Keep it ultra simple
We know you want steak, but make a salad and pasta. Avoid spaghetti and other pasta that comes in a long box. It’s harder to eat—and messier (she hates that) — than bite-size penne or ziti.

Prepare ahead of time
With the exception of the pasta, have the entire meal and table ready before she gets there. Plan to eat at least 30 minutes after her arrival. (Remember, it takes 15 minutes just to heat the water for the pasta in the first place.)

Do your homework
Place a vase of her favorite flowers on the table. Splurge for a large bunch—a dozen is good. Also, have her drink of choice on hand. Both will show you’ve been paying attention, which will benefit you at the end of the night.

Light candles
They’re more flattering than a bulb. On the table, go unscented; you don’t want to disturb the flavor of the food. In the bathroom and everywhere else (because you can’t have too many), use a subtle scent, such as vanilla.