A candlelit dinner is a lovely way to celebrate an anniversary, but instead of reserving a table at a local restaurant, surprise her with a candlelit dinner at home. This is something to try even if you are not a confident chef because your time and effort will show your sweetheart just how much you love her, particularly if she rarely sees you cook. It also means that you have more money free to spend on a gift that they can enjoy throughout the year and beyond.
On your anniversary, it is important that you present a gift to your beloved. Whilst preparing a surprise dinner is a lovely present, a permanent token of your affection is also needed. There are many anniversary gift ideas for her to choose from, but a gift that she would never justify buying for herself, but you know she would love, is the sort of gift you want to buy. This could be a rosebush for your garden, a piece of jewellery or meaningful home décor that each symbolise your love for each other.
If you are new to cooking or are likely to have had a long day before preparing dinner, choose some easy recipes that are romantic and taste great such as steamed lobster served with butter, or if you are really stuck for time, choose to make just one course from scratch and buy in the others. There are many easy recipes, with some desserts that require minimal to no cooking like chocolate-dipped strawberries.
Don’t feel that your meal has to be eaten in one sitting. Oysters with prosecco mignonette could start your evening, even before you start cooking your main course and dessert can be taken to the boudoir.
Choose your favourite dish or try out a new dish you have been curious to try. More people are trying vegetarian options, so try the magenta coloured creamy beetroot linguine with walnuts and feta or stick with a whole roasted chicken with your favourite trimmings. Eat whatever you want, because this is a day for you to treat yourselves.
To make it a surprise, start planning early. Tell your better half that you have a surprise planned and will be taking care of all arrangements, including getting children to a sleepover with friends or family so you have the night and your home to yourselves.
On the day itself, see if you can leave work early to pick up the ingredients for what you want to cook, plus all the other goodies you want for the evening. This will allow you extra time to get yourself and the house ready and will ensure you will be more relaxed to enjoy the romance of the evening.
Greet your sweetheart with a glass of bubbly and offer to run her a bath so she can relax. Let her join you in the kitchen to watch you cooking and use this as a chance to catch up.
There are some fun dessert ideas to enjoy later in the evening. One of the most fun is chocolate fondue. It is entirely your choice what foods to dip, though strawberries are usually top of the list. Foods to dip that have texture and a mild flavour are the best choices, to include pretzels, marshmallows and bananas. You can experiment to find your new favourite combination. If chocolate is not a favourite, try whipped cream as a dip.
A less messy alternative would be a box of chocolate truffles, which are easy to make at home. Not to be confused with bonbons, truffles have a chocolate ganache centre coated in chocolate, cocoa powder or chopped toasted nuts, usually spherical, but you can make them conical, or curved shape.
For a surprise dinner, ditch the leisurewear for clothes that make you look and feel good. Create a romantic ambience with dimmed lights and candles of different heights and colours to add depth to your décor. Add a single rose in a stem vase in the centre of the table.
Turn off the television and other devices other than whatever you choose for your music playlist. Organise the kids to have a sleepover and tidy the house so that when you choose music that includes the first dance song at your wedding, you can get up and dance. Also, choose music that can be played in the background whilst you talk.
Alycia Gordan is a freelance writer who loves to read and write articles on healthcare technology, fitness and lifestyle. She is a tech junkie and divides her time between travel and writing. You can find her on Twitter: @meetalycia