It was our three-year anniversary yesterday, and usually Brian and I alternate years planning how to celebrate. Even though this year was his, I still wanted to do something nice for the two of us. I can’t help but take any opportunity to cook a beautiful, delicious—and sexy—meal. Here’s my menu, but you can also check out our romance board on Pinterest for inspiration!
Bacon-wrapped scallops with spicy apricot sauce
Filet mignon with sautéed mushrooms and garlic–red wine reduction sauce,
topped with blue cheese and crispy fried shallots
Golden potato and Vidalia onion gratin
with thyme, gruyère cheese, and nutmeg
Affogato with candied orange peel and chocolate
Once you've planned your meal, you'll want to make sure to create a romantic atmosphere. Here are a few things that usually do the trick:
Mood lighting! This might go without saying, but there’s no such thing as too many candles.
Put away all electronics—no one wants to be interrupted by a bright screen, ringing phones, or buzzing devices. Nothing says your love isn’t a priority like pulling out your phone during an intimate moment.
Get rid of distractions: Clean up any existing messes, take the clothes out of the laundry so it’s not running in the background, or put the dogs outside for the night. Make sure you freshen up the bedroom and bathroom.
Create a good playlist. Have songs that you both love to sing along to, and choose from genres that are mellow—but not too mellow. (While “All My Life” by K-Ci & Jojo is a romance classic, it also puts me to sleep.) Playing music that’s a little more upbeat, like jazz, will keep you awake and energized while maintaining the romantic vibe.
I know this isn’t true for all couples, but Brian and I enjoy cooking together. It’s a hands-on activity that lets us stand, dance, play, steal little nibbles of food, and just have fun making a mess together. Pour a glass of wine, put your music on in the background, and get started making an amazing meal together.
Try setting a theme for your evening. Maybe you honeymooned in Florence or the Caribbean, or maybe you’re both just crazy for Disneyland—don’t be afraid to get silly together (hey, for some people, Lady and the Tramp is the ultimate in romance)! Just plan your night around something that makes you happy and go from there. Get inspired for you menu, décor, outfit—anything is fair game.
Look nice, even if you’re just keeping it simple at home. Put the extra effort in to wow your significant other. Put on something that you feel sexy in, like a nice dress or heels. You can even give your partner something to wear for the night when they walk through the door, just to make sure you’re both going to the same party. Remember: Never underestimate the power of surprise.
Dine in a different part of your home, a spot where you rarely eat. For example, clear out your living room and eat on the floor. If you have a fireplace, set up dinner right in front of it. I’ve done this before using whatever I could find. Once I used a big plastic storage box that fits under the bed and covered it with a nice satin sheet. Then under it I laid another blanket, and I surrounded everything with candles and rose petals. If you have a rooftop, porch, or any other outdoor space, now would be the perfect time to make the most of it.
Flowers are a staple—use them liberally! Nothing says “I love you” like red roses. Create a pathway using rose petals, and scatter them around the bed and anywhere else you may be hanging out for the night. You can ask the florist at your local grocer if they have rose petals rather than whole roses—most will.
If you have any old love letters or mementos, break them out and read them to each other. It’s always romantic to be reminded of what made you fall in love in the first place.
Find food that you can feed each other and eat with your hands! Berries with chocolate or whipped cream are a perfect way to end your meal.
Don't skimp on the champagne or wine! After a long, hard day and then putting on a romantic production, you’ll to want to unwind a little. Plus, what starts the romance better than popping a bottle of bubbles?
No matter what you do, make sure to take time to celebrate your relationship, whether it’s a special occasion like an anniversary or Valentine’s Day, or just a regular Tuesday night. Remember: There are no rules when it comes to love!