With Spring finally on its way, we are ready to get outside. Now that Thea is walking and running around, she can fully enjoy a picnic outing. This week we went on our first picnic as a family at a park that has gardens with a pretty setting. There are several parks here that overlook the city so we will be having lots of picnics as the warm weather continues to move in. As I started packing for our picnic, I put thought into the items that I was grabbing. I wanted to share my ideas for creating a prettier, more inspiring picnic, by getting inspired with simple details.
How do you create a pretty picnic aesthetic for $25?
It was easier than expected, even with a small babe. I bought a lot of the items from Goodwill, some of them over the years. I wrapped our glassware in cloth napkins to avoid breaking them, made a snack for each person, and brought bottles of special drinks to add something extra to sip. I added a few flowers for floral details and brought pretty bags for our fruit. In this post, I am listing my ideas and tips for having your own pretty picnic aesthetic.
Pretty Picnic Aesthetic Essentials:
Basket - Your basket does not have to be specifically designed for a picnic. It can be any type of large basket that carries your items. I bought mine from Goodwill for less than $10. Visit a local thrift store and buy a pretty basket that will fit your items. It doesn't have to close or have a lid.
Blanket - Bring a blanket to sit everything on. I bought a blanket from a thrift store for $3. I picked a plain white blanket with fringe trimming. Any soft blanket will do!
Cloth Napkins - I bought two cloth napkins, one for Joel and one for myself. They set the tone for the picnic aesthetic and doubled as wraps for our glassware making them functional and beautiful.
Flowers - I had flowers on my kitchen table, so I grabbed a bunch to put in our basket.
Bags - I brought cotton bags for our fruit and used them to carry random items such as our pita chips. These are both pretty and functional for carrying your food.
Glasses - I brought glassware for our drinks and it was not a hassle at all, but this is completely optional. I recommend using your cloth napkins or blanket to carefully wrap them in during transit.
Cozy Wrap Blanket - If it’s Spring but chilly, consider bringing an extra light blanket! I brought my sweater which I put on in shady spots of the park.
Plate - I brought a plate that I had gotten earlier that week from Goodwill to place our cheese and crackers on.
Knife - If you plan to have cheese or items that require cutting, I recommend bringing a knife that isn't sharp. I brought one of our cheese knives from the kitchen to give it a little more detail.
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What else should you bring?
Baby Wipes - If you have kids, bring baby wipes. Enough said.
Forks & Spoons - If the food that you will be eating requires a fork or spoon, be sure to pack them with an extra in case one falls or you need one for scooping.
Cooler & Ice Packs - I carried our cheeses, sandwiches, and drinks in an insulated bag over my shoulder with ice packs. It worked to keep our food chilled and was not a hassle to bring.
Bottle Opener - If you have wine or something to sip that requires an opener, don't forget to pack it!
Picnic Aesthetic Food Ideas:
Specialty Cheese & Meat - I bought two specialty squares of cheese from Trader Joe’s. You can pick through their bunch and get a square that fits your budget. The total cost of mine combined was $8. We skipped the meat, but you can do a meat and cheese picnic with grapes and figs or your choice of fruit.
French Loaf - We brought a loaf of bread to tear with our cheese. You can bring pita chips, crackers, or your favorite bread. A rosemary loaf would also be delicious.
Sandwiches - Joel brought a peanut butter sandwich with honey and I made a deli-style sub. I packed oil and vinegar in a spill-proof container to put on my sandwich once we were there to avoid soggy bread. I wrapped my sandwich in parchment and tied it with kitchen twine that I had on hand to be extra, but if you don't have twine just wrap the sandwich in parchment or wax paper. It comes in handy later and isn't just for aesthetics. The wrap helped catch extra oil drips and saved my outfit!
Crackers & Chips - We brought a little of each! I brought pita chips for the cheese and we keep salted crinkle chips in stock at home. Bring your favorite.
Drinks - Sparkling water, wine, beer, or Italian soda. Bring anything you want. We brought sparkling water and Italian Blood Orange Soda from Trader Joe's.
Croissants - One of my favorites. Croissants are a great picnic food. You can bring chocolate croissants if you want a sweet afternoon snack. You can pair them with chicken salad or a cold snack. They pair deliciously with cheese and honey or jam. These are a staple in our home. You can find them at Trader Joe's, the bakery section of most markets, or your local bakery if you want to treat yourself.
Hummus & Dip - Trader Joe's makes delicious Mediterranean hummus. Hummus and dips pair well with pita chips, french bread, chips, or vegetables such as carrots.
Fruit & Vegetables - We brought strawberries and clementines uncut. Bringing them uncut to eat adds to the aesthetics. Bring large fruit such as melons cut in half and wrap them for transit. Be sure to bring something to scoop them with for people to eat or just precut them if that is easier for you!
Jam & Honey - Jam goes well on top of Brie if you are bringing a specialty cheese. Honey goes great with just about anything from peanut butter to fruit.
What should you wear for a pretty picnic?
I wore jeans, a flowy top, a hat, and comfortable shoes. I brought sneakers for walking around, but I wanted to feel a little dressed up with heeled mules for the picnic lunch date. Since the weather has been nicer, I was able to pull out a Spring top paired with jeans and brought along a sweater for cooler spots when we weren't in the sun.
What activities should you do during your picnic?
This is the perfect time to keep your phone in your car or leave it at home. If you want to take photos, switch it to airplane mode for a way to completely disconnect. Use this time to focus on your settings, the scenery, and the people around you. You can create memories by being in the moment. If you want to take photos without your phone, bring along a polaroid camera with a few packs of film.
Play Cards- If you’re having a picnic for just the two of you as a date, or having a family picnic with older kids, bring along a deck of cards to play some classic games. Keep in mind if it’s windy, cards will not be ideal.
Play a Board Game - If you have kids old enough or are going on a picnic with just the two of you, bring along a fun board game.
Wrap Your Sandwiches - Joel thought I was being extra by wrapping our sandwiches in parchment paper, but realistically I was able to eat my sandwich with the wrapping to catch any oil drips. Outfit saved!
Weigh Down Your Blanket - I didn’t think to bring any weighted items and wish that I had! I recommend bringing small pebbles or use your larger picnic items to weigh down your blanket depending on the weather in your area.
Picnicking With Kids - Thea wanted to run around the entire time which was expected and welcomed. Joel and I took turns sitting on the blanket to each have time to enjoy our picnic food. If you have kids under 3, I recommend going with the flow and enjoying the time out as a family. I wanted Thea to run around in the open fields and splitting the time with Joel allowed her to have the freedom.
Shop Thrift Items - As I mentioned above, I bought my picnic basket, blanket, and cheese plate from Goodwill. You can buy glasses for drinking, or any knickknacks that you see to set the scene for your picnic aesthetic.
Wrap Fragile Items In Cloths - I wrapped each of my fragile items in cloth that I would be using for another purpose during the picnic. My drinking glasses were wrapped in our napkins and the cheese plate was wrapped in our picnic blanket.
Don’t Make Your Basket Heavy - If you don’t know how far you will be walking, remember to not overload your basket. If you’re bringing a cooler bag like the one I mentioned above, that will help to break up the weight and can be worn on the shoulder. We also brought Thea’s stroller which was a huge help and gave us an easy way to stroll her around the park.
Put a Towel Under Your Blanket - I always double up my blankets when doing anything on the ground. This time I didn’t, and of course the ground was damp from recent weather. I recommend putting a towel or two for extra support under your blanket. Luckily I was using one that I had purchased from Goodwill, so it wasn’t the most expensive garment that we own. Always double up!
Where to Eat - We went to a garden area in the city that is free to enter and has pretty scenery. You can pick a park with an open field, eat in your backyard, or go somewhere in the city with a nice view.