How to Plan a Perfect Date (10 Easy Steps)

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woman with planner planning date night with spouse

Whether you’re trying to plan your first date with someone or you want to spend some quality time with your long-term partner, planning the perfect date can be tough. It sounds simple enough: Get together, go to a nice restaurant, maybe see a movie. So then why do we have so much trouble planning a nice, fun date both parties will enjoy?

We’ve created a step-by-step guide on how to overcome some of the obstacles that get in the way of planning the perfect date night in just 10 easy steps.

Lightbulb on a black chalkboard with thought bubbles around it

1. Come up with an awesome date night idea

The first step to planning your date night is to come up with an awesome date night idea. Ironically, this first step is sometimes the hardest. How many times do you go back and forth with your date or significant other? Does this sound familiar, “I don’t know, what do YOU want to do?”

Yes, sometimes figuring out what to do on your date night can seem a little daunting, but try not to overthink. Remember, the most important ingredients to the perfect date are quality couple time, spontaneity, discovery (learning something about or with each other), and connection. As long as those are present, it doesn’t really matter what you do.

That being said, if you need some help, we’ve got some ideas to help inspire you. Check out the links below!

Want to make date night fun and romantic, WITHOUT the planning? Check out some of our date night boxes.

Want to plan a date night out? Here are some off-the-wall date night ideas that easy to plan and super unique.

Rather stay at home? We even have a list of some of our favorite at-home date night ideas.

No matter what you decide to do, remember that a date is a time to either get to know a potential partner more, or reconnect with your significant other. At the end of the day, that is the most important thing.

2. Schedule your date (and stay committed)

Have you chosen you chosen your next date idea? Awesome! Now it’s time to put it on the calendar!

Discuss availability with your date to find out when you are both available. A day when you are both free for the whole day is ideal, but having just a couple of free hours works in a pinch.

For couples

An important part of date night is staying committed. Too many times, we let date night slip by until we feel it’s absolutely necessary. The truth is, having regular dates is a crucial part of building a strong relationship. In fact, couples that have consistent date nights are more likely to classify their relationship as “very happy” according to this report by the National Marriage Project.

So, how do you stay committed when life gets busy? We have so many different obligations and things to do, it can be hard. We totally get it. That’s why it’s important to plan it out ahead of time. Choose a date on the calendar, months ahead if you need to, and stick to that date, no matter what!

Do whatever you need to make sure you remember the date. Create a reminder on your phone, add it to your digital calendar, or write it down in your planner. Heck, post it to the fridge or on the mirror you use to get ready! Anything you can to remind you. Yes, date night is THAT important to your relationship.

Studies show that if you pre-plan something out, add it to your calendar, and commit to it, you are more likely to follow through.

Also make sure to keep each other accountable. Remember that you are a team, even when planning for date night! Remind each other of your date leading up and make sure you are prepared for an amazing time together!

3. Create your date itinerary

If you are planning a more complicated date night with a lot of different activities, it can be helpful to create an outline of everything you’ll need to plan for to keep you organized. This is a great time to double check operating hours of the restaurant, movie times, driving times or distances, and anything else that is time sensitive.

We are a huge proponent of spontaneity on date night (that’s how the best memories are created), but we also want to help you minimize the stress. Your planned date night doesn’t need to perfectly timed out, but showing up late for the movie or realizing the restaurant you want to go to isn’t open that day can be a bummer and take away from the most important part of date night, that quality time you spend together. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Sky with sun and clouds

4. Check weather and gather everything needed

Much like our previous step, being prepared can help you forego any stressful events that can arise.

Checking the weather if you are doing a night out can be crucial. It may not seem like that big of a deal, but stuck in the freezing cold without a sweater can be a date night killer. Or trapped in a long-sleeve shirt when it’s 100 degrees out? Yuck!

You also want to make sure you have all the items you need for your date. For example, are you going on a hike? Make sure you have the right shoes. Going to the beach? Make sure to bring sunscreen and a towel!

Creating a checklist ahead of your date and then double checking it again the day of is a great way to stay prepared. You want to make sure nothing takes away from the time you want to spend together. Your focus should not be on whether or not you are going to get blisters from your hike or if you are going to get burnt from the sun, it should be on having a good time with the person you are with. Being prepared will help that.

5. Plan out the logistics (including babysitter if you’re a parent)

Make sure you plan out the logistics the day of your date. Will you be taking a car or will you be using a ride share service? Do you need a babysitter for the little one(s)? When do you need to leave? When will you get home?

Answering these questions ahead of time will help your date experience run smoothly and can help prevent any hiccups. Especially when it comes to babysitting. Have a backup sitter or call up a family member, just in case the first is unable to watch the kids. Stay prepared and have a backup plan so you can make sure you stay committed to your date.

You can always subscribe to Crated with Love. Our monthly date night boxes are pre-planned, don’t require a babysitter, and start at only $20 a month! Just saying. 🙂

6. Stay spontaneous

Okay, everything is planned out and you both are ready to have an amazing date! Woo! The next few steps are things to think about before your date to help maximize your time together.

The first thing to think about is making sure you leave some flexibility for spontaneity. Yes, having everything planned out can keep things smooth and allow more time to be spent together, but those spontaneous moments can lead to the best memories together.

While out on your date, look for those moments. See a photo booth? Jump in and take some wacky photos together! Notice a new ice cream place neither of you have tried? Go grab a scoop!

Those spontaneous moments lead to what we call discovery. Discovery is the act of learning something new about your partner or creating new experiences with each other. It doesn’t matter if this is your first date or you’ve been together for 50 years, there is always something new to learn. These discovery moments help inspire that learning that creates a strong bond and foundation for a new relationship. They can also help break the monotony couples fall into in their relationships.

Man and woman on date having coffee and laughing

7. Find ways to engage with each other

When spending time together, make sure you stay engaged. The worst thing you can do is go through all this planning and then spend all your time on your phone or making small talk neither of you are truly interested in.

Keeping with that theme of discovery, find ways to interact and engage with each other. For example, if you are heading out to a restaurant, try coming up with some unique conversation starters to ask each other. You can check out some of our outrageous conversation starters for a little help and inspiration.

As we mentioned earlier, the most important part of a date is one-on-one interaction, so planning a date night that doesn’t have any engagement defeats the purpose.

8. Focus on the one-on-one time (AKA put away the phones)

The best part about an awesome date night is that quality time. So, to maximize that time together, eliminate all distractions. Put the phone on silent, or better yet, turn it off (If you don’t need it for emergencies, of course).

If you need to, preemptively clear out anything that needs to be taken care of. Answer all your emails, send off any texts, and tie up your work stuff before your date. That way, you can place all your focus on that one-on-one time with your date.

If you are going out to a restaurant, make sure you stay away from the TVs! Again, to make sure your date night is successful, eliminate distractions. Even just the announcers and people cheering in the background can take away from the moment.

Getting rid of the things that cause us to alter our attention away from our date or partner shows you are more invested in them. Even if only for a few minutes, that dedicated focus can be so powerful in helping you both connect with each other.

9. Collect memories to reminisce upon

Don’t forget to collect memories! Whether it’s a photo of you both, a little souvenir, or some other memento, having something to look back on can help remind you of those feelings and help inspire you to plan your next date night!

So many times, we let life go by and do not stop to remember those wonderful times with our significant others. Collecting those memories along the way can help you and your partner tangibly experience your journey together. For couples, keep those butterflies alive! And if you’re just getting started on your relationship, start creating those memories now! You’ll be glad to have them years down the road when you can look back on them and smile.

Man and woman on their first date with hands together on a table while talking about their next date

10. Plan your next date night!

So, you’ve just had an amazing date night together. What next? Plan the next one!

After the first date

Does your date sound like someone you could be in a relationship with? If so, do you want a second date with this person? End the date by discussing what next steps you both want. If they both agree with going forward, start making plans for a second date. Find another day you are both free again. By this point, you should know your date better than you did before. Use this to come up with another idea for a date you would both enjoy.

For couples in committed relationships

Date night is not a “once in a blue moon” event. To consistently strengthen your relationship, you need to invest in date night. What better way to do that than to plan the next one right after your time together?

How many date nights you plan is entirely up to you. We know that life gets hectic and those moments alone don’t come very often, but they are worth the dedication.

We suggest planning at least one night to reconnect per month. And no, we aren’t talking Netflix and chill. We are talking intimate, one-on-one time where you and your partner can laugh, talk, and connect on a deeper level, free from distractions.

Need a little extra help with date night?

If you are looking for a fun, unique, simple, and affordable way to plan your monthly date nights, we encourage you to check out our date night subscription. For just $20 a month (yes, that’s less than snacks ALONE at the movies), you and your partner will receive a date box filled with games and activities that help you laugh together and grow closer to one another. Each month, you’ll receive a new theme and a new adventure! We plan everything and provide you with everything you need. All you have to do is enjoy that time together! Click below to learn more.

Happy Dating!