Tips on Giving a Romantic Dinner

by Carolyn Scheidies

About Carolyn Scheidies

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Carolyn Scheidies has been writing professionally since 1994. She writes a column for the “Kearney Hub” and her latest book is “From the Ashes.” She holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where she has also lectured in the media department.

A special date, a marriage anniversary or Valentine's Day all call for celebrations. While dining out in a nice restaurant can be fun, exciting and special, creating a romantic dinner at home provides the opportunity to share food preparation and decorating skills with that special someone. This also gives you time to relax and converse without other diners watching.

Proper Equipment

While you don't need to have fancy equipment or be a gourmet chef to cook up a romantic dinner, it does help to have the basic ingredients at hands. Purchase appropriate pans and bake ware if you don't own the equipment required for the chosen recipes. You will also want appropriate dinner and serving plates, silverware and glassware. For a romantic dinner you might wish to purchase good quality disposable dinnerware in red or with hearts.

Recipes

Plan the romantic dinner and choose your recipes with care. Plan a meal within your ability to execute without undue stress. This is not the time to try a complicated recipe just to impress. Choose recipes for dishes your sweetheart will enjoy eating (as well as recipes that don't use a lot of expensive or hard-to-find ingredients.) Be sure these are recipes you enjoy fixing and that don't take enormous amounts of time to prepare. It doesn't hurt to have an easily fixed Plan B in case your first choice doesn't turn out as you hoped.

Presentation

Even a basic meat, potatoes and vegetable meal can be part of a romantic dinner if presented with flare. While the food may be commonplace, presentation takes the ordinary and makes it memorable. Set the table with a plain color tablecloth. White or black are basic colors that allow the focus to remain on what is on the table. Add plates reflective of romance or your partner's favorite colors. Make sure everything on display coordinates and use the same color scheme throughout the table setting, including any decorations. Flowers, scented candles or a small lantern can be choices for a centerpiece. Include soft music in the background to set a romantic mood. If you and your sweetheart aren't real comfortable in formal settings, don't include two or three forks, spoons, etc. Make the presentation special, not uncomfortably ostentatious. Add a centerpiece reflecting the romantic mood of the evening. Make sure the centerpiece is low on the table and doesn't obscure your view of one another once seated.

Start Early

Don't wait until the last minute to fix the dinner or to decorate the table. Give yourself time to get everything done before the arrival of your partner for the evening. Allow time to rest and get yourself looking your best. No one wants to find everything a mess, the meal half prepared and the cook frustrated and stressed.

When Things Go Wrong

No matter how hard you try to get everything done and just right, things may go wrong. If that happens, remember your partner is more interested in spending time with you than in a perfectly prepared and presented dinner. If time gets away, take things in stride and elicit your sweetheart's assistance in meal preparation. A positive attitude is an important ingredient in pulling off a romantic dinner.

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