There are so many wonderful things about summer, it’s impossible to count them all.
But one of our absolute favorite summertime signatures is the afternoon picnic. There’s nothing better than getting the people you love together to enjoy some delicious treats on a sunny summer’s day. Read on for our tips for making your picnic planning as chic and seamless as possible.
Scout Your Terrain
Once you’ve decided on a day for your picnic (and, this goes without saying, but always check the weather), it’s time to scout a location. We recommend visiting your local park or picnic spot of choice one week before your planned event at the exact time you would like to host. How crowded is it? Will you be able to find room for your group? Is there a spot in the shade, or will you need to make accommodations to keep your guests out of the bright sun? If you’re picnicking by the water, is there enough room for everyone to comfortably sit without getting wet? Once you’ve answered all of these questions, you’re ready to move into setting the scene.
Set the Scene
Now that you’ve headed off any picnic-related weather issues, it’s time to figure out what you need. If you’ve discovered you’ll need a little extra protection from the shade, don’t forget to pack a parasol, and consider indulging in one of Business & Pleasure’s gorgeously appointed options. You’ll also need something to sit on, and a matching beach blanket is a durable option that can do double duty when it comes time to hit the beach. Another underrated facet of planning a fuss-free afternoon is pillows. When you’re building your picnic environment, you are looking to create a space that makes people want to linger for hours, so you should always be setting them up for optimal comfort. Our Morrow pillows are both beautiful and durable, and if you leave them squarely on your blanket, they won’t get dirty.
Curate the Vessels
Now that you’ve got your backdrop sorted, from the location to the seating area, it’s time to plan what you’re going to use to transport your food. Though it may sound backwards, we believe in choosing your picnic accessories before planning the menu, and not the other way around. When planning a picnic, you should always be choosing foods and beverages around what’s easy to transport, what won’t spill, and what will keep throughout a long day, but having a cooler, a wagon, or an extra large basket might change what you can and can’t bring. We like going classic, and filling a simple picnic basket ourselves, though some prefer a fully-kitted option. If you are taking the DIY route, your next step is the perfect paper plate. Our favorite paper plates are durable but beautiful; the type of plates you’d mistake for china from afar. Try these cream-colored scallop-edged plates if you’re keeping it simple. Those who prefer a more florally-forward option will love these printed versions, or any collection from Sophistiplate. If you have younger children in tow, you may want to keep things tidy and opt for eco-friendly bamboo; and lean into their eagerness to play a part by having them tote all of your essentials in this stylish wagon.
Plan the Menu
You’ve chosen your location, you’ve gotten the seating set up, and you know what you’re carrying. Time for the most fun part: the food and drinks. We’ll start with the drinks. Nothing says picnic like a cold, refreshing glass of lemonade; but we’ve taken it one step further. Pre-make our rosemary-infused hard Meyer lemonade, pour it into a glass milk bottle, and serve in bamboo cups. And, of course, always bring bottles of water to keep guests healthy, happy, and hydrated. Food-wise, keep it simple. Everything you serve should be sturdy; no watery vegetables or dips that will go off in the sun. Take a cue from the inventors of picnics, the French, and go with a Parisienne sandwich; ham, cheese, and butter on a crusty baguette. For those who don’t eat meat, try vegan pinwheels. You’ll also want something for guests to snack on. Potato chips, specifically this New Orleans cult favorite, are a crowd-pleaser, easy to pack, and keep well, as are individual bags of popcorn – we like Lesser Evil for their healthier approach. And, of course, a picnic wouldn’t be complete without dessert! To truly impress, bring a batch of our Triple Chocolate Tahini Cookies.
Add Thoughtful Touches
One final thing to consider as we close out on curating the perfect picnic: the ambiance. Don’t forget to bring cards and games, and, of course, speakers. Go the extra mile and put together a playlist if you’re keeping things adults-only. If you’re planning an event with little ones, bring books to keep them occupied. And, of course, don’t forget to take time to stop, breathe, and enjoy!
Did you follow our tips for curating the perfect picnic? Tag us on social media using #casadesuna.