Planning a romantic evening a deux need not be stressful, time-consuming or put a major dent in your wallet. Instead, fun, excitement and creativity should be the hallmark of your special evening together.
Here are a few helpful hints for turning your ideal romantic evening into a reality.
- Brainstorm for Romantic Date Ideas. Although there is nothing wrong with going the traditional dinner/wine/flowers route for an evening of romance, it leaves little in the way of personal creativity and individuality. Besides, why go with the cookie cutter version of romance when your beau is so charmingly unique? Go ahead and put pen to paper and jot down a few notes on what your date's likes and dislikes are. Make notes on his personality. Is he an over-the-top kind of guy who likes things BIG? Then maybe putting your love for each other in lights is the way to celebrate. If the love of your life has a discerning eye and prefers simple elegance, then perhaps tracking down a bottle of vintage wine is a more appropriate way of showing romance. No matter the differences in taste, keep your partner's personality in mind and let it guide you as you come up with romantic ideas and plan your evening together.
- Location. Now that you've done your research, it's time to choose the where of your evening. Lucky is the girl who has access to a balcony, backyard or porch, as you can throw down a thick blanket and enjoy a quiet evening under the stars. For the rest of us apartment-dwellers (no, your fire escape is not a balcony!), there's no need to despair. The park or an open field is as romantic and works just as well. If using a theme, then let your romantic places match it; (say he loves working on boats), then try dinner on the water. If you and yours are high school sweethearts, check to see if using your old high school football field is an option. Once you call the school and explain, they may be more than willing to lend a helping hand to your romantic evening.
- Food. Food is a great way to up the romance quotient, so think about what food, if any, you would like to serve. Planning a romantic dinner for two doesn't have to cost you a fortune. If you enjoy cooking (and a lot of us do), then go ahead and whip something scrumptious up. If you normally just throw things in a pot, think about serving a romantic meal in courses. Most of us don't do this everyday, so that in itself might be very special, and your partner will be sure to notice the extra effort.
If your partner has a favorite dish, try your hand at it, and if both of you have a serious sweet tooth, think about serving an array of different desserts. Try calling a few pastry or wedding cake shops to see if you can get some samples. The idea is to be creative and to have food both you and your partner can enjoy. And if Julia Child you are not, then consider getting your evening catered. Call some steakhouses or local restaurants and see if they will cater for you (plenty of them will). Having the food taken care of will take a load off your mind and let you concentrate on more important things, like, hmm, hair and makeup (kidding!). In all seriousness, going the catering route for romantic dinners can be a godsend in lessening your levels of stress.
- Lighting. Candles and low lighting are flattering to every skin tone and work very well in creating a romantic mood. Try varying candle sizes and heights to achieve the soft glow you desire. Chinese lanterns and tea lights are very romantic (not to mention stylish!) and practical for the outdoors. Ban all fluorescent lighting if indoors (the pair of you will look green otherwise) and instead opt for the warm glow of candlelight.
- Music and Movies. Music can be very powerful in creating a romantic mood, but be sure to keep it very low (you don't want to compete with a crooning Sade when trying to communicate with your honey). You can make music an even more powerful symbol of your love by choosing songs that were popular when you first started dating. And the media blitz doesn't have to end there! Setting up several televisions to play classic romantic movies (think "Casablanca" or "A Place in the Sun") is another effective way of creating a romantic ambiance.
- What to Wear. Now that the ambiance is set and the food is ready, turn your attention to your wardrobe. Keep in mind where you will be having your romantic evening and the temperature. Bearing these two factors in mind, survey your options. You can wear the outfit you wore on your first date, or a fancy cocktail dress; the choice is yours. The key is be comfortable and accessible in your ensemble. Wear something that invites you to relax (tugging at hemlines is not relaxing!), but do dress up if that's your personality. There is nothing wrong with trying to look your best and your partner will definitely appreciate it.
Hopefully these romantic evening ideas have helped you learn how to plan a romantic date. Remember that this is your time to relax and enjoy your partner's company, so don't worry if every little detail is not in place. Keep your goals of conversation, relaxation and enjoyment in mind and you'll be well on your way to the perfect evening.