Spring Festival isn't putting as a much of a crimp in many couples' styles this year, but some early departures may still keep lovebirds apart on Valentine's Day. And with a designated "Lovers' Day" already on the calendar in summer, Valentine's Day is a bit of a third wheel on the Chinese calendar. We spoke to Alex Edmunds, co-founder of dating website Coucou8, about celebrating Valentine's Day with Chinese characteristics.

"Compared to the traditional day for lovers – Qixi Valentine’s Day is a Western import. Valentine’s Day sheds the Chinese imagery of a cowherd and weaver girl (star-crossed lovers), and goes more upscale. It’s the perfect opportunity for a person to treat their partner to a romantic night out," Edmunds said.

Even though it's a working weekend, some people will start returning home on that Saturday. What about couples who will be apart for the holiday?

"I feel a bit bad for those couples with one or both Chinese partners who aren’t quite at the point where they’re ready to spend CNY with the family and come to terms with the assumptions that carries … it’s a bit of an odd situation … But, gladly, in the modern technological world we live in, there are ways to give face time (or FaceTime, or Skype)  on the day and show care by sending flowers or chocolates to the home – these services can be found with a quick Baidu on the internet. Next time you’re reunited, it’ll be a smooth pick up without cold shoulders for foregoing meeting the relatives," he said.

For people on smaller budgets, spending strategically is the key for Valentine's Day success, Edmunds said.

"Doing a night on the town in Beijing for Valentine’s is not a particularly cost efficient endeavor, but if strategically planned it can pay dividends. For Valentine’s Day, the market rate for roses is RMB 15-20, so getting a single red rose makes sense, but it can ratchet up quickly if you pursue of bouquet. Instead of a bouquet, consider putting that money toward a more memorable Western meal. If you can score a reservation at Temple Restaurant Beijing or Capital M, you’re made. Also, consider some unique thoughtful experiences to make the night aside from dinner. Taking her ice skating on Houhai lake afterwards is a romantic gesture and you can pull that off for less than RMB 100."

What if that you haven't found that special someone yet? Is Valentine's Day a good time to meet someone?

"If you are like the other 50 percent of Beijing that is youthful, hard-working, and therefore, single, don’t spend the evening at home watching The Notebook and gorging on chocolate ice cream. There are a ton of places that evening that are great to go out and meet like-minded individuals. If the bar scene at Sanlitun or CBD isn’t your thing, consider one of the bespoke events going on that evening," Edmunds said.

One place where you might find that special someone this Valentine's Day is at Coucou8's Masquerade Ball & Open Bar at Crowne Plaza Beijing Sun Palace.

Photo: The Single Diaries

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