Date Night : Al Fresco Dining At Home

Date Night : Al Fresco Dining At Home - roomfortuesday.comHappy Friday, friends! I thought a ‘Date Night’ series would be fun to share! Emmett and I try to make time for date night once a week, and if you and your significant other are looking for ideas, I figured this series could inspire some fresh ideas. Normally, our date nights are outside of our home… we’ll choose a fun activity or a new restaurant to try, but given our current climate (social distancing), the first few posts in this series will be centered at home. Date nights at home are still pretty fun! For us, the point of date night is to do or try something out of the norm, while making memories and spending quality time together. Although it snowed yesterday, I’m seeing temperatures in the solid 60’s for the next week or two, and hopefully temperatures will continue to climb here in Utah. This weekend our plan is to make a special dinner and setup a little al fresco dining situation at home in one of our outdoor living spaces (the balcony bistro table seems most feasible at this point). Click through for inspiration and tips on dining outdoors for a fun date night at home! 

Date Night : Al Fresco Dining At Home - roomfortuesday.comEmmett and I are both outdoorsy people and love spending time outside. At every single one of our homes, we’ve made it a priority to set up an outdoor dining space. At our first home, it was the front porch. At our next home, it was the veranda / carport. At our current house, it’s the patio dining space and small bistro area on the balcony.

Date Night : Al Fresco Dining At Home - roomfortuesday.comNo matter what type of outdoor space you have, it’s really easy to throw together a quick dining setup using what you have. Before Emmett and I purchased outdoor dining furniture, we used our folding camping table and chairs. We even had Thanksgiving around our camping table one year because we didn’t have a dining set. The point is to get outside and share a meal in a unique environment, and break your normal dinner routine!

Date Night : Al Fresco Dining At Home - roomfortuesday.comThe older we get, the more we appreciate thoughtful, GOOD dinner dates together… good food, good environment, and good conversation. We’ve been together for 15 years now and have had plenty of interesting food and dishes, but it always feels special when one of us cooks a meal for the other. It’s such a kind gesture and I’m one of those romantic people that believes a lot love goes into making food for someone.

Date Night : Al Fresco Dining At Home - roomfortuesday.comIt’s also fun to brainstorm the dinner menu together and tackle it together. We like to plan in advance, which kind of builds up the anticipation. When dining outside, Emmett really enjoys grilling, while I put together a cocktail and appetizer for us to enjoy. Once the entree is finished, I’ll bring out some sides or dessert. For date nights, we like to go all out, try new food, or make old favorites… even if we’re at home- we treat “date night” like a special occasion.

Date Night : Al Fresco Dining At Home - roomfortuesday.comIn addition to good food, we also like having special craft cocktails or a nice bottle of wine or beer (depending on what type of food we’re having). Thinking of the entire menu makes it feel more like a “restaurant” experience and what our typical date night outside of the home would look like. We usually like to try a little of everything, so we would normally order an appetizer, drinks, dessert, etc. Date night at home is no different… instead of just the typical entree, we try to make it more of an experience and less like “we’re just eating food together” like normal.

Date Night : Al Fresco Dining At Home - roomfortuesday.comOur personal favorites for a successful and cozy date night dinner outside?…

  • a good meal (obviously)
  • good drinks (another given… shake up a craft cocktail or open a special bottle of wine!)
  • candles
  • a fire
  • blankets
  • our dogs (they love cuddling as much as we do)
  • music

Date Night : Al Fresco Dining At Home - roomfortuesday.comAlthough we can’t leave our homes right now, it’s easy to put in effort to make your S/O feel special. From cooking their favorite meal and lighting candles to making a dinner playlist and eating outside, you can think of lots of little ways to have a proper date night without leaving your home. I’ve also found that our date nights take my mind off of the current situation. With so much stress and negative media, it’s a nice escape, celebrating your person and enjoying quality time together.

Date Night : Al Fresco Dining At Home - roomfortuesday.comEven though the weather is still chilly here in Utah, we’re totally fine to wear thick sweaters, cover our lap in blankets, start a fire, and enjoy at least an hour or two outside around the table. The perks of our current weather? The bugs aren’t out yet! So while it may be brisk, I’m welcoming the opportunity to get outside, get fresh air, make memories, and do something a little different this weekend.

Date Night : Al Fresco Dining At Home - roomfortuesday.comEmmett and I are both hard workers who like to keep busy, but we also know how to have fun and relax. We’ve been doing much better this past year or two balancing our work life with our personal life. Now that many people are working from home, it’s easy to let the two blend together. Don’t forget to enjoy the happy moments, make time for fun, and celebrate small occasions- even if it’s just weekly date night at home!

Date Night : Al Fresco Dining At Home - roomfortuesday.comEventually this series should get more interesting (I’m thinking kayaking picnics, concerts, food trucks, brewery tours, and all sorts of things we love doing), but for now date nights at home are pretty relevant! Who wants to partake in a date night outside this weekend (if weather allows?). We’re definitely going to! We’ll bundle up, snuggle under blankets, and turn up the fire. We haven’t done this since last fall, so I’m really looking forward to it! Everyone have a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you back here next week.

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  1. Thank you for this! I went to bed out of sorts last night. Our stay at home order in Wisconsin just got extended another month. There are so many blessings in this experience, but also things to mourn. I was mourning date night, but now you’ve inspired me to make it happen anyway! I’ll just have to figure out how to occupy the kids….

    1. It was a tough week, wasn’t it Mindy? At least I felt “off”. We’re going to get through this together! Maybe the kids would enjoy a movie, so you can sneak outside for dinner? Or once they’re tucked into bed- maybe dessert and drinks outside could be fun and romantic?! Give it a try. I hope you have a good weekend filled with lots of sunshine. xox

  2. What a delightful idea for a series! We’ve never really been eat outside people, which is funny because it’s my first choice when we go to a restaurant. Your outdoor dining areas always look lovely and inviting! I’ve been cooking lots of different recipes with the extra time at home, but I like your idea of doing the whole shebang-drinks, appetizers, dessert! Heaven knows I love planning a menu! We have a standing Pizza Friday which I hold sacred, but, to be honest, there’s been a little more funk than fun at our house this week. Time to shake it off. Maybe choose a playlist…and relocate my “classroom.” Have a sunny, rejuvenating weekend everyone!💖😎

    1. You should try it at home… just for fun- the whole shebang! You’ll be so proud- we bought a pizza peel and are getting serious about homemade pizzas, haha! We’re going to adopt your “pizza Friday”. I think that’s what we’re doing tonight, actually :) If you have any amazing recipes, please send them my way! This was a funky week over here too. The weather really brought my mood down and cabin fever really set in. Hoping to shake it out and snap out of it this weekend. I feel ya, friend! Have a happy Friday and a lovely weekend. Happy thoughts. xox

  3. Yay to date night and dining outside! We definitely love our outdoor space and actually it’s a big part of why we moved. We downsized our home but upsized our yard so we could have a much larger outdoor area. Most of the entertaining we like to do is outside. As soon as the warm weather hits usually around May we spend very limited time inside and practically live outside right up to early November. I love all your outdoor spaces Sarah! Your patio and bedroom balcony are just gorgeous 😍 the patio and back garden in your previous home was stunning as well. Can’t wait to see the reveal of your neighbors outdoor project. So incredibly awesome of you guys to create an oasis for them outside. I think everyone should have one. Beyond kind and generous! Cheers to Al Fresco dining and happy date night 🥂❤️

    1. I feeling like having a nice, large outdoor living space is such a game changer! I’m so glad you’re loving your new place, Colleen :) It sounds dreamy! We’re just like you… we’d much rather be hanging outside! We’re just waiting for the furniture to arrive, so I can style and photograph the neighbor’s deck. All of the shipments were delayed due to Coronavirus. Can’t wait to share though! Have a wonderful weekend!! xox

  4. Happy Friday! Your outdoor spaces are so cozy and beautiful! I love that you have the balcony (hello, breakfast each morning for me, lol) and the outdoor dining. Making the effort to spruce up the backyard with candles, music and blankets sounds divine!
    I am with you. A space outside is the best. Right now the bugs are minimal so we are enjoying our patio a lot!
    It’s Margaritas and Mexican food for us tonight. Cheers to a nice al fresco dining at home! Also, hope your weather is better for the weekend. Hugs Sarah!

  5. I love your outdoor spaces; they are simple, classic, and elegant! We have two patios in our yard; one designated as “the adult patio”, the other is for all things kid. Our adult one is getting the upgrade this spring/summer. That’s the one with the container beds that need repairing and planting, and where the new pergola will live! I’m super excited to finally have a proper space to put together! And your date night idea has me dreaming of the first date night on the “new” patio! We instituted a family breakfast on Sundays awhile back; we choose the menu in advance, light candles, set the table properly, play some kid friendly music and just spend the morning in each other’s company. I think I’ll have to try this as a date night outside after the kids go down. Maybe that will become a new tradition for us as well! I certainly would love to spend more time dining outside and enjoying the views from the yard! Cheers to your date night friend! And fingers crossed for the warmth to come and turn the funk around! Happy Friday!

    1. Thanks so much, Lauren! I love that you have two patios and that one is more kid friendly, while the other is for adults… SO smart! You have me thinking we need to start a Sunday breakfast ritual :) that sounds lovely. Maybe it’s time I bust the waffle maker back out! Happy Friday to you- have a wonderful weekend with your fam. xox

  6. Amy Pease says:

    I love this post! My husband and I have two young daughters (5 and 3) who are not always easy dinner partners so we’ve been trying to have picnics with them on warm days (not many of those this past week in Wisco) by the pond across from our house. Working from home has given us (okay, mostly me) the opportunity to cook nice things and drink a little booze in the evening. This post is inspiring me to plan a picnic with kid AND grown up friendly food/drink/accessories and make an outing of it to some less-traveled nature spot. Let me tell you, planning activities to keep the girls occupied is CLUTCH to maintaining sanity and having fun in what I’ve been (jokingly) calling The End Times. Stay well :-)

    1. Yes!! I love that idea, Amy… a picnic for the kids and a grown up date for you and your husband! Everyone gets some fresh air and fun. The End Times- I had to laugh!! Haha! We had another earthquake here yesterday and I’m just trying to laugh through it. Hope you’re staying healthy as well :) Have a great weekend! xox

  7. YES to FRI pizza night!! Great idea, Peggi. Before we sold our place, Friday nights started with HH on the back patio (fire pit on if it was chilly-so miss that since Spring is so late in getting her and staying put!), then moving inside for pizza a movie while cuddled up on the couch with our cat, Callie. Really missing those times, especially Callie since she’s been staying w/ my brother’s family out your way, since January and because all the days are running into each other. Somebody said there are only three days in a week now – yesterday, today and tomorrow. LOL. Gotta laugh about it right?

    BUT your post has inspired me, Sarah. Just because we’re not in our home, doesn’t mean we can’t pick up old traditions or create new ones. Pizza and a movie in front of the fireplace on this chilly Friday night, with cocktails, of course, sounds just about perfect.

    I hear, you, too, on the weather out here. It was hard getting out for our walks this week, but we actually went out while it was snowing yesterday afternoon and it was beautiful. So quiet AND we didn’t have to dodge many other walkers since the weather keep most people inside! Hopefully, though the weather next week will cooperate and we can enjoy more time outside. Enjoy your weekend everyone!

  8. Great post! Just wondering where your patio heater is from?

    1. Hi Lynne, you can find all of the sources on my “SHOP” pages… that one we purchased at our previous home, so it’s under that tab: I tried to keep resources very organized on that page for easy access.