G-FB6LH291YY

Today I’m sharing over 30 years of catering and party planning expertise to teach you how to plan the perfect picnic!  Don’t forget to download your copy of my 9-Pg Picnic Planner printable PDF to help you plan and stay organized!

how to plan the perfect picnic

HOW TO PLAN THE PERFECT PICNIC

It’s the perfect time to plan a picnic!  Maybe you’ve got the itch to head down to your favorite watering hole.  Perhaps you’ll picnic signthrow some food in a cooler and grab your ITunes.  Then you’ll spend the day enjoying a relaxing gathering with sun, great food and good company. 

It always sounds so idyllic in our heads. And kind of looks like a dream, a little hazy around the edges.  We see ourselves lounging on a blanket, sipping a glass of wine.  The Summer breeze wafts through our hair and makes the tall grasses at the edge of a meadow dance…

But, my fab friends, nothing’s further from reality!  It takes more than some food tossed into a cooler and good intentions to have a fabulous day outdoors!  Read on and we’ll get started learning how to plan the perfect picnic!

 

PERFECT PICNIC PLANNER PDF 

perfect picnic planner pdf pages in yellow graphic

 

Once you’ve got the facts on how to plan the perfect picnic rolling around inside your head, you’ll need some help.  There’s lots of planning to be done, and plenty of little details you’ll need to consider.  And just wait until we discuss the perfect picnic guide’s rules for keeping your foods safe from your home, until its eaten by your guests. 

That’s why I worked so hard to create an inclusive 9-PG Picnic Planner PDF that will come to your rescue!  It’ll help you 9 page picnic planner pdf plan your perfect picnic from start to finish, and everything in between!  As you can see in the image above, it’s got planning sheets, checklists and even picnic and grocery shopping list sheets.

PERFECT PICNIC PLANNER PRINTABLE PDF

If you want a convenient way to plan your perfect picnic, you’ll want to download your own copy of my Picnic Planner PDF after you finish reading this article.

When it comes to how to plan the perfect picnic, my Picnic Planner literally walks you through the entire processAs you work your way through each of the Picnic Planner’s pages, your perfect picnic will start to take shape.

I’ve also included shopping list pages for your picnic groceries and supplies.  That way all your picnic planning notes and information will be in one handy place.  How fab will that be?

DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY OF THE PERFECT PICNIC PLANNER PDF BY CLICKING ON THE COVER IMAGE TO THE RIGHT

 

PERFECT PICNIC PARTY DECOR PRINTABLES

picnic treat bags filled with dessertsSince I’ve been a professional party planner for so many years, I can’t imagine throwing a gathering without some kind of decor.  It can be a theme, a palette of colors, or even some fabulous party printables!  So that’s exactly why I’ve created a bundle of fabulous Perfect Picnic Party Decor Printables, especially for you!

  • Guest Cup Name Labels
  • Picnic Menu Tent Cards
  • Dessert “Treat” Bag Stickers
  • Picnic Condiment 5 piece Hang Tag Set

 

I’ll tell you how to download your Perfect Picnic Party Decor at the end of this article.

FIND YOUR PERFECT PICNIC SPOT 

The choice of venue for your picnic is a weighty decision that will dictate some of your planning details going forward.

Parks, mountain picnic grounds, beach pavilions, a lakeside spot, or even your backyard can make great picnic locations.  Don’t forget to consider the size of your guest list when looking for the perfect picnic siteYou’ll want to research your proposed location and find out exactly what facilities are available and any pertinent rules.

Do you need a picnic table?  Is a permit required to have a fire?

Here’s a list of some questions you should ask and items you may want to have available at your picnic venue:how to plan the perfect picnic

  • Picnic Table(s)
  • Rest Rooms/Porta Potty
  • Built-In Grills
  • Public Trash Cans
  • Running Water
  • Electricity
  • Picnic Shelter(s)
  • Playground or Sports Courts
  • Do they allow fires/portable grills? Is a fire permit required?
  • Is a permit required for use of the venue?
  • Pavilion/Shelter – Do you need to reserve one or are they first-come, first-serve?
  • How close is the parking area?  How many vehicles can it accommodate?
  • What are the hours the venue is open on the day of your picnic?

 

WHAT TIME OF DAY SHOULD YOUR PICNIC BE? 

Is a specific occasion, holiday or event the reason for your picnic?  

If you’re planning around a specific event, then of course, that will dictate the timing and duration of your picnic.  When inviting  families with children, you’ll want to start and end your day on the early side.  (Except the 4th of July – no one want to miss the fireworks!)

But if I’m planning a picnic that’s exclusively for adults, I know it can start and end just about any time.  I love to have late afternoon picnics that end just after sunset.  

With a little pre-picnic prep, you can light a few trees or strategically place some lanterns or tiki-torches.  It’s an absolutely magical ending to a fabulous picnic for both you, your friends and family. 

HOW WILL YOU ENTERTAIN YOUR GUESTS?

how to plan the perfect picnicAs the Perfect Picnic hostess, you realize that it’s not just about fabulous food and beverages, right?  A great picnic should always have some fun activities available for guests to enjoy. 

Does your venue have trails for short hikes and adventure walks?  Or perhaps there’s a creek that your guests can frolic in to stay cool after a long hot afternoon in the playground.  But, if your chosen picnic spot is lacking in facilities, you’ll need to take your guests’ entertainment into your own hands.

If you have a plan of action, your guests will be well fed and well entertained throughout your perfect picnic. 

Why not pack an activity box that includes items like a frisbee, soccer ball, or even a backgammon set?  We’ve even played a rousing game of Twister at a picnic in the Everglades in South Florida!  Just start rummaging around the garage and I’m sure you’ll come up with some great choices.

But, if you’d like some fabulous ideas for outdoor lawn games that are available these days, I’ve rounded a few up for you.

 

portable outdoor games graphic

 

Turns out there are all sorts of cool and fun outdoor lawn games to choose from.  You could go with an old standard like Croquet or Bocce Ball, both which provide lots of fun for groups playing together.  But, you might want to have a paddle ball type game, especially if you’ll be at the beach.  

The game that intrigued me most in my online hunt was the Giant Jenga set.  It’s a fun game when played on the kitchen table, can you imagine playing the “life-size” game outdoors?  I’m thinking of getting a set for my oldest son who lives in South.  He’s got a raucous group of friends that would go crazy for Giant Jenga on a Saturday afternoon!  

Don’t forget the power of music!  If you’ve got great tunes playing, it’s always a great time to dance!

Just make sure you think about how you’ll entertain your guests during your party and you’ll throw the perfect picnic!

 

WHO WILL BE YOUR PERFECT PICNIC GUESTS?

You’ve found your perfect picnic location, figured out how to entertain your guests, and now it’s time to decide how to plan the perfect picnicwho you’ll invite.

Maybe you have a huge family and want to do a reunion, or perhaps have just a dozen or so close friends.  Take some time to consider what kind of gathering you want, then make your guest list.   (USE THE GUEST LIST PAGE OF YOUR PERFECT PICNIC PLANNER!)

As I mentioned earlier, the size of your crowd will help determine where your ideal location is for your perfect picnic.

NAN’S TIP:  IF YOU’RE HAVING LOTS OF GUESTS, CONSIDER MAKING THE MENU A POTLUCK, SO EVERYONE CAN BRING A FABULOUS DISH TO CONTRIBUTE.

(I’VE MADE A COLUMN ON THE GUEST LIST PAGE OF THE PLANNER SO YOU CAN RECORD WHAT EACH GUEST WILL BE BRINGING)

GENERAL TIPS FOR HOW TO PLAN THE PERFECT PICNIC

  • Pick food that will hold up during transport
  • Opt for foods that are easy to eat and have little waste
  • Try fancier options if you’re doing an “adult only” party
  • Make sure to have plenty of beverage choices to keep guests hydrated
  • Cover all your food tightly before placing in your coolers and bins
  • Put perishable foods in your cooler with ice on the bottom and sides
  • Pack your cooler in the order you need to take things out
  • If you’ll be grilling later in the day, add those items to the cooler while they’re still frozen 
  • Bring a shade tarp to keep your coolers and food out of the sun throughout the day
  • Ask your guests to bring blankets, camping chairs or seating options
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby your cooking area for quick action if necessary
  • Make sure to take any items needed to cope with inclement weather (umbrella, jacket, etc.)
  • Take plenty of plastic bags and a container for your trash for easy removal from your site

 

KEEPING YOUR PERFECT PICNIC FOOD SAFE TO EAT

Picnic and barbecue season offers lots of opportunities for outdoor fun with family and friends. But these warm weather events also present opportunities for food borne bacteria to thrive. As food heats up in summer temperatures, bacteria multiply rapidly.

cooler packed with food

To protect your perfect picnic foods, safe food handling when eating outdoors is critical. 

  • Keep cold food cold. Place cold food in a cooler with ice or frozen gel packs. Cold food should be stored at 40 °F or below to prevent bacterial growth. Meat, poultry, and seafood may be packed while still frozen so that they stay colder longer.
  • Organize cooler contents. Consider packing beverages in one cooler and perishable foods in another. That way, as picnickers open and reopen the beverage cooler to replenish their drinks, the perishable foods won’t be exposed to warm outdoor air temperatures.
  • Keep coolers closed: Once at the picnic site, limit the number of times the cooler is opened as much as you can. This helps to keep the contents cold longer.
  • Don’t cross-contaminate. Be sure to keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood securely wrapped. This keeps their juices from contaminating prepared/cooked foods or foods that will be eaten raw, such as fruits and vegetables.
  • Clean your produce. Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running tap water before packing. Rub firm-skinned fruits and vegetables under running tap water or scrub with a clean vegetable brush while rinsing with running tap water. Dry fruits and vegetables with a clean cloth towel or paper towel. Packaged fruits and vegetables that are labeled “ready-to-eat,” “washed,” or “triple washed” need not be washed.

 

QUICK TIPS FOR PICNIC SITE PREP

Food safety begins with proper hand cleaning — including in outdoor settings. Before you begin setting out your picnic feast, make sure hands and surfaces are clean.

  • Outdoor Hand Cleaning: If you don’t have access to running water, use a water jug, some soap, and paper towels. Or, consider using moist disposable towelettes for cleaning your hands.
  • Utensils and Serving Dishes: Take care to keep all utensils and platters clean when preparing food.

 

SAFE GRILLING TIPS FOR OUTDOOR COOKING

Grilling and picnicking often go hand-in-hand. And just as with cooking indoors, there are important guidelines that should beusda food safety temperature chart followed to ensure that your grilled food reaches our picnic guests safely.

  • Marinate foods in the refrigerator — never on the kitchen counter or outdoors. In addition, if you plan to use some of the marinade as a sauce on the cooked food, reserve a portion separately before adding the raw meat, poultry, or seafood. Don’t reuse marinade.
  • Partial cooking before grilling is only safe when the partially cooked food can go on the hot grill immediately, for example at a home with a grill on the patio or deck.
  • When it’s time to cook the food, have your food thermometer ready. Always use it to be sure your food is cooked thoroughly.

 

(See Safe Food Temperature Chart)

  • Grilled food can be kept hot until served by moving it to the side of the grill rack, just away from the coals. This keeps it hot but prevents overcooking.
  • Using the same platter or utensils that previously held raw meat, poultry, or seafood allows bacteria from the raw food’s juices to spread to the cooked food. Instead, have a clean platter and utensils ready at grill-side to serve your food.
  • Check for foreign objects in food. If you clean your grill using a bristle brush, check to make sure that no detached bristles have made their way into grilled food.

 

PREVENT CROSS-CONTAMINATION WHEN SERVING YOUR FOODS

Never reuse a plate or utensils that previously held raw meat, poultry, or seafood for serving — unless they’ve been washed first in hot, soapy water. Otherwise, you can spread bacteria from the raw juices to your cooked or ready-to-eat food. This is particularly important to remember when serving cooked foods from the grill.

SERVING YOUR PICNIC FOODS Keep Cold Foods Cold and Hot Foods Hot

Keeping food at the proper temperatures is critical in preventing the growth of food borne bacteria.

The key is to never let your picnic food remain in the “Danger Zone” — between 40 °F and 140 °F — for more than 2 hours. Or, 1 hour if outdoor temperatures are above 90 °F, as this is when bacteria in food can multiply rapidly.  You really don’t want to get you party guests sick, right? 

Cold Foods

Cold perishable food should be kept in the cooler at 40 °F or below until serving time.

  • Once you’ve served it, it should not sit out for longer than 2 hours, or 1 hour if the outdoor temperature is above 90 °F. If it does — discard it.
  • Foods like chicken salad and desserts in individual serving dishes can be placed directly on ice. Or put them in a shallow container set in a deep pan filled with ice. Drain off water as ice melts and replace ice frequently.

 

Hot Foods

Hot food should be kept hot, at or above 140 °F.

  • Wrap it well and place it in an insulated container until serving.
  • Just as with cold food — Don’t let them sit out for more than 2 hours, or 1 hour in temperatures above 90 °F.  If food is left out longer, throw it away to be safe.

It’s not rocket science, but keeping your foods safe when cooking and eating outdoors is a matter to take seriously.  Just follow the USDA guidelines set out above, and you’ll be all set for a perfect picnic celebration!

 

I’VE GOT A GREAT ORGANIC BUG REPELLENT RECIPE FOR YOU!

organic bug repellent in brown bottleI’ve been following an incredible gal named Eve at her site, Organic Beauty Recipes for the last several years.  She’s an absolute expert at formulating organic beauty recipes that I’ve enjoyed making and using ever since.

She recently shared her new recipe for a bug repellent that is both effective, and has a lovely fragrance.  And, it only has 2 ingredients!

Eve also gives product resources so you can always find the exact ingredients she uses in her organic beauty recipes.

 I thought you might like to make a batch for your Perfect Picnic!  Bug bites are not much fun for you or your guests!

Click on this link for the recipe:  ORGANIC BEAUTY RECIPE’S – Organic Bug Repellent Recipe

 

PERFECT PICNIC PRINTABLES – Fab Party Decor for Your Perfect Picnic!

My parties are all about a theme, or decor that take my little get together’s to the next level.  Just by adding a few special details to your party’s buffet or drink station, your picnic is off to a stylish start. 

 

perfect picnic party printables

Here’s what I’ve put together for my “Perfect Picnic Printables” bundle that will help make your picnic extra-special:

PICNIC GUEST CUP NAME LABELS

Print these convenient guest name tags on AVERY FULL SHEET SHIPPING LABELS, cut out and affix to your picnic perfect picnic party printablescups.  Ask you guests to fill in their name on their cup so they won’t lose it during the party.

Beware of the characters on your guest list! I’ve got a friend that makes a sport out of giving himself an inventive name at our parties.  My one consolation is that it’s usually a fun conversation starter among my guests!

NAN’S TIP:  AFFIX THE GUEST CUP LABELS ON YOUR GLASSES BEFORE THE PARTY.  HAVE A FEW PENS/SHARPIES ON THE BEVERAGE STATION FOR GUESTS TO FILL IN THEIR OWN NAMES.

 

PICNIC MENU TENT CARDS – “What’s On The Menu”

These adorable Picnic Menu Tent Cards coordinate with the rest of the Perfect Picnic printables.  There’s four different designs, so just print one for each of your menu items. 

Using white card stock,  fold the printed tent cards in half lengthwise, and fill in the dish’s name. 

They’re especially useful for potluck picnics, where everyone is bringing a different dish.  Let your friends and family fill in the name of the dish and everyone will know exactly “What’s on the menu!”

 

PICNIC “TREAT” BAG STICKERS

picnic treat bags filled with dessertsFor outdoor parties, I really like to serve easy-to-eat desserts, and if I can individually portion them, it’s a win-win!

Over-sized sturdy cookies, miniature hand-pies, and one-bite desserts are just fabulous when served inside plain white paper sacks.  But, if you take a few more moments and print out some “Picnic Treat” bag labels, they’ll be a showpiece on your picnic buffet.

Use the same full-sheet shipping labels for these stickers too. Cut them into squares with a paper cutter, affix them to dessert-sized bags, and fill with your picnic treats. 

Now your guests can just grab a “treat bag” of the dessert they want.  It’s one of my great hands-off hostess party hacks that I’ve used for years.

 

PICNIC CONDIMENT 5 PIECE HANG TAG SET

If you want to serve your condiments with a little more style, and in hostess-friendly serving containers, I’ve got the solution.picnic condiment hang tags

  • Download and print the picnic condiment hang tags on white card stock 
  • Cut out, punch a hole in “lid” and thread twine or ribbon through to hang on your condiment containers

 

NAN’S TIP:  FILL YOUR CONTAINERS WITH YOUR CONDIMENTS BEFORE ATTACHING THE HANG TAGS TO PREVENT THEM FROM GETTING DIRTY DURING THE FILLING PROCESS.

 

Just download and print the FREE PDFs, and you’re in business. 

 

WANT TO ADD SOME REAL PANACHE TO YOUR PERFECT PICNIC TOO?

Do you want your own set of PICNIC DÉCOR PRINTABLES, but you’re not on our list yet?  Why not join in on the fun!

Fill out the form below and I’ll send you a copy as a thank you for joining the IFAFL Email Subscriber List.

As a Ingredients For A Fabulous Life Subscriber, you’ll also get instant access to the IFAFL Resource Library and receive our twice-weekly emails.  What are you waiting for?  You don’t want to miss out on anything fabulous, do you? 

There’s always something fabulous happening here at Ingredients For A Fabulous Life, don’t you want to stay in the loop?  

And while you’re at it, come join the gang in our Facebook group and get in on the gabfest at, The Fab Life!  That’s where we show off our triumphs and share our pursuit of “the good life” with each other all week long.  

 

 


 

 

error: Content is protected !!