You’ve been on a few dates and she’s agreed to come to Valentine’s Day dinner at your home. Problem is, your bachelor pad needs tweaking to give it a special feel for the evening, and your cooking skills are non-existent. While getting a take-out meal is easy, setting the right mood needs some expertise. Follow these tips to set the mood for Valentine.
Create a special setting
If you have an outdoor area, make the magic of a balmy al fresco evening work for you. String up fairy lights for a feeling of enchantment, place comfortable chairs outside and kick the evening off by watching the sunset together over a glass of bubbly. Bonus points if you have a throw at the ready in case she gets chilly as the evening closes in, and a lantern to create a cosy glow as the light fades.
If you have a pool, float dozens of tealight candles in the pool for a spectacularly dreamy effect. Set out a blanket and piles of cushions and serve up exotic cocktails for a passionate resort getaway vibe. If you don’t have a pool, but have a garden or a balcony, deck the space out with candles in different colours, shapes and sizes.
Before the big evening, create a playlist of easy-to-listen, melodious background music for the night. If you haven’t yet, now’s the time to join a streaming platform like Spotify, to curate the perfect soundtrack to your special evening.
Tidy your space
Next, take stock of your living space. It doesn’t matter if your interior isn’t going to grace the pages of a decor magazine. She won’t judge you on this, rather the effort you took in making the place feel special. Do a bit of a tidy up, and make sure any photos of exes are put away! Fresh flowers bought on the day and displayed in a vase will be a nice touch.
There’s no bigger turn off for date night than a grimy, smelly space, so make sure your home is sparkling clean and smelling good. Common areas like the kitchen and sitting room need to be tidy and sparkling clean, and don’t forget the bathroom – no empty toilet rolls or damp towels. For a special touch, light a fragrant candle and place sweet-smelling soap and hand lotion by the basin.
Take the stress off yourself and hire a cleaner for a few hours before your date arrives, to help get your space sparkling. SweepSouth Connect has vetted, reliable professionals who will arrive and get the place shipshape. You have enough on your plate without having to make sure the bathroom is fresh smelling, too!
A great tip at this point is to offer to pick your date up on the night of the dinner, or arrange an Uber to your home and back so that she’s not heading off into the dark late at night after your date.
Set the table with a nice tablecloth, table settings, glasses, candles and flowers. Switch off your computer, TV and get rid of any other distractions. Even though you’re not cooking your date dinner from scratch, make the effort to decant takeaways or pre-prepared meals into nice bowls, ready for heating up. Consider putting them into the oven ahead of dinner, on a low heat to slowly warm up while your guest arrives and settles in. It’s also a thoughtful gesture to prepare a platter of light snacks for you both to tuck into over drinks. Hummus with pita chips and fresh veggies is easy to prepare ahead of time.
Before she gets there, think about a few interesting topics you’re both interested in, so that conversation will flow freely. When she arrives, compliment her, with sincerity. Women love it when a man notices and appreciates the effort she puts into looking good for them. Just don’t overdo it as that will make her feel awkward.
Offer her a drink. Cold white wine is perfect for a hot summer evening or suggests something you’ve seen her order in a restaurant – she’ll be impressed that you took note. Spend at least half an hour or more chatting before you move on to the dinner side of the evening. Ask her how her day or week has been, what she thinks about a new Netflix series etc., and pay attention to what she’s saying.
If there are still a few foodie details you need to get done before dinner, invite her into the kitchen to keep you company. Ask her to do a small task to help – preparing food together can be fun and is a great way to form new bonds.
A touch of sweetness
After dinner, you definitely won’t want to be spending too much time in the kitchen again, so have ice cream in the freezer to serve with berries if she feels like pudding. An oh-so-easy treat is a simple affogato. Just pour a shot of espresso (or strong brewed coffee) over a few scoops of vanilla ice cream – delicious!
Above all, just enjoy the evening. Dating jitters are real, and being nervous and worrying about what might go wrong is normal. We are often our own worst critics, though. It helps to remember that you don’t expect your date to be perfect, so don’t put that pressure on yourself. And definitely don’t try and pre-determine the outcome of the date – decide that you’re going to have a fun evening and enjoy yourself, whether or not it works out to be a love match.