I just love making plans to surprise my husband. It’s great! I take a lot of care and planning to ensure, as much as possible, that the plans even down to the venue (restaurant) are well thought-out.

To get into a special restaurant many times simply means…reservations. Most nice restaurants prefer (require) reservations. Making reservations can help you more than you may realize. When making reservations you can advise the host that the evening you’re planning is a very special one and you can place special requests. Some restaurants will do their best to accommodate a specific table or general location requests.

If you want to take someone out to a special restaurant for a special celebration or for a special day, make reservations as far in advance as possible to secure the time you want. Here are some tips on making restaurant reservations:

• Call at least one week in advance. Some popular places are booked as much as a month or two.

• Call the day before your big event to confirm your reservation.

•  Show up at least 15 minutes before your reservation. If you think you might be running late, call the restaurant and let them know.

• Plan to tip. Know the restaurant tipping policy and if allowed, tip the host, hostess, or maître d. This will ensure your evening is very well attended to (cared for) by the staff. And more importantly, show your token of thanks and appreciation.

• If you have a special request (such as an engagement ring delivered along with champagne), make arrangements early and add more to the tip.

• If you need to cancel, do so as soon as you know.

• Don’t make a habit of canceling reservations in restaurants. Many of them participate in one of the databases that keep them apprised of people who are chronic cancellers.

Rose Hedgemond is CEO of Avenues of Excellence and an etiquette and social protocol professional. Do you have an etiquette or social protocol question?  Email her at info@avenuesofexcellence.com or follow her on Facebook at Rose Hedgemond and Twitter @AOE_IN.