By Nancy Mattia, CTW Features
Picture this: It’s just the two of you at home tomorrow night. How do you make the most of it? You could catch up on “True Detective,” attack the ever-growing pile of laundry, or settle in for a long phone chat with a dear friend. Or you could surprise your partner with a night that’s all about spending alone time as a couple, eating delicious food, and being surrounded by candlelight and romantic music. Here’s what you need to know when the mood is all about romance and love:
Creating an intimate ambiance is key to romance. Set the mood by dimming any bright overhead lights, turning on table lamps with low-wattage bulbs, and lighting candles all around. Your home will be both inviting and relaxing. Set the table with your best dinner plates (they go in the center of each place setting), flatware (to the left of the plate, often on a napkin, knives to the right of the fork, and spoons to the right of the knives), and glasses (to the upper right of the plate). Light a few more candles for the table, and put down a vase of flowers for the centerpiece.
It’s essential to play music since your dinner-for-two background soundtrack will help shape the tone of the evening. Who makes romantic music? There’s Michael Bublé for a contemporary spin and Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra for lush tunes from yester-year.
The ideal date-night dinner menu should feature foods you both will enjoy and that you’ve successfully made before—this isn’t the occasion to try a new recipe. Also pick foods that are more special than your everyday choices. If you regularly eat hamburgers at home, grill a steak for date night instead. If cooking isn’t your thing, it’s perfectly fine to serve prepared dishes from your local market. Another option: If you two get along well in the kitchen, consider preparing your date-night meal together.
Know your audience. If your special guy or gal is into yoga, plan on a virtual session for the two of you. If they’re into wines, buy a few bottles for a tasting. Find your inner country crooners by renting a small karaoke machine and belting out some favorite tunes together.
No need for any kind of formalwear for a casual date night but make sure whatever you wear is an upgrade from your usual T-shirt and jeans. Put a collared shirt over your tee or replace your dirty sneakers with a pair of sleek leather boots. Making an effort for another person’s benefit is what romance is all about.