Happy 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!
Emmett 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.
No 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!
The 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.
It’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.
In 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.
Our 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!)
- a fire
- our dogs (they love cuddling as much as we do)
Although 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.
Even 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.
Emmett 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!
Eventually 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.