How to Plan a Romantic Dinner

Don’t have a dinner reservation for Valentine’s Day? No worries. This next post in our Five Ways to Spoil your Valentine series explores how you can have a romantic and loving Valentine’s Day dinner without having to spend a huge amount of money or time trying to book a restaurant on Valentine’s Day night. Here’s what to do:

1. What to cook

The first and obviously most important thing you should consider is what to cook for your loved one. You could opt for something traditional, such as a pasta dish or an aphrodisiac meal (oysters anyone?) that might include something spicy. Or, you might want to try cooking something special and unique to your relationship – what was the first meal you remember enjoying together? 

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Whatever you do, if you want the night to end on a romantic note, make sure the meal size is sufficient, but not too big. Feeling sluggish and bloated because you’ve over-indulged isn’t sexy, and needing a nap to recover after a huge meal can be a bit of a passion-killer. Here are some great Valentine’s Day recipe ideas… 

Another important component of the meal is the drink. If you’re planning to have wine, try to match it to your meal. Whilst it’s more important that you enjoy what you’re drinking (stick with a sweet white over a full-bodied red if you don’t like dry wine). Generally, delicate bubbles and white wine work well with seafood and white meat like chicken, and red meat dishes benefit from a rich red, like Shiraz. 

Whatever wine you choose, take the time to serve it beautifully. Use a beautiful ice bucket to chill champagne and white wine. 

Chill your white wine and bubbles in a beautiful ice bucket, 

If you’re drinking red, decant it beforehand so it has time to aerate. Here are some tips on decanting

Cantina Master Decanter is a classic decanter for red wine

Most wine stores would be happy to suggest wines to match your menu. And who says you only have to have one type of wine? You could match each course with a different wine. Worried about not finishing an open bottle of wine? Check out this cool product that preserves open bottles of wine… 

Longitude Wine Preserve keeps open bottles of wine fresh for days

2. Presentation is everything

This second thing to consider when planning a home-cooked romantic meal is how to lay the table. You might want to have candles, romantic music, or a certain colour theme to accompany the meal.  For instance, you might have candelabra with three candles in the middle of the table with a red tablecloth. 

You might want to dim the lights, play some romantic music in the background and start the meal with a glass of bubbles, wine or an aperitif such as: vermouth, pastis, gin, or dry sherry with cheese, crackers and pate.  

A beautiful table setting doesn’t have to be complicated – a colourful bouquet of flowers can be a great way of adding colour
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Of course, your relationship might be completely different. Disco lights, rock music and a takeout meal from your local pizza place might be your favourite way to unwind together. 
Whatever you decide, you need to think about what is appropriate and special for the two of you.

3. Just the two of us

It’s easy to get caught up in the commercial hype of Valentine’s Day and overlook one of the most important aspects of Valentine’s Day, which is how it fits with your relationship as a whole.  Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to reflect on and celebrate what you have accomplished together over the last year, and where you want to be this time next year. 

Cherish the moment – think about how happy you are and consider all the parts of your relationship that make you feel good.  Valentine’s Day is not about airing your differences – it’s about recognising what you have in common. Focus on the happy times and talk about things that you want to do in terms of dreams and visions for the two of you. 

Keep your dinner conversation light, fun and flirty. You can always talk about more serious issues (like who does the dishes) on February 15 – or any other day for that matter.

Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to take a step back and celebrate your appreciation for each other. It’s also a good excuse to treat each other. Have a lovely dessert – even if you’re on a diet.  Have a glass of wine, even though it might give you a headache. Take the time to dream together.

Creme Brulee – a delicious Valentine’s Day dessert option
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Check out our other posts in this series:
How to Plan a Romantic Picnic
How to Plan a Romantic Night In
How to Create a Romantic Treat for your Valentine
How to Plan a Romantic Weekend Away

What is your favourite Valentine’s Day meal?

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