So you have your perfectly prepared steak (from my prior post) and your healthy sides, like spinach sautéed in olive oil along with fingerling potatoes and a fresh, colorful salad. The food is plated up and ready to go. But wait! We need to set the mood. The right ambiance turns food into an “experience.” And don’t you want your significant other to feel like the dinner is an experience since you put a lot of time and thought into it?
Here are a couple of tips for an ambiance worthy of your fabulous dinner.
Empty the dishwasher. Romantic, right? If the dishes in the dishwasher are clean, empty them before you sit down to dinner. You don’t want to have a disaster of a kitchen after the meal and clean up will be a cinch if you can put the dirty dishes in the empty dishwasher. You want to spend your time doing “other things” after dinner.
Dim the lights. A dimmer is probably the most important element for ambiance. Sometimes I spend 10 minutes figuring out the perfect lighting before having people over (this may be a little OCD on my part).
Light the candles. This is a given. Just please don’t light scented candles. They mask the aroma of the amazing dinner you just plated up! Mercury tealights are inexpensive, create an inviting glow and make your table beautiful. I like West Elm’s.
Arrange the flowers. This is probably more for women (speaking generally, most men don’t care about the floral centerpiece). To me, it’s the finishing touch to my table. My Grandmother owned a flower shop for over 25 years, so I appreciate arrangements. There is a simple way to make any bouquet amazing (even those with baby’s breath). Cut the flowers down to the edge of the vase and trim the majority of the stalk leaves. This makes any arrangement appear fuller, last longer, look professional and doesn’t block the view between your man and you at the table.
Load the Playlist. Many use Pandora, Spotify or iTunes, so instead of a playlist, here are some of my station suggestions. After you create your stations, just put on shuffle. The thing about music is that it doesn’t have to be slow to be romantic. Be ecclectic. This is a dinner party on a small-scale. These are my personal preferences, just be sure to mix it up.
Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs
John Lee Hooker
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Iron & WIne
The Black Keys
I’d love to hear your station suggestions for a romantic playlist.