I am usually makpid on lighting candles as close as possible to the time we are supposed to. A shadchan just scheduled my date for 5pm since the boy doesn’t want to drive so late at night and said we will be going out to eat. Is that ok?
There are a number of options here. If you are living at home or with other people, they can light for you, although it is better that you hear the brachos so you can answer amen. Another option is to light right before leaving to the date. Shkiya in New York nowadays is at approximately 4:35, and lighting a little before five is already after shkiya, and you may light then. You just have to make sure that your light will last until about 6:05. This is the preferred idea.
May you find you zivug soon.