There’s no better way to spend Valentine’s Day with your special someone than to cozy up together after a dinner for two. Planning the perfect soirée is all about the details – a candlelit table setting, the background music, and a curated menu.
Here are some ways to up your ante this year and create the most romantic Valentine’s Day dinner yet. From choosing the right setting to selecting your wine pairing, create your ultimate evening from start to finish!
Table of Contents
1. Choose the Right Setting
Scenery is everything, so think ahead. Whether your partner is a homebody or the more adventurous type, put yourself in their shoes. Where would they want to spend some quality time with you? Here are some starting points:
Evening at Home
You can host a fantastic dinner at home with all the advantages of doing it yourself. If you aren’t the world’s best chef, consider having the dinner catered by a local establishment and focus on the small details like serving bowls and platters or after-dinner entertainment.
Take things to the next level by planning a weekend getaway for two where you can host dinner and spend some quality time in another setting. Think about renting a secluded cabin or book an en-suite where you have full kitchen access to wow your dinner date.
If the local climate allows, host your dinner at the beach. Set up your beachside tent and bring in all the goods yourself. You can do the same thing with any outdoor patio or park location.
Now that you’ve chosen your ultimate dinner setting, let’s find the food to match!
2. Create the Menu
Do some investigation in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day. Select a favorite meal or a simple charcuterie plate with lots to choose from. Here are a few Valentine’s Day dinner go-to’s that help add to the ambiance of the evening:
The Wine and Cheese Plate
A sure bet that suits most taste buds, a simple wine and cheese plate gives you both time to enjoy the meal at your own pace. Choose up to five different cheese selections and add a variety of meats or fruits. Then, visit your local wine shop for guidance on pairing.
The Three-Course Meal
If your skills are up to snuff, try a classic three-course meal that your date would love. Start with a salad or gourmet bread followed by the main course (think filet mignon, lamb, fresh fish, or something equally impressive) and a romantic fondue for dessert.
Looking for a bit of fun? Try a DIY meal idea that you can customize and create for a more interactive evening! Think pizza, tacos, or a baked potato bar.
Feeling even more adventurous? Host dinner with the help of a private chef for the evening. Whatever you choose, make sure to consider your date’s tastes first.
3. The Atmosphere
There are a few key elements to the atmosphere that should never be ignored. You need to make sure everything is just right. So double-check and make sure you’ve thought of these details leading up to the big day.
- Music ⏤ Choose or create a playlist with music your date will love to hear playing in the background. Or go all out and hire a local musician for the evening ambiance.
- Table setting ⏤ Consider the table decor: tablecloth, napkins, flatware, centerpiece, and candles.
- Gift ⏤ Don’t forget the gift! Place it at the center of the table.
Now it’s time to choose your perfect outfit!
4. The Attire
Go more formal than casual to set the tone of the evening. For men, a simple black suit with dress shoes will do the trick. For women, keep it classic with a black or red cocktail dress and a standout piece of jewelry. Here’s what to look for when choosing your outfit:
- Pick something you are comfortable moving in if you’ll be cooking.
- Aim for darker colors and sturdy fabrics that won’t stain easily.
- Plan a haircut or spa day in the weeks ahead to make sure you feel and look your best.
Looking good means you’ll feel good, too. So make sure to dress your best!
5. The Lead-Up
Hosting dinner can be stressful, and you want everything to be just right. Being relaxed is important, so take a day or two off work before the big evening to set your mind at ease and complete some advance preparation. Here are some other ways you can prepare for everything to go off without a hitch:
- Practice the week before to make sure nothing is missing and avoid any problems on the day itself. Invite a friend over to taste-test the dinner – especially if you’ve chosen a hard-to-make meal.
- Create a romantic invitation for your partner so they can reserve the evening just for you without any distractions.
- Check your setting, especially if you are entertaining at home. Sometimes, a few adjustments can make for a more relaxed space.
Now, get ready to impress!
6. The Arrival
The day is here, and your date has arrived. So be prepared to welcome them. These thoughtful touches will set the tone for the rest of the evening:
- Light the candles before they knock on the door.
- Be prepared with a bouquet of their favorite flowers or a box of chocolates as they walk in.
- Offer to take their jacket if necessary – keep a cozy blanket nearby so you two can cuddle up if it gets chilly later on.
Do everything possible to make yourself and your date comfortable so you can sit back and enjoy! A small glass of champagne with a few raspberries at the bottom could be just the welcome drink you need to set the tone and relax.
7. The Dinner
There are a few minor details to remember when you serve dinner. Make sure you show good manners by offering to pour drinks and serve each part of the meal. If your date prefers to serve themself, make sure you plate everything within easy reach.
- Make conversation and stick to topics that ignite optimism for the future – you can talk about holidays, future gatherings, or fun plans with friends and family.
- Make sure you plan seating so that you and your Valentine’s date are in close proximity. If your table is large, consider sitting side by side or setting up on the couch or a smaller table.
- If any mishaps occur with the meal, don’t let it ruin the evening. Your date will be more understanding of a kitchen error than a bad attitude.
Finally, don’t forget dessert! A small chocolate cake or brownie is the perfect end to the evening.
Create a Night to Remember
Now that you’ve wowed your date, make sure you have a plan for after. It could be a movie, a board game, or a quiet evening making conversation by the fire. Whatever activity is on offer, make sure it’s something you both enjoy, and the night is sure to go off without a hitch.