How to create a romantic dinner date at home

Recently my wife and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. It was my year to plan (she plans the even years, and I plan the odd years).  With three kids, two of which are still in diapers, getting a sitter is both challenging and expensive.  So, this year instead of going out, I decided to try and create a little magic in our living room after the kids went to bed.  Here is a picture I took of our anniversary dinner, right before I escorted her into the room. Think also of some soft piano music playing in the background:

Now I know the ladies are thinking, “this is great and easy to do”.  And, the guys out there are probably thinking, “impossible”. Well, you’re in luck, because I’m going to give you the step by step guide to creating some romantic magic at home (and you don’t even have to tell your significant other that you read how to do this online).  To take it a step further, why not surprise your significant other with this?

Let’s start with your shopping list. Keep in mind that you may already have some of this stuff around the house, or you could borrow from a friend, or you may find most of it at your local thrift store.  I think it is definitely feasible to keep it a cheap date night but at the same time very special and romantic:

  1. A round table with two chairs. Yes, you could do this with a square table, but round is a nicer touch I think.
  2. A round table cloth and some cloth napkins.
  3. Two wine glasses or champagne flutes (the flute style is shown in the photo).
  4. Piano songs (12-15 songs should do). This could be done via an iPod if you have a way to put your iPod on speakers. Or, a portable CD boombox will work just fine. Whichever way you go, make sure to put the music on REPEAT.
  5. If this is for something special, such as an anniversary, be sure to pick up a card and gift while you are out as well. Flowers perhaps too?
  6. Wine or champagne. Recommendation for Oregonians: If you are ever in Seaside, Oregon, pickup a couple bottles of Centive Moscato D’asti from The Wine Haus. It is a really great lightly carbonated sweet white wine.
  7. Corkscrew to open the wine, if you don’t already own one.
  8. Candle holder and candle(s).
  9. Card stock or some other heavy paper.
  10. Optional: special plates and special flatware to make the evening even more special. I went with two dinner plates, plus two smaller salad plates.  Also, matching bowls for dessert can work great too.

Putting it all together:

  • The food–OK, first I’m going to admit that I cheated a bit and ordered the ravioli and bread sticks from Olive Garden. I drove and picked it up a couple hours before our dinner date started. But, the salad and dessert I made myself. Don’t forget about dessert! Anything with chocolate is usually a good choice for dessert.
  • If you purchased flatware, glasses, and/or plates, be sure to wash them. This can be done a day or two ahead of time.
  • Sign the card and wrap the gift (if applicable). Again, do this a few days ahead of time and cross it off your list!
  • Make a menu. Remember that card stock paper from #9 above? Type out the night’s menu (and activities?)  and print it out. Put two copies out on the table.
  • Choose a napkin fold for your cloth napkins and learn how to do it.
  • The finish line: Put out the table cloth, folded napkins, flatware, glasses, and menu. Light the candle(s), pull the cork, fill the glasses, put dinner on the table, and get the music playing softly. Escort him or her into the room for a surprise and a special evening together.

Have other ideas for how to create a romantic dinner date at home? Be sure to leave a comment! Thank you.

4 thoughts on “How to create a romantic dinner date at home

  1. Nancy Lund

    The table is beautiful and the food looks delicious. The step-by-step directions will surely help others to have their own special romantic evening that they will never forget. How special. Anyone can take their wife or husband out to a restaurant. But you took a lot of thought and preparation to make this romantic and sweet. So much better than eating out. I like that you had music to set the mood, candles, etc. You did an awesome job on this. Keep up the good work! Nancy

  2. Jen Fisher

    I enjoyed reading this post as I am planning my ” just because I appreciate you” romantic dinner for my husband 🙂

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