Stumped for ideas for your next birthday party, celebration or simply a new way to do a Sunday session and extend the weekend? Well, when was the last time you packed up and headed to the park, or even the backyard for a sprawling spread in the sun? Bring back the picnic in the best possible way - going ham for the 'gram of course! Here's how to pack and pull off the ultimate insta-worthy picnic.
Set the Tone
The best part about a picnic is that space is usually no object. Whether it’s a romantic picnic for two, or a large group of gathering friends and family, as long as you have something to eat, something to drink and something to sit on, it doesn’t matter. Find yourself a spot in nature and set the scene.
Think ahead if you’re planning on taking more than a few soggy sandwiches and a can of pop. Do it yourself or delegate and discuss with your guests who will provide what for your picnic. It takes a tribe, yo! Will one person be responsible for collecting, preparing and bringing the food, or will your picnic be a potluck style affair, with everyone bringing something with them? Let people in on your vision and it can all come together even semi-spontaneously!
“You bring your own weather to the picnic.”
― Harlan Coben
Sandwich Bar Style
If you have lots of guests coming, creating a ‘sandwich bar’ can be a quick but satisfying way to feed the masses. Pre-cut different types of bread and buns and have containers with various fillings dotted about - cheeses, salads, meats and spreads - and let people create their own sandwich, with very little preparation needed from you. Or, prepare a variety of different sandwiches - some vego, some vegan, some meat-lover masterpieces - and wrap around the middle with brown sandwich paper and twine to keep them together. So cute and no washing up required!
Simple and Sophisticated
For a more grown-up affair, go simple and chic. Some good wine, cheese, and a selection of charcuterie meats and salamis, with some crackers and fresh bread, make a really easy yet sophisticated picnic.
"I’m really big on day dates. If you go for a stroll, have a picnic or lunch with a glass of wine – it doesn’t get better than that."
– Meghan Markle
Fun and Child-Friendly
Chicken nuggets, pizza, chicken wings and chips and dips, are loved by children and adults alike. They require very little preparation, are a fun treat and a clean-up crowd-pleaser. But not all kid-friendly food needs to be unhealthy, so consider cute veggie cups, fruit skewers and dairy free desserts if that's more your style.
If it’s a casual picnic, recycled paper plates, cups and disposable utensils will be absolutely fine, but for something a little bit more special, and less waste, you might want to think about reusable aluminium or bamboo cups, plates and cutlery. They're still kid friendly, but they are also easier to use. Save your best china for the more high-tea type of occasions, just in case. And hint: a sharp knife is always needed, just be careful how you pack it!
Make it a Moment with Decor
Decoration for the picture perfect moment depends on the sort of picnic you are having. If it is a fun, family daytime event, blankets, cushions, balloons and bunting would be more than adequate, but if it is an adult evening affair, think about tea lights dotted about in glass jars and votives from somewhere like http://thehippiehouse.com.au/ to add a bit of ambiance. Or go all out and hang fairy lights or chandeliers from the trees (with permission, of course)! Mix and clash colours, patterns and prints from soft furnishings, right down to napkins, sweets and drinks. Have fun and even dress yourself according to the theme of your scene.
Mix and clash colours, patterns and prints from soft furnishings, right down to napkins, sweets and drinks.
Post Picnic Play & Put Away
Also account for some form of entertainment. You might want to pack a ball or some bats for a game of cricket or soccer with the kids, or for the adults, card games to play after eating. And don't forget a small portable radio or speakers for your phone to set the tone with music in the background.
Lastly, don’t forget items to help you with cleaning up. Include a few bottles of water, tea towels or some baby wipes so you can clean up messy, sticky fingers before and after eating and don’t forget a bag to carry home your rubbish.
Pick & Mix Picnic Checklist
Besides the food and utensils needed to prepare, serve and consume the food, here are some other options you may need to complete your ideal alfresco party:
- Lots of rugs, blankets, towels, throws and faux furs for layered cosiness and hanging tent-style from a branch
- Floor cushions, pouffes, pillows bean bags or beach chairs for no numb bums!
- Wooden palettes for make-shift tables for that extra stability and varying heights in your perfect piccys
- Baskets, buckets and groovy coolers overflowing with iced drinks, more blankets...or my favourite...BREAD!
- Trays, dishes, containers and bowls with lids to easily lay out food and cover after use to take home
- Sunscreen, insect repellent, scented candles with protected flames, a lighter
- Corkscrew, music player and speakers, trash bag, paper towels or wet wipes
- Decor, lights, batteries or access to power, games, a good book or other entertainment
In all seriousness, whatever kind of picnic you're having, it's perfect just as it is when you
enjoy the great outdoors and someone's excellent company.
Besides, Instagram loves and group shot of smiling, happy people!
I hope you take a perfect, peaceful or playful picnic very soon, and enjoy the heck out of it!