Love it or hate it, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Or “Saint Valentine’s Day” as was first established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD to honor Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine.

The holiday’s romantic connotation has been around for 600 years since the days of courtly love in England’s literary circles. By the 15th century, Valentine’s Day was in full effect with lovers giving each other flowers, candy and cards known as valentines.

So how will you celebrate this 600-year old tradition? Let’s take a look at some of the hottest startups and websites to help put you in the mood.

Inspiration

Lover.ly: an inspiration engine for weddings

75 4f6d1a75c1e73e577 220x189 Valentines Day inspiration, gift ideas and more! Love, The Next WebLover.ly is a new visual search engine focused on weddings (as well as bridal showers, bachelorettes, birthday parties, anniversaries, anything and everything surrounding celebrations) so it’s great for Valentine’s Day too!

Perusing the site is like getting lost in a love story. It’s easy to spend an hour clicking through its 100,000+ images of pink bouquets, vintage dresses, Hawaiian honeymoons, beach weddings, chocolate cakes, s’more buffets, cowboy boots, and red lipsticked brides. For this Valentine’s Day, Lover.ly has tons of Valentines’ day inspiration for decor, Valentine’s cards, sweets, florals, beauty, and treats! Check out two “bundles” here and hereRead Loverly’s launch story here

4 startups prove that technology can bring couples closer together

People have many different opinions on the role technology plays in their daily lives. Some believe that social networks cheapen friendships, while others find that they stay closer with friends than ever before, thanks to Facebook and Twitter. The controversy is sure to spread amongst couples, likely because lovers have never had a social network or app made just for them. This may now be about to change, as four emerging startups show off the potential technology has to make relationships stronger than ever before. Read about KahnoodleDuetTokii and Between in our full story here

Date Ideas

HowAboutWe

HowAboutWe is technically an online dating site [Read: HowAboutWe makes online dating fun again] but I’ve never used it to find a date. I got a man so I use it to find awesome date ideas! See 4 Great NYC Dinner Date Spots including 10 Downing, Cacio e Pepe, and Cafecito; 4 Great Second Date Spots in LA including Luna Park, The Penthouse and Upstairs 2; and don’t miss 10 Super-Romantic Restaurants Across America like 2941 in Washington, D.C., Casa Tua in Miami and Everest in Chicago.

83 2509155e0cd9b6d2 520x346 Valentines Day inspiration, gift ideas and more! Love, The Next Web

SideTour

A fancy French restaurant and a bottle of red wine? Boring! SideTour is one of my favorite new startups because it opens a window into someone’s world and provides inspiring and talented hosts with a new storefront-like marketplace, much like Etsy did for artists. I found two awesome date ideas on SideTour: Make Delicious Desserts with a Pastry Chef and Dine Differently at a New York City Culinary Salon (all events are NYC only for now).

noms 520x291 Valentines Day inspiration, gift ideas and more! Love, The Next Web

Want to book a car for a night on the town? Order a car with Groundlink and use the code “PERFECT” at checkout to receive 10% off.

Gifts Ideas

(RED)

The following (RED) products make great gifts and every single one helps fight AIDS. That’s right, every time someone buys a (RED) product, the partner companies give up part of the proceeds to help fight AIDS. To date, the company has raised $180 million with 100% of that money going to AIDS Screen shot 2012 02 08 at 2.12.38 PM 220x140 Valentines Day inspiration, gift ideas and more! Love, The Next Webprogrammes. Check out a selection of gifts below.

The Life Tie Project

The Life Tie Project is a men’s tie brand that uses 25% of its proceeds to support innovative cancer prevention and treatment. Co-founded by healthcare consultants and engineers, the founders designed the silk neckwear collection to start conversations about how to end the stalemate with cancer. It’s like Movember but around your neck!

MeUndies

Last week, MeUndies, a startup that sells men and women’s underwear, online launched on The Next Web. To use MeUndies, just answer a few quick questions pertaining to size, style and color, then sign up and MeUndies will deliver the goods. Woman can choose from thongs, briefs or boy shorts. Men can choose from briefs, boxer briefs or trunks.

Screen shot 2012 02 08 at 4.27.45 PM 520x3641 Valentines Day inspiration, gift ideas and more! Love, The Next Web

Once you make the purchase, you are signed up to receive an order once a month. At the start of each month, you’ll receive an email with new selections and styles to choose from. If you’d like to skip a month or pause your membership, simply sign into your account by the 5th day of the month, click the Skip the Month or Pause button, and you will not be charged for that month. What better gift to give to your loved one than clean underwear every month? Use the code: THENEXTWEB to receive half off your first pair here at checkout.

201202 valenties box small 1 220x146 Valentines Day inspiration, gift ideas and more! Love, The Next WebOther Great Gift Ideas

  • Want to support NYC startups? Don’t miss our ultimate Holiday Shopping post with tons of awesome gift giving ideas from startups like Of a Kind, Warby Paker and Craft Coffee.
  • (Be sure to give Of A Kind’s extensive gift collection a look for your loved one while their cute, trendy items are still in stock.)
  • The Foodzie Tasting Club offers up monthly subscriptions to artisan food boxes. Their inaugural Valentine’s Day box (pictured above right) promises to be the ultimate in chocolate exploration. You can give 1 box or 2, 3, 6, and 12 months, where they’ll receive a different type of box each month. And you can buy it the day of with an online gift card!
  • A chocolate bar that uses augmented reality? Lacta, a Greek Chocolate brand owned by Kraft, has created a mobile app for Android and iOS that allows you to send love messages and see them appear on a chocolate bar. Read all about it here.
  • Traveling? Independent online travel hub, Fathom has picked out the most romantic hotels in the U.S. and Caribbean; the most romantic hotels in Latin America; X.
  • Need a dress? “Rent the Runway will deliver same-day in NYC, in the event that you thought your significant other wasn’t planning to do anything special (let’s face it, these are jaded New York men we are talking about here) and then he decides to surprise you on the morning of the 14th with an invitation to a nice dinner date that evening,” says Google’s Trends and Insights Editor Caroline McCarthy.

Valentine’s Day Cards

Remember when you had to make Valentine’s Day cards for everyone in your class at school? Never have craft nights been so epic! Now, you can send your loved one a card with your smartphone using Red Stamp or class it up with Paperless Post, which has Valentine’s Day cards from a variety of designers and a Thoughtful Gestures collection with One King’s Lane that includes sweet digital I-O-Us like “I’ll make your favorite dessert.”

Single on Valentine’s Day?

We work online, we order food online, we get jobs online on Linkedin, we invite friends to parties online on Facebook and we meet interesting people who can turn into friends online on Twitter. Perhaps more than any other activity, online dating is one of those mysterious realms where our real life interactions have been hugely augmented by sites like MatcheHarmonyJDatePlenty of Fish and OKCupid.

We recently reported that online dating spend grows by 60% on last year, and the industry can only get bigger. As the Web expands, we’ve seen several genius spins on online dating like Clique, which matches you with your friends of friends on Facebook, Cheek’d, which meshes physical business cards into the online dating world, MeetMoi, a fun, location based dating app and my personal favorite- HowAboutWe. But let’s take a look at a few under the radar sites you may not have heard of.

shutterstock 92925673 520x445 Valentines Day inspiration, gift ideas and more! Love, The Next Web

The most niche (and bizarre) sites for finding love on the Internet

Is generic online dating old business these days? I guess after 16 years of Match.com, it’s time to spice it up in the online bedroom. We’ve rounded up a list of some extremely niche, and even seriously strange, online dating sites. I’m not suggesting you use any of them, but wanted you to be aware they exist for your daily consumption and browsing pleasure…Read the full story here.

Because dating sites suck, this startup finds you love like in that movie Hitch

MyMatchmaker seems to understand the frustration that exists for singles: “You’re tired of dating sites, tired of browsing random profiles, and wished there was a better way to start relationships. We get it.” This startup believes that the best technique for finding someone special is by connecting you with qualified matchmakers. Your matchmaker will find compatible matches and get you introduced. According to them, your odds go way up with an introduction — rather than sitting back as your inbox is filled with messages. Read the full story here.

Also read: A Geek’s Guide to Valentine’s Day

What will you be doing this Valentine’s Day? We’d love to know! Tell us in the comments. 

Phaitoon Sutunyawatchai and Kyrylo Grekov via shutterstock