Picnics! What is summer without them? And sometimes the best spot for the occasion just may be on your own plot of heaven. If truth be told, I find myself looking for reasons to entertain around my Parterre Bench. When a garden piece or element has such sentimental meaning it behooves us to try and imagine any opportunity to include it in the party. Now the Parterre Bench is proving to serve as its own beacon; I had lunch with a friend of a friend last weekend and when hearing that we’d be going back to my garden after lunch, he immediately said, “May I take a picture of your bench?”
Through the garden gates, with the pool and its fountain off to the left and the bench nestled in its bower, the grass parterre makes for a perfect picnic spot.
Picnics are always a welcome option for entertaining in the summer. I’ve captured some stages of this one using my favorite cotton “boutis” (a French quilt known for its elaborate stitch-work). Reversible — yellow/white to white/yellow and scalloped — it’s just the right size for ten diners and still have space for sitting.
And in marked contrast, but so very striking, is this contemporary picnic setting in shades of blue. Both settings subscribe well to pointers for picnics that I’d love to pass along.
Planning a Transportable Party
1. Choose the right location; scenery is key — by the water, in a park, on the beach.
2. Think of a picnic as creating an environment. Consider a low table…this custom beauty was crafted of two 14′ slabs of Rhode Island hard sugar maple.
3. Start with a theme and keep it constant beginning with plates, napkins and party favors; color is a favorite of mine to keep me on point.
4. Add special details. If you choose to have your picnic on the beach, bring woven mats to keep you off the sand and keep as much sand away from the food.
5. Make sure your picnic is extra comfy… add pillows!
6. Continue the “created environment”by adding real seating…
…and more pillows.
7. Side tables prove to be handy at a big gathering and also continue this sense of a setting.
8. If it’s too sunny outside, you might want to consider setting up under a tree or bringing an assortment of colorful umbrellas.
9. Make a checklist of everything you need to take with you for the picnic, from the essentials to the “extras”…like personalizing your picnic with monogrammed napkins.
10. Have multiple selections of food and drink so that guests can have a wide range of items to choose from. Finger foods (i.e. deviled eggs, shrimp cocktail, assorted cheese platter) work best for picnics without a table.
11. Separate your portables; cooler/insulated bag for food and drink…picnic basket for essentials.
12. Plan in the beginning what you will need for the end-of-the-picnic clean-up process (note to self: no leftovers make clean-up that much easier).
13. Add mood lighting with hurricane glasses and/or candle holders.
14. Bring your own music; portable waterproof speakers preferred!
Here’s to Blue…and picnics.
Featured Image Credit, Photographed by: Jaclyn L. Photography – Styled by: Christine Bevilacqua.