Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our fourteenth wedding anniversary. Each year we mark the day by doing something special. Sometimes we do something big but most years it’s just a dinner out. This year we had originally planned to have a big present to each other- we were going to drive from L.A. to San Francisco along the Pacific Coast Highway. We planned the trip in early 2020 thinking Covid would most likely be over– Ha! As summer turned to fall it became very clear that travel would not be happening. So we thought we’d maybe go away for a weekend locally, my sister offered to generously lend her condo to us. We watched as the Covid numbers rose drastically over the past two weeks in our part of the country. Our anniversary would be celebrated at home.
My poor husband who loves to travel, is having a difficult time not being able to see the world right now. On top of it all, yesterday Chicago announced that people from Indiana are not allowed into the city right now. We are within the Chicagoland area but live across the border in Indiana. While this might not seem like a big deal, we do a lot of the cultural activities that the city has to offer, along with shopping and dining. All of this being said, I realized we would have an anniversary unlike any other. I was going to have to put my romance writer’s brain into overdrive to make a special romantic day. That being said, where most people I know are emotionally exhausted from staying at home and our new way of life.
So here is a romance writer’s guide to the perfect romantic evening…
Start with the menu!
This is the one element that may take some pre-planning so start here. Think about what your mate likes to eat and go from there. As it was my wedding anniversary we recreated the dinner that we ate at our wedding. Here is our menu for our romantic evening:
Cheese Board & Cocktails
Filet of Beef
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Steamed Spring Peas
To Drink: Best quality Red Wine
Chocolate Cake (My husband’s favorite)
Now, Set the Mood!
Candles are your friend. I went through my house to the rooms I knew our romantic evening would take place in, setting candles ahead of time, and a lighter in each room. This gave an intimate glow and keep the lighting dim and cozy.
Don’t forget your music! You can’t have a romantic evening without it. I am such a huge fan of Frank Sinatra and music in his genre so this was the soundtrack to most of our evening. We finished our evening with Nora Jones, as one of her songs was our wedding song. We danced after our dinner in our kitchen amongst the candle light- believe me this was incredibly romantic.
The Little Touches:
So I’m not evening going to begin to say when the last time I was dressed up was. I used to wear heels, and make-up almost everyday in my pre-covid life. But with furloughs, and job losses my daily uniform is most commonly a pair of leggings and sweatshirt. Make-up- ha! I haven’t done a full face of make-up in months.
So prior to our evening starting, I made myself a martini, put on some Frank and put in some extra effort for our night. A full face of make-up, a dress, complete with heels. I even put on my wedding pearls. I had fun putting myself together, and I found that it actually gave me butterflies. I was excited for our at home date.
When I came downstairs, my husband was nibbling at the cheese board and his jaw fell. I didn’t tell him I had planned to do anything special. I walked around the room and lit the candles and turned on the music. The effect was immediate. My husband who is a t-shirt and jeans kinda guy excused himself and returned equally dressed for the occasion- it was a nice surprise.
But what about the kids?
We have two school aged children at home with us. So you must be wondering how that worked? I explained to them what a wedding anniversary was and I showed them wedding pictures. They got it… sort of. I’m all about keeping it real so I’ll show my hand. There was a bribery as well. I fed our children dinner early and told them each they could watch their iPads until 9:30 pm. They were thrilled. There was also the promise of cake. I told each of them if they stayed in their rooms for the evening they’d be rewarded with a slice of cake when the hubs and I had some. Deal done! For the most part they did really well too. We were even presented with a card while we had our cocktail hour, and the kids finished up their dinner, in a separate room.
Keep your Partner in Mind:
My husband and I have been together for a while an now and I know what he likes and doesn’t. I am confident in saying he knows my likes and dislikes as well. When you’re trying to plan a romantic evening, keep you partner in mind. Pro tip: the more you try to make the evening special for your partner- the more special it will be for you in return.
Upon reflection, I can honestly say yesterday was one of the best anniversaries we’ve had so far. Sure, it wasn’t on the beach of the Pacific Ocean, but boy it was something really special. I am so grateful for a spouse who was as committed to making our night special. I realized this morning, that while we may be stuck at home for the foreseeable future, it doesn’t have to be boring. I think we’ll do an at home date night more often. Sure, we may not pull out all of the stops but just enjoying each other is special.