This Summer, Make a Plan to Revive Casual Outdoor Dining
As the season shifts from spring to summer, you’ve no doubt started entertaining the idea of picnicking outdoors. But if you
want to pull off a truly memorable picnic this year, you’ll need more than paper plates and a wicker basket at your disposal. To set
yourself up for success as a picnic planner, organize the details of your meal
well before you spread your blanket on that grassy knoll.
Whether you’re planning an intimate picnic or an outdoor meal for a few dozen friends, here’s what you need to consider if you want pull off an unforgettable alfresco meal
during prime picnic season.
Select a Spot. A visually appealing environment, such as a public garden or a scenic butte
overlooking town, sets the stage for a beautiful outdoor meal. But there’s more to picnic planning than finding a pretty park. You’ll also want to consider the available amenities of a potential site before you
finalize the location. For example, you’ll want to make sure picnic-goers will have access to on-site amenities such as
running water and restrooms. Similarly, you should check to see that the site
can accommodate the size of your group and that it’s pet friendly if you plan to invite guests’ four-legged friends.
Decide on a Theme. You wouldn’t plan a dinner party without a theme, so why should a picnic be any different?
A menu theme—be it tapas or classic summertime picnic foods—will help inspire guests, should they wish to contribute to the meal. (It also
keeps them organized and ensures you’ll end up with a well-rounded spread of complementary foods.) To get everyone on
the same page, send out an Evite or start an e-mail chain for guests a few
weeks before the event. Use it to announce the theme and then invite
picnic-goers to respond with the dish (or dishes) they’ll be making to prevent having too many duplicate foods.
Better Your Beverages. This year, vow to forgo plastic water bottles and cans of cola in favor of
serving beverages with a bit more class. Set up an ice bucket in a colorful
cooler, then fill it with bottles of your favorite artisan sodas, homemade
lemonade, or water flavored with lemon or lime wheels. (Individual-size bottles
allow you to skip the cups, but you can also opt to bring drinks in larger
glass bottles or pitchers and invite guests to bring their own glassware to
serve the drinks in if you wish.) You might also look into bringing bottles of
wine, a pitcher of sangria, or pre-batched cocktails for the event. Just make
sure to research your destination’s open-container policy before you start to imbibe.
Send a Runner. There’s nothing worse than arriving at the decided-upon spot only to discover that all
the picnic tables and shady swaths of grass have been snatched up by other
picnickers. You can prevent this from happening by designating someone in your
group to stake out a prized spot at your location well before the appointed
picnic time. (Times will vary depending on the location, but roughly thirty
minutes to an hour before start time should suffice.) When the rest of the
guests arrive, all they have to do is spread their blankets and add their
dishes for the party to begin.
Set the Table. It’s time to curb your habit of dining on flimsy paper plates and plastic
silverware. Instead, bring real plates to dine on or invite guests to bring
their own. Similarly, don’t be shy about decorating a table with real linens or a vase filled with fresh flowers. Your fellow picnickers will appreciate the thoughtful touches.
Sharon Medairy, RealtorŪ
Real Estate Source, Inc.
As featured in
Home By Design
Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed.
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