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Servers dish on the top five things not to do at your Valentine's Day dinner

Employees at Edmonton's most romantic restaurants weigh in on lessons learned firsthand on Valentine's Day. Coming in at number 2? Do. Not. Propose.

“The saddest thing is when you don’t show up," says Amy Syson, the hospitality manager at The Melting Pot, who says staff do see occasional ghosting on Valentine's Day. "You’re letting your significant other sit at the table by themselves and wait for you."

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“The saddest thing is when you don’t show up," says Amy Syson, the hospitality manager at The Melting Pot, who says staff do see occasional ghosting on Valentine's Day. "You’re letting your significant other sit at the table by themselves and wait for you."

It’s the day of the year most couples either look forward to or dread, and yes, Valentine’s Day is here again.

For advice on how to make or break your romantic plans, we turned to the people in the trenches: restaurant staff who regularly watch romantic sparks fly — and dates crash and burn.

Here are the biggest romantic rule breakers according to staff at some of Edmonton’s most dateworthy restaurants.

1. Do not leave things to the last minute

This one may seem like a given, but many unfortunate people have not mastered the art of planning ahead.

“The phone has not stopped ringing for reservations. It’s been that way since Thursday last week,” said Josh Wickard, a host at Harbour Grill, told Metro Tuesday.

He says people have been calling, “begging” for reservations. He advises people taking their dates out on Valentine’s to put a reminder in your phone. Maybe a couple of them.

Of course, for those of you for whom this advice is too late, Wickard has another pro tip: be really nice to the person on the phone, as you never know when a cancellation could happen.

“You never know, the person on the other line might be your saviour,” he said.

2. Do not even think about proposing

Vincent Korchenko, the night supervisor at Cafe Amore Bistro, says while he has seen some happy, well-done proposals where the person says yes and 'everyone is in tears', he has also seen some go really bad.

Kevin Tuong / Metro Edmonton

Vincent Korchenko, the night supervisor at Cafe Amore Bistro, says while he has seen some happy, well-done proposals where the person says yes and 'everyone is in tears', he has also seen some go really bad.

Honestly? It’s predictable, according to Vincent Korchenko, the night supervisor at Cafe Amore Bistro.

“The boys just seem to do everything very last minute. They don’t seem to do a lot of thinking, not a lot of prepping,” he said.

Although he says there have been some happy, well-done proposals where the person being asked says yes and “everyone is in tears”, he has also seen some go really bad.

One time he was bringing food to a table where a woman and her two kids were dining. A man arrived, late, and got down on one knee just as Korchenko was bringing out plates.

“I was standing right there behind him with their food and she said, literally, ‘No’ and I didn’t know what to do,” he remembered.

He said the man sat down for what he assumes was a very awkward dinner.

3. Do not overdrink

Popping a bottle of bubbly is a go-to for people celebrating Valentine’s with their significant other, says Joe Menezes, supervisor at The Harvest Room, but notes it’s possible to go too far.

“Sometimes people coming in here, they try to get a little bit too intoxicated and then they have too many drinks and they always end up on a negative,” he says.

He says he has seen breakups happen over it — “It gets bad.”

4. Don’t make your first date Valentine’s Day

A first date should be a simple, get-to-know-you experience but apparently there are some brave souls out there who will ask out a new person for Valentine’s Day.

He says they always notice first-time dates being very awkward around other couples, Menezes says.

“We can tell it’s their first date, right?”

He said especially in a restaurant where the romantic atmosphere is on blast, the “intimacy” can make a tough situation even tougher.

“There are people being very romantic holding hands and stuff and they are just trying to break the ice and stuff.”

5. Do not bail

It’s rare, but according to Amy Syson, the hospitality manager at The Melting Pot, staff see the occasional ghosting.

“The saddest thing is when you don’t show up. You’re letting your significant other sit at the table by themselves and wait for you,” she said.

She recalls one girl having to FaceTime her date because they couldn’t be together on Valentine’s Day at their favourite restaurant.

Of course, there are always situations where one party probably wishes they hadn’t shown up.

“The worst thing I have seen happen on Valentine’s Day is couples that break up at the table,” she said.

“That’s definitely the worst.”

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