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Your Summer Picnic Planning Guide

May 18, 2023

Close up of flower bouquet for summer picnics

With warm summer days comes the perfect opportunity to dine al fresco. And perhaps one of the most iconic styles of outdoor eating is packing a picnic and heading into nature. There is something relaxing about spreading out a blanket, carefully arranging a simple meal, and dining in the open air. It’s a pleasant way to not just enjoy a meal but also enjoy the company of another.

This summer, if you want to experience the best a picnic has to offer, we are here to help. Whether you are packing a picnic for your favorite group of friends or hoping to create a romantic meal for two, this guide will give you inspiration for the perfect outdoor dining experience.

Summer Picnic Planning Guide

  1. Plan your menu
  2. Set the scene
  3. Select fresh flowers
  4. Bring a small gift

Plan Your Menu

No picnic is complete without the food you’ll eat. As you consider your picnic menu, first determine how many guests there will be. This will help you decide how much food to pack and what type of containers you’ll need to transport the food. Often, picnics are designed for two — a romantic way to relax in the sun and chat over a meal with your loved one.

Additionally, most picnic meals feature light fare. Generally, you’ll want to focus on hand-held foods that won’t require lots of plates and silverware.

If you’re looking for inspiration, you can use the following picnic favorites as a starting point for your menu:

  • Sandwiches: Small sandwiches are a classic picnic food. You can make your sandwiches with any ingredients you want, including veggies, spreads, meats, and cheeses. Slice them into perfect triangles, or for extra whimsy, use a cookie cutter and cut them into fun, summery shapes.
  • Cheese and crackers: Another popular picnic option is to create a cheese and cracker spread. Focus on a variety of cheeses with a mix of crackers. You might consider adding a bit of meat or a jam that will pair well with the cheeses. A handful of nuts and dried fruit can also complete the meal.
  • Fresh fruits and veggies: When dining al fresco, pairing the outdoor experience with fresh produce is a wonderful pick. Mixed berries and a small veggie tray are great finger foods and add to the fresh appeal of a picnic.
  • Desserts: Picnics are a great chance to indulge in a sweet treat. Bring along mini cupcakes, homemade brownies, or chocolate-dipped strawberries. Bake something special that you know your guest(s) will love.
  • Beverages: Most picnics feature a thermos filled with a cold beverage. Lemonade and iced tea are popular summertime choices. If you want to pop open a bottle of bubbly, be sure you are picnicking in an area where it’s allowed.

As you plan your menu, don't forget to consider the preferences of any attendees and any dietary needs.

Set the Scene

Along with picking the perfect menu, you’ll want to pick out your picnic location. Take the time to explore a few spots before you bring your loved one or invite your friends to the event.

Common locations for picnics include the following:

  • Parks or green spaces in the city: For urban settings, a park is an excellent choice for a picnic. Look for an area with soft grass and some shade from a tree. Try to find a part of the park with low foot traffic to make the experience as peaceful as possible.
  • Hiking trails: Another great option for a picnic is to hike to a scenic view. Picnicking alongside a bubbling brook, a cascading waterfall, or a mountain overlook can be truly refreshing. Keep in mind that if you hike to your picnic spot, you’ll need a way to carry all your picnic items. You might want to opt for a smaller, lighter picnic in this case.
  • A backyard: Sometimes, you don’t have to go far to create the perfect picnic. Consider setting up a romantic picnic in your backyard. When you opt for a backyard picnic, you can be extra creative with your decorations and menu, as you won’t have to carry items a long distance.

Select Fresh Flowers

Elevate your picnic with fresh flowers. Flowers can add a splash of color to your picnic spread, and the gentle fragrance of a summer bouquet will enhance the ambiance. Bring along a single bouquet of flowers to place in a vase in the middle of your picnic, or set up several small floral arrangements around the picnic area.

Almost any flower will pair well with a picnic, but the following are popular summer choices:

  • Sunflowers: Sunflowers are bright and cheery, the perfect compliment to a summer picnic. The bold yellow of a sunflower will add positive energy to your picnic. These are wonderful flowers for gatherings with family and friends.
  • Roses: When a romantic picnic is your plan, roses are a beautiful option. Choose from bright colors, such as pink and white, to set the mood for the meal.
  • Tulips: Tulips are a flower often associated with spring due to their brilliant blooms as the weather warms. For a picnic, a tulip arrangement can evoke a sense of happiness and light. They are whimsical, peaceful, and inspiring, making them the ideal pick for a warm, summery day.
  • Lavender: With slender stems and stunning purple blooms, lavender is another cheery choice for a picnic. The soft yet aromatic fragrance of lavender provides a calming effect. It’s a great way to add a relaxing feel to the event.

Bring a Small Gift

Picnics aren’t just about eating a meal outdoors. They are an event designed to show someone how much you care. You can use a picnic to celebrate summer with friends or to spend some time with a family member one-on-one. Or you can create a romantic picnic that expresses your affection for your special someone.

Regardless, as you take the time to carefully put together this event, consider adding an extra touch with a small gift.

In harmony with the theme of nature, a small plant makes a perfect picnic present. Succulents are an excellent choice, as they will be easy to transport. Add a personal note and give a gift that will keep on giving.

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