when a theme is present, it makes the planning so much more fun. The theme can be anything. Seriously. Anything. From a color, to a poem, to an experience, to a type of food, to the name of a book. You name it, and you can make a date out of it! (If you want the help, I’ll take the challenge! Call me, and I can help you create an amazing theme for your date!)
2) Time. I did invest time in creating this date. In fact, between Googling, and creating the Schedule, and creating the perfect little tokens, I probably spent nearly four hours planning the date. But you know, I am CERTAIN that my date knew, and I am also certain that he felt honored and special. I also know he had never had a date like this before in his life.
3) I engaged my date not for the what to do but for the why we should do it. What was the intention or the resulting feelings we wanted to create? Yes, this is where you would need to be very open and very vulnerable. And you know what happens when you are vulnerable? It’s met with vulnerability. It’s lovely.
4) I have the heart of a hippie so I thought it would add just a bit more fun and mystery to include things that reflected that woo woo part of me, like our horoscopes on that special day, and a little numerology for our day together. I know we felt like the Universe was talking right to us!
5) I included a small gift/memento in keeping with the theme that would remind Jonathan of our date long after the date was over. In this case, I included stones that resulted from ash, or stones that represented earth elements of fire. I went to Storm Wisdom here in Phoenix and shared my unusual date with the woman there and she was more than happy to point me in the right direction. In my case, the stones came with cards that described them but when I went online there was just a little more juicy content so I decided to make my own (Materials: paper, printer, scissor!).
6) It was these last couple of details that were like adding a bow to the package. And in fact that is what I did. I packaged this date, and gave it a name: The Firestarter Package. Even naming it was a fun little exercise for me!
7) The last element that was (is) created without you even knowing it is an..ti…ci…pation. It makes the date and the planning of the date so much more intriguing. And so much more fun. I highly recommend dropping hints, not necessarily about the date itself but about how excited you became in planning it! Share your enthusiasm for your date!
This is why the first date was so special to me:
- Karri creatively and playfully came up with a theme for the date. She took the time to ask just a few questions, while not giving away all of the details. I was intrigued, to say the least.
- She hit the nail on the head — I did, and continue to feel honored and special in her life, because she invests time in nurturing quality time for us together.
- One of the attractive aspects to Karri’s personality, which I recognized when we spoke on the phone for the first time, was her vulnerability. She does not shy away from saying and doing things that make her vulnerable. That authenticity is very disarming to me, and allowed me to match that authenticity with my own. A great reflection in our communication, which continues to this day.
- Finally, I have to admit, that Karri’s efforts were new to me (in a GREAT way). From her communication style, vulnerability, creativeness, playfulness, and authenticity, I was thoroughly intrigued and anticipating the experience — the experience of the special first date, of course, but also the experience of being the focus of so much thought and creative planning. I DO feel honored! (and very grateful and appreciative)