The movie-and-dinner date routine is tired, pubs are too casual, fancy restaurants burn a hole in the pocket and there’s only so many times you can bungee jump your way to relationship excitement. Staying in works well for those in the early stages of a relationship as much as it does for those in long-term ones, and can be plenty exciting with a good attitude and set of ideas.
But just because you’re keeping it simple doesn’t mean you must take it down a notch. A night at home can be just as exclusive and delightful as anywhere else out. If you want to impress your lady and show your caring, imaginative and creative side, it’s easy to fix up a perfect night depending on the budget and things available.
Theme is Everything
Picking a theme leaves a deep impression, and at the very least will earn you serious brownie points. A theme also makes it easier to narrow down on the food and entertainment for the date, and makes way for the evening to later become an endearing memory. When in doubt, choose between common categories like movies, TV shows, time periods or countries, extra points for picking a theme based on a mutual fascination or favourite.
Set the Menu
It doesn’t matter if you prepare a whole three-course meal by yourself or keep it realistic by cooking the entrée and ordering in dessert from a service like Deliveroo, there must be something to eat that you make with your own effort, and all menu items should be decided beforehand. Of course, if the meal you want to serve is something you are aware you cannot whip up (and no shame in that!), make sure you don’t serve it in the delivery containers! Culinary arts school instructors are known to make aspiring chefs cry blood for missing a single decorative dot of sauce on the plate, but don’t worry, all you need to do is keep some utensils on hand and a couple of non-scented candles and flowers at the table to create a romantic ambiance.
There’s really no dearth of things to do that are engaging enough to distract you from the world outside. Card games, board games and puzzles aren’t a surprising choice and may even be considered childish by some, but no one who would care to judge is invited to your date night anyway. There’s plenty of variety to choose from, whether it be classic British games or newer adaptations from series like Downton Abbey. If you’re plenty bold or simply under the influence of liquid courage, karaoke works well, as do games that dig deeper, like ‘would you rather’ or ’21 questions’. If you aren’t down for unearthing information, movie and TV marathons are safe fun, as are arts and crafts activities. Even the actual preparation of the night’s meal could be a form of entertainment with a cook-off. Those interested in boozier plans can put together a mini-tasting of a selection of wine, scotch or whiskey, or experiment making cocktails and mocktails.
Select your favourite ideas, clean up your apartment, drink responsibly, and have fun without murdering your wallet.