How To Plan A Romantic Summer Al Fresco Date Night

Summer gives you the opportunity to host the most romantic date nights: Balmy evenings and dramatic sunsets create the perfect backdrop for an intimate al fresco dinner for two. Whether you host this outdoor date night in your backyard, or roam further afield and spend a night sleeping under the stars somewhere away from home, here's how to make it the most beautiful dinner date you've ever shared together.

How to Plan a Romantic Summer Al Fresco Date Night (Slideshow)

The centerpiece of every al fresco date night should be a campfire of some description, whether it's an actual bonfire, a fire pit, or a grill. Cooking outside over an open flame will instantly make the meal feel unique and special. Cooking your dinner together doesn't need to be complicated and stressful, simply grill your meat over the flames, and enjoy it with a simple salad and some crunchy bread — understated homemade meals are always the best ones. And of course no date night spent cozied up around a campfire would be complete without ending dinner with toasty, gooey s'mores.

Flickering candles, fresh flowers, a blanket to wrap around yourselves when the cool of the night sets in, and an endless supply of your favorite wine will make the most romantic setting for your date. Whether you're dining at home or away, make sure you're using proper plates, knives, and forks, rather than paper and plastic versions, to make the evening feel sophisticated and indulgent. Always be sure to plan your menu carefully so that it meets the perfect balance between simple and well-prepared, between made-ahead and charred, fresh from the grill.

Read on to find out how to prepare, how to set up, and what to cook for a romantic al fresco, dinner date: Don't let summer slip away without enjoying many evenings like this.