Six Ways to Use the List to Spice Up Your Romance in Indy
Whether it’s your sweetheart’s birthday, a milestone anniversary, or you just want to shower your special someone with attention, service providers on Angie’s List offer a variety of choices.
You can stick with the old standbys — chocolates, flowers, promises you don’t intend to keep — or you can search the List for services that might add a little flair to your romance.
Roll with the classics
Romanticism doesn’t come any more old-school than a ride on a horse and carriage steered by a driver in a top hat.
Peggy Best, owner of highly rated Yellow Rose Carriages in Indianapolis, says people often hire her carriages for brief tours, extended rides to pop the question, or just to enjoy each other’s company. A 25-minute ride costs $50, while extended rides cost $100 per hour.
“When couples want a romantic ride, the drivers know they can tailor the route to whatever they want,” Best says. “They might go around to historic spots and learn about the history of downtown, or go dancing and hit all the hot nightspots.”
Best says carriage rides bring an old-world ambience not often found today in our modern, fast-paced life.
“The carriage is moving slowly, you hear the clip-clop of the horses, and it’s like a slower time when people weren’t in such a hurry,” Best says. “When you’re driving or even walking, you have to be looking where you’re going, but riding in the back of a carriage you can really see the nuances of the city.”
Get your portrait taken together
For some couples, the last portrait they took together occurred on their wedding day, but highly rated Indianapolis photographer Larry Gindhart, owner of Larry Gindhart Photography, says couples should take time for themselves as the years pass.
“Whenever I do family photography, I always devote part of the time to just the husband and wife,” he says. “it’s important for the family to have things like that, so they’re aware of where the family came from.”
He frequently does “L-sessions,” or “love sessions,” for couples who want photos that aren’t necessarily tied to an event like marriage or anniversary. When the couple has been together a while, he refers to them as “Still-in-love sessions.”
“It’s a document, a statement of their love that’s romantic and also fun,” he says. He charges $195 for a one-hour session that includes 20 high-resolution, edited images, and $295 for a 2-hour session with 40 images.
Highly rated photographer Sue Huffer, owner of Sue Huffer Photography in Indianapolis, says in her experience, the husband tends to require the most convincing.
“Dads tend not to like to get their photos taken,” she says. “If it were up to the dads of the world, I would never have any business! But mothers love it, so I sell a lot of gift certificates around Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.”
Snap a very special portrait, wink-wink
Boudoir photos, ranging from the risqué to the classy, make memorable gifts to a significant other, and offer their own benefits to the photo subject. Cindy Johnson, owner of Cindy Johnson Family Photography in Greenwood, Indiana, says she often takes boudoir photos that leave the subject feeling much better than when they came in.
“Many women go into them thinking they’re going to get photos as a gift for their spouse, but it’s so much for the woman as well, because it makes her feel better about herself,” she says. “They’re always really nervous going in, but afterward they always say, ‘I had a lot of fun.’”
She also shoots couples boudoir shots, and works to help both parties loosen up.
“Guys are always the most nervous, but I help them relax during the shoot,” she says. “I’ll turn on some music, maybe the song that was their first dance at their wedding, and they’ll just talk on the couch. I’ll take photos of them fully clothed, then move on to them undressing themselves.”
Whichever the case, she says boudoir photos tend to be rewarding for both. “Sometimes I get pictures women take of their husband’s faces when they first open the book, and it’s great,” she says. Johnson charges $300 for a session, which includes 25 edited images and reprint rights for the photos.
Heat things up together
Jan Schmalbach, director of sales at highly rated Chef Suzanne in Indianapolis, says Chef Suzanne Rockwell frequently offers cooking classes specifically tailored to couples who want to learn to maneuver the kitchen together.
“We find it brings them a lot of unity,” Schmalbach says. “We do a lot of Christmas gift certificates, and we reach them either here or at their homes. We’ll teach them to create the food, and then they get to eat it.”
Lessons cost $75 per hour plus the cost of ingredients, which ranges between $22.95 and $60 based on the recipe.
Schmalbach says taking classes together often brings couples closer together.
“It’s more fun to cook at home with your better half,” she says. “You can have a bottle of wine and enjoy cooking with each other. And if you’re new to cooking, you learn how not to be intimidated behind the stove.”
Trip the light fantastic
Craig Cassel, owner and instructor at highly rated Five Star Dance Studio, with locations in Carmel, Greenwood and Fishers, says partner dance lessons engender newfound intimacy for couples. “We have a lot of couples who are coming in for a date night,” he says. “They might be empty-nesters where the kids have moved out, and it rekindles their marriages and adds a new spark.”
He says lessons start at $15 for a couple and go up, depending on their level of involvement and whether they want private lessons. Cassel notes men seem to be driving the new popularity of dance.
“It used to be that they were a bit intimidated, and they were being told ‘If you want to play golf, you have to take me dancing,’” he says. “It was an unheard-of kind of thing, but now we have guys coming in buying Valentine’s or Christmas gift certificates for their wives.”
Let’s get physical
Improve your health and chemistry — literally — by taking fitness classes together.
“When couples work out together, they end up holding each other accountable, and they reach their goals faster,” says Amy Fearrin, owner of highly rated Amy’s Fabulously Fit and Stretch in Whitestown, Indiana.
She offers private fitness training lessons either at a client’s home or in her own home. Rates begin at $100 per hour but she says they go down when purchasing packages.
Fearrin says the inherent intimacy of training together can improve a relationship.
“When we talk about their goals and how they’re working to achieve them, everybody’s pretty honest, because these two live together,” she says. “Losing weight is about more than just working out. It’s also shopping and creating meals together, making a lifestyle change. It’s not just me and the client — when a couple is working out together, now they’re a team.”