Keeping the magic alive after the engagement - Unique date ideas for the run up to the wedding

Updated: Jul 3, 2020

When we start wedding planning we can often forget to make time for each other. Living for such a big moment in the future can soon consume everything else. That being said... it's so important to make time for activities and things you enjoy.

I’ve been with Jamie for 9 years, and although we love a food and cinema date... we love doing something a little different, too! After seeing a post on Insta about Alphabet dating I knew I wanted to get involved. I've always made time for date nights but realised that we'd fallen into the trap of watching something together on telly and occasionally getting a takeaway, and that was the extent of the romance.

For those who haven't heard of Alphabet Dating, you essentially work from a-z, and each date has something or some things that begin with that letter. This will be a working blog post where I'll share our dates as and when they happen and how we found them. As I update this little blurb... I have to say that I'm so glad we've done this, and can honestly see us doing it for years to come.

A - we went to the ARCADE (how bloody random!) I never justify spending money on silly stuff like this but was so surprised how many games we got to play on for a tenner (I’ll be honest it turned into twenty quid #sorrynotsorry). I got addicted to getting lots of tickets and we broke the machine about 500 times f m l. But since, we've actually been back before heading to the cinema.

B - Band // Bar Crawl - This is definitely the most pedestrian date on the list, but we picked this because we realised we hadn’t been to a gig together in years and years! And Jamie is not a big drinker, so we rarely go out for a boogie. We literally went to the nearest pubs after the gig rather than ones we knew, then ended up in the dodgiest pub ever and got sozzled listening to proper old school music. It was wicked!

C - Christmas Markets // Christmas films // Chippy tea 🙌🏼

Whenever we can, we try to do more than one letter at once. That way it makes the date extra random and that bit more fun. For C date... that also meant we could justify going to George's fish and chips in Nottingham which is our favourite restaurant (hehe).

We watched love actually when we got back with the cats, which I suppose is an extra C. They were being extra cute and cuddly because it was so cold so we were all snuggled up. One of my fave alphabet dates to date!

D - Double Dinner Date 🍽🥂 We made dinner, our friends brought pudding (Double chocolate homemade brownies with Cadbury Daim Bar... dribble) and we played board games till stupid o clock and belly laughed a lot. I am a huge lover of eating out but also love hosting! Especially if the friends over love games as much as we do. (We have a cupboard full of board games... it’s an obsession 👀)

E - Escape Room 🙌🏼 Definitely the best on the list! We were in a team of 4 with my bestie who was down from Yorkshire. We didn’t get out and I was so annoyed (lol). We’ve since done a few more and it is definitely turning into a thing! I‘ve done both the ones at Cryptology, one at Pieminister and a couple at Escapologic. Would recommend all but Escapologic is definitely the best! Expect to pay upwards of 20 quid - which is a fair bit for an hour - but it is so worth it!

F - Frizbee // Forest - Jamie picked this one... can you tell?! 😂 We got a rubber frisbee off Amazon, drove to Sherwood Forest... and played Frisbee. It was actually a proper work out ha! And the amount of times I needed to climb fences and launch myself into brambles to try and recover the frisbee after I threw it the completely wrong direction (God help me with a Boomerang... ha!) is unreal. Thank god it was bright yellow! 😂

G - GHETTO GOLF - Birmingham. I saw an advert on Facebook and it’s was my turn to plan G date... it felt like a sign! Would massively recommend. The service is wicked - they literally walk around taking drinks orders as you play and couldn't be more attentive. The rooms are random AF... But the best has to be the homage to Alan Partridge (if you know you know!) We had such a lovely day and I'm desperate to return with the girls and smash the rosé spritzers!

H - Pokémon HUNT // HIGHFIELDS Park - We both love the app anyway (seriously it’s addictive) and went out with our battery pack in tow ready for a full afternoon of Pokemon-ing. ✨🌿

I - ISLE of WIGHT - Jamie's dad has recently relocated to the Isle of Wight and has been keen to show us around for ages! So we cheated and made the trip our I date. Parking was an effing nightmare in Plymouth so we will be getting the train next time around, but the ferry was easy to get and the island is beautiful. Perfect balance of people and quiet, lots of young families, dogs and countryside. It was a really relaxing few days away and we're both looking forward to heading there again soon.

J - JIGSAW RACE - Which I failed at massively. We picked up 2 500pc jigsaws from a charity shop and off we went... never again 😂 (I gave up after Jamie had almost finished and I hadn’t even done the border... it was soul destroying 🙈🙈) We then went for Japanese food at Kushi Ya for Jamie's birthday. It was really good! and very reasonable. We made a night of it and ended up in Brass Monkey trying lots of bourbon. A weird night but really fun actually and one we find ourselves talking about a lot! We do try to make the dates as random as possible as often the wild ideas are the most fun!

K - KOREAN food - this one happened by accident! We were meant to go to a fancy Korean place and by chance we were in town doing Christmas shopping and found #tasteofKorea by BHS. It was so delish and so cheap. Since this we’ve been on a street food hype! So much better value than a meal deal and so much tastier 🍽 Plus, you're helping small biz' and I'm all about that!

L - LAKES - Windermere - I've always wanted to go to the Lakes having grown up in the North and having it so close. We stayed at the Burnside Hotel and Spa - such a good find! They have a little pub, as well as all the facilities of a Spa and hotel. We treated ourselves to massages on the second day and it was so good. Feeling zen AF for the rest of the mini break. Our holiday consisted of lots of walking and pub hopping and I'd do it again in a heartbeat!

M - M A T L O C K - We got the train from Nottingham and headed to Matlock for the day. The weather was absolutely pants and we were bloody freeeeeezing! That being said, once the climb to the top happened I was so dead on my feet that the work out kept me warm ha. We had a pub lunch while it rained. Not to be a complete cheese ball but it was so romantic and I was just glad to have an excuse to have a time out. The best thing about these dates is the motivation to keep blocking out time for you and whoever you choose to do it with. Life gets so busy sometimes and it's so important to take 5.

N - NEWNESS / Nottingham - For N we wanted to explore our city and try new stuff we'd not tried before. We went to a new spot for lunch (the dribble worthy cheese palace that is Blend, Sneinton) and tried some new bars. Classic but so good.

O - Oriental food which conveniently co-incided with the worst hangover evvvvveeeeeeer. We've just discovered a new local Chinese and find ourselves forgetting to pick up dinner and just having to get a chinese. For O date it was a no brainer... But next time we would like to be more adventurous and head to somewhere starting with O... Money is on Oxford but watch this space! As I edit this to add more I’ve realised how much we talk about food 🐷 #f00dies4life 🤡

P - Picnic and pub crawl with pints! ha!

Jamie bought me this picnic basket so long ago and we'd never used it. We had a very traditionally English picnic with Bakewell tarts, Ham sandwiches and sausage rolls. So good! Again, the best thing was taking 5 in the middle of a hectic week and making time for each other. We started at the VAT and Fiddle which is our nearest pub and headed into town... stopping at every pub from the VAT to the Navigation inn, trying halves of ale. Was an alternative pub crawl but good to try something new. Jamie has downloaded the Untapped app - where you can rate your beer and check in at different locations. I like it because it encourages you to try different drinks rather than sticking with the same drinks. Hopefully they'll bring one out for gin soon ha!

Q - quizzing 💪🏼 I picked this one and I’m really proud of it! We love a pub quiz... I’m notorious for my lyrics and music intro prowess (honestly could go on mastermind) and just bloody love trivia! This one was a few weeks before the wedding and after several ASOS hauls for the honeymoon wardrobe it needed to be a cheap one (soz about me 😂😂) but actually turned out to be one of my faves. 4 rounds: films / intros / general knowledge / lyrics - we needed to pick questions based on the other persons interests. Was so good to see Jamie‘s perception of my interests and actually how much he notices! Really liked this one. YOU‘RE WELCOME 😂

R - ROMANCE 😂 yeah you heard it! Romantic meal / Romcom / Red vino ✨ Ideal if you’re skint or just wanna make the most of a night in ✨ Not all these dates are super flashy and that’s important. Its the taking 5 to hang out and be together that makes them so special ♥️

S- Rafffffllllleeeees darling 🙌🏼 this one was mid honeymoon so I don’t know that it counts but we were exploring Singapore and had to try out the Singapore Sling. Immediately regretted it... there was nuts all over the floor (minging) and the cocktail was minging 😂 the experience was totally wasted on me. Loved laughing at Jamie man up and try to down it though 😂🙈

T - Theatre trip to see Wasteland. This was a really weird one. I'd had a really tough week at work and originally thought we were just off out to a restaurant starting with T... Started walking to a side of town we never pass through and I knew he was up to something but I couldn't have guessed this! It had been so long since we'd been to the theatre. (I think Jamie bought me Priscilla queen of the desert tickets when we first got together cos I love drag queens but that was literally 8 years ago). Wasteland was incredible. It's about the illegal acid house scene in the 80s in the north, and it was so funny seeing Wakefield on the big screen behind the most insane dancing. One to remember for years to come for sure!

U - As we get to the end of the alphabet it's getting tougher and tougher to come up with date ideas. For this one... I went meta and picked the Sealife centre in Birmingham (underwater? totally fine right??!) haha. I just love doing stuff like this. It was such a cute day out, complete with the most insane burger from Byron burger (I wanna go back to Brum just for the guac and the burger) aaaand Jamie paid for my car to be valeted which was an unexpected but very appreciated surprise! Who said romance was dead eh?! 😂

V - Vegan food! So a lot of these dates are food related because we're massive fatties. But this seemed like the perfect opportunity to explore Nottingham's fab vegan scene. I put a poll on my Insta stories asking for recommendations and there were loads for Sneinton Market's vegan market on a Sunday. We had vegan pizza but I hated it - couldn't get over the vegan cheese... but it's always good to try something new, eh!

W - This one makes me so sad because we had booked to go to Harry Potter World for the Warner brother tours but this was cancelled due to Corona. We're keen to get it re-booked next year so watch this space!

X - We have planned to have an X Men marathon for this one and I am very excited for all the Hugh Jackman and James McAvoy that's coming my way!

Y/Z - Don't usually do two in one but with such limited activites for these letters needs must! We went to Yorkshire wildlife park for this date. I picked this one and I loooooved it. To say I'm from Yorkshire I'd never been and we had the best day. It was so incredibly windy! resulting in part of the park getting shut off as the trees weren't safe, but we managed to see most of the animals including the polar bears. I'm usually against zoos but was interested to see all the conservation work that they're doing at YWP. It was really interesting to see how many animals they've rehomed from zoos elsewhere in Europe that just didn't have the capacity to give the animals the care they deserve. We'll definitely go back and I'd love to take a child there! I think it would be the most magical day ever.


Thank you so much for reading!

The pandemic has certainly made alphabet dating that bit trickier at the moment, but looking back over these dates as I finish this entry makes me so happy. We've had so much fun trying lots of weird and wonderful dates, and trying new things.

Now to start all over again :D

Do let me know over on Instagram if you take the plunge! I'd love to see what you come up with for each letter.




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