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How to prepare a picnic: tips and a checklist

Remember, the key to preparing for a picnic is plenty of planning ahead!


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Whether it’s alfresco dining for two or you’re planning a family picnic for 20, preparation is always key. Having plenty of handy picnic ideas is certainly going to help. Get ready to learn how to prepare a picnic like a pro!

Keep your picnic clean and tidy by removing your mess. Use hand wipes to clean sticky fingers and multi-surface cleaners like Handy Andy to give picnic furniture a once-over.

Picnic food ideas

One of the best picnic food ideas is to keep things simple. That means preparing for a picnic in advance – slicing bread for sandwiches, packing everyone’s favourite fillings and not overcomplicating the food.

Keep it light and healthy by choosing plenty of fresh fruit and salads, but don’t forget a few crowd-pleasing sweet treats too! It’s all about coming up with picnic basket ideas that allow you to prepare everything beforehand. That way, there’s less to do on the day and you can concentrate on enjoying yourself.

Picnic décor and equipment

There are a handful of items that are a must when preparing for a picnic – the things you really can’t do without. When it comes to décor and equipment, here are our top picnic tips and checklist:

  • Basket - choose one that's big enough for all your items and comfortable to carry.

  • Rug(s) - big enough for everyone.

  • Plates, cups and cutlery - keep it green by using recyclable materials.

  • Cool bag - this is vital for keeping drinks cold and food fresh. If you don’t have a cool bag, pack some ice.

  • Decorations - happy birthday signs, banners, bunting… get as creative as you like and decorate the space! For hanging decorations, check for trees and other structures before buying anything.

  • Bin bags - leave your picnic area as you found it. This includes decorations as well as food and packaging.

  • Kitchen towels and wipes - for the inevitable sticky fingers and faces.

Picnic party ideas

Throwing a celebration and looking for some picnic party ideas? Follow our top tips:

  • Make it a themed party – this is one of those picnic decorating ideas that always goes down really well with guests, especially kids. A few popular theme ideas are:

    • Foods from around the world: centred around a particular cuisine or incorporating all of your worldwide favourites!

    • Sports: traditional sports arena foods, such as burgers, hot dogs, popcorn… and your favourite team's t-shirt! 

    • Circus: cotton candy, toffee apples, some juggling balls and clown face painting are a few of the items that make this the perfect picnic adventure.

  • Scope out your location beforehand to make sure it offers everything you need.

  • Have a back-up option – whether it’s moving your picnic to the back garden or taking it indoors, having an alternate option is useful in case of bad weather.

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Picnic tips and checklist summary

Make sure to tick off all of these steps:

  • Plan the theme in advance.

  • Scope out your chosen picnic spot.

  • Set a date, select attendees, and send out invites. Remember to include a back-up venue in case of bad weather.

  • Make a shopping list for food, drink, and decorations. Remember to consider the dietary requirements of all your guests.

  • Prepare your food in advance where possible.

  • Pack the picnic basket on the morning of the big day. Use a sturdy basket and place heavy items first. Separate hot and cold foods as well as meat and meat-free foods.

  • Use ice or a cool bag to keep items cold.

  • Pack bin bags, kitchen towels, wipes, and recyclable cutlery, cups and crockery. Make sure you have enough for all guests and a few spares.

  • Choose decorations that are easy to put up and remember to remove them afterwards. 

  • Arrive at the spot a little earlier than your guests to get everything ready.

From the food you eat to picnic decorating ideas, you’ve now got plenty of tips to have a great time. We’ve shown you how to prepare a picnic with ease, so now it’s up to you to choose how you want to do it. Enjoy!

  • Plan in advance and draw up a checklist.

  • Go for food that is easy to prepare and eat.

  • Get all your picnic equipment sorted well before the day.

  • If you’re throwing a party or a large gathering, make sure your picnic destination is suitable.

  • Always have a backup plan.

Originally published