Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants (the other is Mother’s Day), which means making a last-minute reservation can prove difficult.

Here are a few ways to avoid the crunch and celebrate a special night.

1. Reservation website OpenTable recommends skipping Feb. 14 altogether and enjoying a romantic weekend instead. Try a Saturday night dinner, followed by a cozy Sunday brunch.

However, if Thursday night is a must-do, click here to see which Toronto restaurants still have tables for two.

2. Some Toronto restaurants never take reservations.  It’s not bad planning on your part – there’s always a line up at Grand Electric, Guu Izakaya and Pizzeria Libretto.

3. Set the mood at home: Use a table cloth and learn how to make one fancy but simple cocktail (Sophie Dahl, author Roald’s daughter, recommends a rose prosecco), and cook something you know you can pull off (or order in). It’s about the night, not the molecular gastronomy.

4. Personal gifts are always better than last-minute impulse buys, the Today show explains. Try loading an iPod with your partner’s favourite music or a romantic playlist, or spring for one night at hotel in your town. It’s a relaxing getaway without the airport and traffic stress.

5. Does your partner like flowers other than roses? Get those. And write your own card.

How are you celebrating? Any tips for last-minute plans? Let us know in the comments.