Much debate has gone on and continues today about what is romantic? We can't seem to agree, because everyone views romance differently. The differences not only exist between men and women, but each woman and each man also has their own idea about what is romantic.
For example: a woman receives one long-stemmed rose. Romantic? One woman will be thrilled, thinking it a wonderful and tender gesture. Another woman will think it's cheap, and she should have gotten a dozen of them if the man was really serious.
Another example: someone suggests to a man that he take his love out to a candlelight dinner at a fancy restaurant. Romantic? One man will think so--candles, nice clothes, good food, cozy atmosphere. Another man will view it as a stuffy evening--having to endure wearing an uncomfortable suit and tie, searching for a parking place (or hoping the valet doesn't wreak the car), and praying that his credit card goes through when the bill arrives.
How then can we plan romance when there are such differences? You have to understand the psychology of your mate and how he/she thinks. The only way to properly do that is through communication. Don't worry about taking the surprise or spontaneity out of things. It's better to know what the other person will enjoy, than planning an evening that bombs.
If you do want to surprise your partner, you can talk about what's romantic several weeks before you plan anything or even make it a regular conversation. Then when they least expect it, choose something they've told you they find romantic and spring it on them.
And when you're discussing romance, don't be too surprised at what others find romantic. One man may prefer to barbecue hamburgers and watch the sun set; another to eat a gourmet meal and watch a foreign film. One woman may prefer to stay at home and listen to romantic music on the stereo; another to go to the symphony.
Everyone thinks differently. If you remember that and put in a little effort, then planning a romantic evening becomes easy.