SETTING THE MOOD
First things first, ditch the red and white tablecloth and opt for a modern look. My favourites are a solid white, black, or yellow blanket to add some comfort, go for a thicker one for those cooler Summer nights. Accessorize with a couple of pillows for added plush and to accommodate unexpected guests. Another key element to hosting an upscale picnic is to keep the food off the ground. This means bringing a portable mini table—and maybe even stools, which you can use as a beverage tray. They’re light, compatible and easy to transport. This is also a great opportunity to cut down on your waste. Purchase acrylic glassware and tableware, they are pretty as well as reusable—no more paper (or plastic) plates! Lanturns with citronella candles, keeps the pests away, especially if you have a romantic evening picnic in mind. Use battery powered candles to enhance the mood, adds to the romance. Music is the best accompaniment to any picnic, day or night, think about the atmosphere you want to create when selecting your music, you may love dance music but unless you want to salsa in the park, which is perfectly fine, make sure the music doesn’t overpower conversation.
FOOD & BEVERAGES
Most important element to any picnic is the food and presentation. Separate your beverages from your food—this not only provides for easier access but it allows for both areas to be accessorized separately to create unique presentation. Choose a charcuterie style board for food display, it adds sophistication and access to food from both sides of the table as well as from each end of the table. Use a variety of dishes and bowls for presentation on the board. This adds visual interest and elevation since the food is not all the same level—choose dishes that are in your colour theme that have a variety of patterns. Presentation of each dish is also key. Make sure food is prepared and then wrapped (like these sandwiches) or in mason jars (see this watermelon salad) or take your favourite recipe and create as a single-serving (like what I did with this blueberry/blackberry pie square recipe). It’s best to prepare all the food at home so that you are not fussing or working at the picnic site, but instead spending time with your guests. Always have coolers that will accommodate all your food and drinks – everyone loves a cold beverage, and food must be kept cold with ice or cooler packs. Only put food out when you intend to eat. A good host always leaves the area spotless. Always have garbage bags to clean up any garbage—do not leave food items in park, this will attract pests and animals. Pack all items up and take everything out of the park that you brought into it.
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