White linen tablecloths. Candles on the table. Your favorite wine. A delicious meal. Reservations. $100 plus tip, or more. Want all of those things except the big bill? With a little thoughtful planning, you can turn your "date night in" into your favorite date night, ever!
No need to purchase an expensive, thick tablecloth. Get creative with what you have on hand. A plain, white sheet draped over your table can add an element of sophistication and won't cost you anything! Use the placemats that you use every day, or the ones that have been tucked away in a drawer, and love the new pop of color!
Whether your best china is from a yard sale or an expensive item you received for your wedding, pull out your best. Even if it is melamine, using your favorite plates will make your dinner look and feel special.
The music playing for your date night does not have to be bom-chicka-wah-wah type music. If country music is your thing, put on your favorite country playlist. Or maybe you prefer Carbon Leaf or Mumford and Sons? Whatever your favorite music is, just play it. Often at restaurants, between the hustle and bustle of food being served and the people who are dining with you, you cannot even hear the "soft" music playing. When you set the mood with your favorite music, dinner conversation will be much more comfortable and the evening will just "dance" on, so to speak.
When you have a date, the meal can be quite pricey. Considering your budget, you can still splurge and not break the bank. You can still have a seafood or pork tenderloin meal, but when you make it yourself, you will have leftovers! (Money and food leftover.) Flip through your local grocery store's sale ad to see what great items are on sale. Plan your menu around that. For example, if chicken thighs are $1.69 a pound, you might want to make a meal around chicken thighs. Or if scallops are on sale, perhaps a pan seared scallop starter is a great way to kick off the date.
Get creative! Do you both love malbec or riesling wine? Pick up a couple of boxes of wine instead of bottles. A box of wine is usually the equivalent of four bottles, so you certainly get more for your money, and it stays good for four weeks after opening. (That is, if you can make it last that long.) At most restaurants, a glass of wine is about $10. If the two of you each have only one glass, that is $20 for just two glasses of wine! You can have four bottles for the price of two glasses, so date night in just keeps getting better and better (not to mention more intimate and sexier!) when you think outside the box, by buying the box!
Dessert is the best part of the meal. Plan something yummy, but remember yummy does not have to mean extravagant. Homemade whipped cream and berries are a sweet treat, and you can feed each other with your hands. Regardless of what you serve for dessert, save room for "later." No one feels like hanky-panky when they have had too much to eat. Let your meal settle while the two of you enjoy another glass of wine, your favorite music and your dreams for the future.
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