- Lay Out a Beautiful Table
Instead of dining where you always do, choose a new spot. Move a small table in front of the fireplace or into the center of your living room. If the weather permits where you live, go out onto a porch. If you can sit with a beautiful view of mountains or city lights, it will seem very special.
Use placemats that you've chosen just for this occasion. Gather some sheer fabric in the center of the table. Or choose a beautiful red tablecloth. Layer with sheer fabrics on top and add ribbons or bows. On this day, your color scheme should be focused more on the holiday than your home's decor.
Romance is the theme of the day, so you should decorate your table with flowers, candles, flower petals, or heart-shaped glitter and candies. You can focus on red, pink, silver, gold, or white for your color scheme.
This is the day to use your prettiest dishes. Everything should look "pretty" and romantic. (Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT, use paper plates, even if they have hearts on them!) Get out your best dinnerware and enjoy it. Many discount and department stores have seasonal dishes. This would be a fun time to purchase just two red plates for the table.
Add some silver touches with sparkling polished silver flatware, candlesticks, trays, or serving pieces.
Don't forget fresh flowers! Place a dramatic arrangement in the center of the table or place a bud vase with flowers and greens at each place setting. A potted plant looks wonderful, too. Wrap the pot in pretty fabric or a decorative napkin, tied with festive ribbon.
Add a special touch to the napkins with a red, pink, silver, or gold bow. Tuck a beautiful flower under the bow. See what each flower means and choose the right one.
If you've chosen a special gift for your sweetheart, place it on the table where they'll sit. Include a note of love.
- Time for Dinner
This is the day that you should prepare your sweetheart's favorite dishes as an expression of your love. If you need inspiration for a special dinner menu, see "Setting the Mood with Food" from About's Entertaining Guide, who presents romantic menus and recipes especially for Valentine's Day.
You will not want to spend the evening in the kitchen! Plan your meal so that you can cook the meal ahead of time. Prepare the salads, cover with plastic, and put them in the refrigerator. Have the dinner plates warming in the oven so the entree stays hot.
If you're really not much of a cook, there's nothing to worry about. Most markets have gourmet kitchens with delicious carry-out entrees and side dishes. Be sure to serve the food on your finest china.
Serve a sparkling red or pink beverage, either alcoholic or non-alcoholic, in tall, delicate champagne flutes. Embellish the flutes with a pretty flower tied on with ribbon. You might want to serve the drinks on a tray with ice and special napkins.
Dress everything up! Add parsley to whipped potatoes, tie green beans with a thin slice of red pepper, place a colorful fruit slice next to the meat, pile crispy onion slivers on the plate, or add a broiled fresh tomato to the plate. Anything red works great for this day.
Today is not the day to skip dessert! After all, it's special! If you don't have time to create something fancy, choose a dramatic pastry from a bakery, swirl whipped cream onto fresh fruit, or choose yummy, rich ice cream with a delicious sauce. Top with swirls of shaved chocolate, make chocolate leaves, or garnish with a mint leaf.
As you get in the mood for creating a special Valentine's Day, you'll be amazed how many fun ideas pop up. With romance in the air, the sky's the limit!