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How to Pull Off a Last-Minute Valentine's Day

PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- It's the day before Valentines Day, but it's not too late to admit your decision to do nothing for it may have been one big mistake.

Last-minute Valentine's Day plans happen. It's happened twice in the seven years since I met my wife. The first time was on our first Valentines Day, when we'd gone out on our first date just a weekend before and it occurred to me she just might have thoughts about the holiday ahead. The question would you like to be wooed? was uttered and the clock began ticking. The second time was last year, when my wife and I had just finished moving into our new house and realized Valentines Day was just a few days away. Admittedly, that second one was just poor planning on my part.

In neither case was there a need to freak out or panic. Maybe it was resourcefulness on both our parts, or maybe it was just a case of diminished expectations due to the circumstances, but the modern world is uniquely suited to helping out poor, scatterbrained souls such as myself. Both e-commerce and increasingly efficient bricks-and-mortar options are making it somewhat less impossible to make Valentine's Day plans with minimal notice.

It's just a matter of knowing what your options are. If you waited this long with the hope Amazon Prime would bail you out, forget it. If you made it this far and think there's a table left in town that doesn't sit beneath a fluorescent logo or feature a loyalty card promising a free sundae after 12 trips, you may be in luck.

This is where OpenTable and services of its ilk become your greatest ally. They'll show you not only who still has seats, but what times they still have available and roughly how much the whole thing is going to cost you. Granted, most restaurants draw up special prix-fixe menus for the occasion that eliminate favorites and jack up the price, but every so often you find an exception. It'll be a tough draw this close to the date, but sitting down to eat sometime between 6 and 8 p.m. isn't out of the question. Also, keep in mind that Valentines Day is not only weekend-adjacent this year, but adjacent to a long Presidents Day weekend for many folks. If you can buy into the whole Valentines Day Weekend approach, you may be able to get by with Saturday or even Sunday night dinner reservations.

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