Romance, Party of Two

While stepping out to a special restaurant is always appreciated, sometimes staying in and preparing a beautiful meal means so much more. To go the extra mile and set the mood for a romantic dinner neither of you will soon forget, follow my foolproof guide to a swoon-worthy at home dinner for two.

1. Pick a place you don’t regularly dine in so the night feels unlike any other. If you usually dine in the kitchen or in front of the tv (oh we all do it!) set the fancy dining room table if you have one. Or, if weather permits, the backyard or patio is one of my favorites. You can also always turn an extra room or garage into a private dining space just for the night.

Image via Home Depot

2. When setting the table, go all out. Use the fancy dishes. Properly set the silverware and use nice napkins. It’s all about the small touches.

Image via Elizabeth Anne Designs

3. The décor: Flowers are essential — especially if it’s Valentines Day. Leave the sunflowers behind; instead think roses, hydrangea, lilies. I appreciate subtle personal touches such as using both your initials stitched on the napkins, etched into the wine glasses, or incorporated with the dessert. For new relationships, a simple XO will do if you’re not “there” yet.

Image via The Wedding Chicks

4. If there’s a particular meal you once really enjoyed together or if your partner has a favorite food, go with that. If you’re not the most skilled cook — practice this one before hand and maybe have a backup plan just in case (frozen pizza, anyone?) Always include a dessert to follow dinner because… DESSERT! This is also a sweet opportunity to bake something themed for Valentines Day (like these Strawberry Heart Macarons!).

If you really want to go the extra mile, hire a personal chef to do the heavy lifting. If that’s out of the budget, consider contacting a local culinary school. For a fraction of the price a student will whip up something delish.

Click here for the recipe.

5. For a romantic ambience, lighting is key. Dim any regularly used lights, get the fireplace going, light some candles (no need to go crazy, a few is just fine), and if you’re dining outside or in an unconventional space, hang some twinkling lights.

Image via.

6. Choose music that is true to your and your partner’s preferences but don’t let it be distracting. Anything too loud or wild will work against the romantic zen. I like to create playlists filled with acoustic versions of pop and rock songs I usually jam out to.

Add to the ambiance with this adorable Crosley record player.

7. Even though you’re staying in, dress as if you’re going somewhere special. Read: No yoga pants. Get dolled up, put on perfume, and allow yourself to feel amazing. It will not go unnoticed!

8. No televisions. No cell phones. Period.

Let me know how it goes — I want to hear about the special touches you add to your fancy night in!


Julianne Hough
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Julianne Hough

Julianne Hough is just trying to be a nice person who dances as often as possible, usually in public. She recently wifed up to NHL star Brooks Laich and is the proud dog-mom of two pups, Lexi & Harley (they’re the real brains behind everything).
Julianne Hough
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  • Christina

    Great ideas, Julianne! One Valentine’s Day, my hubby and I had our own Melting Pot (chocolate fondue) experience at home. We melted the chocolate, and then dipped all kinds of yummy foods like fruit, brownie bites and other goodies in the chocolate. It was awesome! 😀

  • Madison

    We ordered live maine lobsters to make ourselves. I like the idea of dressing up and decorating a bit.

  • Kate

    Love this! This is the perfect guideline!…. especially the no phone rule.

  • Andrea

    Love all your advice. And I will try it.

  • Julia Keane

    The pictures are beautiful.

  • Agustina Castro

    I truly loved all your tips Jules! Although I’m single I’ll take this into account for some future occasion ???? THANK YOU ❤️❤️❤️