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How to Plan a Romantic Dinner

May 21, 2013 03:01AM ● By Erin Frisch


Don’t wait for a special occasion to plan a date night with your significant other. While time and money are not always available for taking your loved one out on the town, you don’t need to sacrifice romance. Sometimes the most romantic thing you can do for your partner is to plan a special evening at home with dinner, drinks, and dessert. Even if you don’t like to cook, there are ways to arrange an enchanting dinner, whether you choose simple recipes or order the courses in from your favorite restaurant or market. We’ll show you how to do both.

First, set the atmosphere. If you have kids, arrange for them to stay with friends if they’re old enough, or with a babysitter outside the house. (Grandparents are a great choice if you’re lucky enough to have them close by.) Choose a time that works well for both you and your significant other, where neither of you will have to worry about other commitments such as working late, answering emails, or running errands. To make sure your partner knows the plan, opt for a thoughtful handwritten invitation rather than a verbal one to make the date special. Agree to turn off your cellphones or set them aside in another room to ensure that you give each other the attention you both deserve throughout the evening. Set the table with candles and flowers, a nice tablecloth, cloth napkins, and your best silverware, dishware, and glassware. If you feel inclined, spread rose petals across the table for an extra romantic flair. Select music that you both find enjoyable and relaxing, and that matches the ambience you’re aiming for.

Now for the dinner. There are two options.

If you love to cook, begin by deciding on a menu. Select tried-and-true recipes that you know your significant other enjoys. Choose an appetizer. It could be as simple as a cheese and olive plate with thin slices of baguette, which takes little prep time, or something more complex that you can plate and eat with utensils. A plus for finger food appetizers is that you can feed them to each other. Decide on the main course, perhaps a favorite meal that you know your partner enjoys, but that you may not get a chance to make regularly. Select a nice bottle of wine if you’ll be drinking that pairs well with your main dish. If you prefer to have all the cooking done beforehand, prep the dishes and hold them in the oven on low to keep them warm. If you don’t mind cooking while you share a glass of wine, do all the prep work up front (chopping, measuring, etc.) so that as you cook, you can toss the ingredients together while you share quality time with your significant other. For dessert, make your partner’s favorite cake, pastry, or other sweet ending and consider pairing it with a dessert wine or an after-dinner drink.

If you don’t like to cook, you’ll still need to begin by deciding on a menu. Select a restaurant or market to order from. It could be your significant other’s favorite restaurant, or if you’re feeling creative and have the time to pick them up, a mix-and-match of favorite courses from different places around town. Choose an appetizer, main course, and dessert. Give yourself enough time to pick up the food and transfer it to nice plates or platters for serving and eating. Ask the restaurant for suggestions on wine or cocktails to pair with your food selections, and pick up a bottle of wine or the ingredients for drinks as well. Have everything set up and dispose of the take-out containers before your significant other arrives.

Aside from the prep work, make sure that televisions, computers, cellphones, and any other potential mood busters are turned off to minimize distractions and maximize the attention you are able to give each other. What have you done in the past to plan a romantic dinner for your significant other?

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