Whether it’s the first time or the thousandth time you say it, sometimes it’s more fun to express those three little words beyond, well, words. Here, those well versed in love—relationship and wedding experts and married couples—share creative ideas for how to show your affection. 

By Real Simple
Updated January 06, 2016
Pillow with kissy love note
Credit: Shana Novak/Getty Images

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Pillow with kissy love note
Credit: Shana Novak/Getty Images

1 Write An Old-Fashioned Love Letter

Toss your iPhone aside and familiarize yourself with the beauty of a handwritten note. It's guaranteed to be a longer lasting romantic reminder than any text message ever could be. – Style Me Pretty editors Melissa Baran and Elizabeth Greene

2 Cook a Romantic Dinner

My idea of showing some love almost always revolves around something sweet, savory, and/or surprising. I recommend doing some recon in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day to find out what your partner in crime might be craving come Cupid’s holiday. If you’re into shows like Top Chef, Chopped, or MasterChef, and watch them together, take some mental notes on what’s making his or her mouth water, and play the part of your favorite chef de cuisine. Your partner will be floored that you tested out some culinary artistry, and you’ll both get to enjoy the deliciousness. – Kellee Khalil, founder and CEO of Loverly.

3 Surprise Slow Dance

Whether you're taking an evening stroll, making dinner in the kitchen or doing projects around the house, take a moment to re-live your first dance or practice if your big day is still yet to come! – Style Me Pretty editors Melissa Baran and Elizabeth Greene

4 Reminisce

For Valentine's Day we like to stay in, as all the New York City restaurants are usually pre-fixe. So my husband usually cooks dinner, we order a nice bottle of champagne , and we both write down our favorite memory from the past year and share it with each other! This year it will be less of a surprise, as I'm guessing we will both have the same answer—our daughter was born in October! She is definitely our favorite part of the past 12 months. – Lindsey Andrews, co-founder of Minibar

5 Take Care of All Household Chores

At the end of the day no one wants to clean the house, so if you're anything like me, a tidy home is one of the best gifts you could ever receive. That, my friends, is the surest way to set the romantic mood. – Style Me Pretty editors Melissa Baran and Elizabeth Greene

6 Unplug

Once in a while my husband and I will just "unplug" (literally). We will have a technology-free evening of no phones or computers and just hang out with each other and actually pay attention to one another uninterrupted. We live busy lives and it’s way too easy to be distracted by work emails, Facebook, Instagram, cat videos, etc. This is a simple and sweet way to remind each other that we are each other’s number one priority. - Orla Stiles, bridal expert and owner of Solstice Bride in Venice, California

7 Surprise Your Partner With Breakfast In Bed

Whether a quick coffee before work, or a leisurely brunch on the weekend, a surprise breakfast in bed says "I love you" better than any typical treat. – Style Me Pretty editors Melissa Baran and Elizabeth Greene

8 Plan a Special Outing

The best way to show someone you love them is to share an experience. We live in a world that keeps getting smaller each day and, while buying products for someone can be a great way to share the love, I am getting in the habit of instead creating experiences with my loved one—whether it be booking an exotic trip, getting a weekend out of the city to do a wine tasting tour, or booking one of our chefs for a cooking class. Sharing your free time with someone and building a new memory is very intimate, and a great way to create a loving, long lasting relationship. — Chef Matthew Antoun, Owner of Modern Art Catering in Los Angeles, CA

9 Sing a Love Song

The idea itself has been done time and again, but there's really nothing sweeter than writing your own love song for that special person in your life. And no, you don't have to be a good singer—it's the effort that counts! – Style Me Pretty editors Melissa Baran and Elizabeth Greene