With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, you’re probably thinking about something romantic to do with your significant other without needing a second mortgage. Well, an intimate dinner at home for two may just not be a bad idea. If planned right, it can almost feel like you’re in a nice cozy Bistro on the Champs Elysees. Below is a list of things to keep in mind when planning your dinner:

An invitation – Instead of telling your mate about your Valentine’s Day over the phone, why not surprise them by sending them an invite; this will get them excited about your dinner plans. You can also include flowers with the invite if the budget permits.

The outfit – Don’t wear your regular sweatshirts and jeans, get glammed up, your outfit should fit the occasion. Just like you won’t wear a sweatshirt to a fancy restaurant in town, you should avoid wearing that to your dinner. You don’t have to buy a new outfit either. Guys, you can’t go wrong with a nice sports jacket on a shirt and pair of slacks. Ladies, how about the little black dress in your closet that’s dying to be worn.

Ambiance – The Ambiance has got to be great. Bistro tables are usually small and are the perfect setting for a romantic dinner. Dim the lights and have some nice scented candles all around the room. Set the table with linens, nice dishes and cutlery. Don’t forget a nice centerpiece on the table.

Music – This is a very important aspect of the dinner, it sets the mood. You simply can’t go wrong with soft slow music playing in the background.

The Meal – Take the time out to research recipes online or buy a cook book. It’s still nice to impress your mate even though you’re working on a low budget. Check out www.marthastewart.com/food for nice and easy recipes.

This may not be the easiest way to plan a romantic dinner compared to eating out because of the work involved, but it sure will save you some money and give you one of the most memorable Valentines you’ve ever had. Good food, great company, candles, flowers, mood music, black dress. Hope you have the whole house to yourself!