You can skip the hassle of reservations and crowds, overpriced appetizers and traffic this Valentine’s Day by nixing the restaurant and setting up a romantic rendezvous at home. In fact, the person you’re trying to swoon will be more blown away by personal touches you thought ahead to create and include than by your ability to use Yelp. We promise. First and foremost, you need to get comfortable with the fact that this holiday is all about the cheese. Not so much gouda or provolone, but sappy, sentimental shows of affection that are otherwise prone to being made fun of, but fit right in on February 14. Below, a three-step plan to set up a night of seduction.

  • Start with setting the scene: Turn off those awful overhead lights in your house. Instead, light his or her path with candles, of course. But since you’d rather not invite the fire department to join you, stick with flameless candles that have no risk of tipping over and setting anything ablaze. Amazing Flameless Candle’s Ivory Tapers, with their dripped wax effect on the outside, are perfect, and they flicker just like the real thing. Place them on the table, mantle place, nearby bookshelves or even leading up the path to the front door, if you’re feeling so emboldened.
  • Flowers. You could potentially blow your budget here and fill his or her entire living room up with vases of red roses, but for those of us not living in a romantic comedy, one bouquet in a vase will also do the trick. Extra points earned if you find out his or her favorite flower ahead of time. Make it extra Valentines-ish by putting a narrow vase of flowers (and water) inside a wider vase. Fill the space between the two vases with those adorable conversation hearts. Your arrangement is now adorable and edible.

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  • Food is romance. If you’re not a skilled chef, grab takeout from your date’s favorite restaurant (just swap the Styrofoam containers for actual plates ahead of time). You’ll also need wine, of course. Then, set the table (no eating in front of the TV this night). Here’s one idea for a romantic tablescape: Using your computer/printer, print off phrases that mean something to the both of you—lyrics from “your song,” a private joke, a funny memory from your history together—and cut them into heart shapes. Using a piece of ribbon or twine, affix them to pillar candles, like Amazing Flameless’ Mercury Glass Silver Pillars.

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  • Don’t forget dessert. Inquire ahead of time what his or her favorite dessert is and go to the extra effort of making it. Even if it’s not perfect, your efforts will not go unnoticed.