A Matchmaker’s Guide: 5 At-Home Date Night Ideas For Couples On A Budget

As a professional matchmaker to busy entrepreneurs, I have to be very creative when planning safe, fun and unique date night ideas. With the pandemic’s end still uncertain, many couples have had to sacrifice their traditional date night to stay home. Here in Toronto, and like many cities around the world, we’ve moved back into phase two where bars, clubs, gyms and restaurants are closed for dining and all activities. Who’s rushing to go to the theatre or wanting to sit inside a crowded restaurant right now?

However, date night is still just as important, if not even more so during this stressful time, for your relational health. As a professional matchmaker and dating coach, it makes my job more challenging having to call in advance to many places checking on hours of operation, rules and pandemic protocols. It takes a toll on the romance and spontaneity of dating right now. 

Dates serve as designated time alone together and are a crucial aspect of being romantically linked to your partner. I’ve always advised my matchmaking clients to always go on second dates, as first dates can often be difficult to tell if chemistry and compatibility is present when you’re both typically very nervous and may not be yourself. Although it may seem insignificant, going on dates can help ensure you and your significant other stays in communication with each you as well as to continue to explore deeper connections. Ultimately the goal for dating is to have fun, build closeness and spend quality time with your partner. 

And, during this pandemic, how do you do plan date night without the ability to leave your home? There are plenty of ways; you have to get creative :) 

Here are five unique ideas for a romantic (and budget-friendly) date night at home:

A “lights off” night

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What’s more romantic than spending time with your significant other in the firelight with no distractions? During stay-at-home orders, you’ve likely burned yourselves out on Zoom and Netflix, and constant electronic distractions can start to wear on your patience with your partner. So instead, turn it all off and enjoy each other’s company! Pretend the power’s out and give your relationship a little digital detox. 

Light candles, start a fire in your fireplace and find creative ways to have fun without the internet. Whether you pull out a board game, cuddle, roast s’ mores, or read together, a little quiet time with just the two of you can be surprisingly romantic and help cut any barriers between you. And this would be a great time to talk about larger-picture topics that are different than your everyday conversations. Consider using the New York Times’s “36 Questions That Lead to Love” guide to exploring new discussions that will help you understand each other even better.

Use this time as a respite from the busyness of everyday life. It’s an opportunity to focus on your partner and relationship. The limited distractions should help you support your bond and reignite your romantic spark. 

A unique wine/beer tasting

Best At Home Date Night Ideas - Wine Tasting
Best At Home Date Night Ideas – Wine Tasting

Missing breweries or wineries? Trying new things together, especially when including alcohol or food, is always a great way to get closer and have some fun. Grab some of the most unusual-looking bottles at the store, or take a local focus and pick those from nearby breweries or vineyards, then have a tasting with crackers and cheese to determine your favourites. Alternatively, you could make a game of it by choosing your favourites and having a blind tasting. 

If you’re more of a wine enthusiast, you could also join a virtual, professional wine tasting course that guides you through specific tastings for a more structured night. There are plenty of quality options to get you started that won’t break the bank.

Whichever route you choose, you and your partner will have a great time experimenting together, loosening up, and enjoying a new experience together. Introducing an unusual event like this into your relationship can help liven up your routine and expand your horizons outside of your four walls.

A cinematic movie screening

Best At Home Date Night Ideas - Movie Night Date Idea
Best At Home Date Night Ideas – Movie Night Date Idea

Don’t just fall into the comfortable sweatpants and “Netflix and Chill” trap; put a little extra effort in and bring the movie theatre to your living room for some added romance! First, set the mood. Buy your favourite theatre, candy, pop some popcorn, and darken the room. Then, make it comfy. Purchase some fairy lights to create a warm atmosphere and be sure you’ve invested in comfortable pillows, and a couch you can relax into that’s big enough for you and your partner to cuddle up together. Finally, pick a movie neither of you has seen so you can experience it together. It doesn’t have to be the latest release that’s streaming for $30, either. Watch any films you’ve both wanted to see, so you are streaming for free! You enjoy it together without the expense. 

For some added fun, you can make a game out of the story or place bets on the plot; the winner chooses when to move things into the bedroom. 

It will help liven up a fairly routine activity and turn your living room into a romantic playground. Viewing something new together can also encourage you both to open up and spur mentally-stimulating conversations that can bring you closer together.

A sensual spa day

Image Source: https://www.shesawstyle.com/at-home-spa-day/

Were you looking to spice up your love life? Try a little couple’s self-care by creating a spa without the sticker price right in your bedroom. You don’t need a massage therapist’s license or table to offer your partner a little relaxation, just a cosy atmosphere and focused touch. Set the mood with atmospheric, love-themed candles and dimmed light, get cosy by slipping into some bathrobes, and test out some different oils to ensure a comfortable massage for your loved one.

Just be sure to communicate with each other the entire time. What’s working, what isn’t, what feels good, and what doesn’t? You’ll both have the best experience and even opens the potential for making this a part of a routine.

You’re adding a great way to physically get closer with your partner in a new and exciting way. Intimacy is an essential factor in a healthy relationship, so finding fresh ways to encourage it can be a great way to keep enjoying each other’s company while stuck at home.

A cooking competition

Image Source: https://www.thechefandthedish.com/couples-cooking-class-and-datenight

For those of you who are competitive, or who find competition flirtatious, this date idea might be more your speed. Challenge each other to create the best dish using a specific ingredient and see who comes up (and executes!) the best final product. Try to use a component that’s tricky and something you both like so you can get creative but still enjoy the cooked meal– think pickled red onion, olives, or brie. Or, focus instead on the use of aphrodisiacs like dark chocolate and figs for an added level of sexiness. Then, throw on a fun cooking playlist to keep spirits high as you begin working and rate each other’s dishes at the end. 

Studies show couples believe creating something together, specifically cooking together, helps foster communication and bring partners together. It’s a great way to playfully interact with one another and work together while also creating a yummy meal.

Unfortunately, it can be easy to slip into bad relational habits while stuck at home. But use this as a reminder to get creative when spending time with your loved one at home so you can work on your relationship and have fun together without breaking the bank! 

If you’re looking for even more relationship coaching tips, contact me for personalized support. I’d be happy to chat about our services and the ways I can help you meet your specific relationship goals.

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