With a bit of thinking ahead, how to plan a picnic is just a matter of ticking things off your list. Here are my top tips for how to have the best picnic!
1. Location, location, location
Let’s face it: a great picnic pretty much lives and dies by the spot you choose to have it. I like to pick a sunny spot that still has some shade (whether it’s a man-made structure or a large tree) so that everyone can take a break from the baking sun and you’ll have a bit of protection from the elements if the weather takes a turn.
Whether you opt for a beachside spot, an elevated bush lookout or a sunny park, the best picnic spots in Sydney, Melbourne or elsewhere in Australia aren’t hard to find if you know where to look. I like to choose a location that’s got easy access from a nearby carpark or bus stop to make things convenient for everyone.
2. Set the mood
I’m a firm believer in making things beautiful. It might seem like an afterthought to some, but when you’re hosting, considering the little things makes all the difference. A beautiful picnic basket that has built-in insulation to keep all your non-alcoholic wines or non-alcoholic beers nice and chilled with some outdoor appropriate drinkware really helps set the scene.
I like to arrive early to lay down some beautiful patterned picnic rugs, the picnic food and drinks, and sometimes I’ll even fill little empty glass bottles with fresh flowers. They’re a great environmentally friendly decoration and choosing recyclable plates and packaging will also make for easier cleanup at the end of the day. I have plenty of playlists with a bunch of laidback favourites, so all I need to do is bring a bluetooth speaker with me and you’ve got some tunes to set the mood.
3. Plan your menu
When it comes to picnic food ideas that really get my mouth watering, it’s all about maximum impact for minimum effort. If you’re going to the effort of lugging a picnic basket down to a secluded spot or a beautiful lookout, you’re going to want crowd-pleasing favourites that require little to no prep.
I love some colourful veg crudites – like carrot sticks, purple radish, snow peas, beans and celery – because they’re great served cold, perfect for gluten free, vegetarian and vegan guests alike. Serve them up with some hummus, baba ganoush or cheese for a filling snack that pairs perfectly with a glass of wine. Your other option for picnic food is to divide and conquer: get every guest to bring something, and suddenly catering for a crowd becomes simple.
4. Choose your picnic drinks
Sadly, the perfect picnic weather can also leave you sunburnt and dehydrated. I find the best drinks for a picnic are cold, well-balanced, and alcohol free. A non-alc drinks menu means everyone can enjoy themselves, stay energetic, and drive home for a great night’s sleep at the end of the picnic. I like to order a mix like our Summer Wine Mixed Bundle, which has the best picnic drinks that are tropical, refreshing and crowd-pleasers. Throw in a Non-Alcoholic Beer Sampler Pack of 10, and you’re on your way to having the perfect picnic.
If you have a mocktail lover in the group, a non-alcoholic RTD is a great picnic drink option too. At Sans Drinks, I exclusively stock a range of super tasty non-alcoholic drinks that are perfectly mixed and ready to be enjoyed. In fact, I recently launched some great summer flavours: choose from Ms Sans Mojito or a Ms Sans Passionfruit Caprioska that just needs a mint garnish to come to life, a classic Sans Bar G&T or Sans Bar Spritzing In Venice Can, a semi-bitter Italian style spritz that’s synonymous with summer. Serve over ice in a vintage glass and you have your answer to the question “what are we drinking?”!
5. Bring some games and activities
While lounging around and sipping a chilled non-alcoholic picnic drink is definitely my idea of a good time, I always have some games and activities planned too.
Not only does it keep everyone entertained and moving, but it’s also a good way for guests who might not know each other to mix and socialise. For picnic ideas that everyone will love, I opt for the Swedish game Finska, which uses wooden pegs and is great for players of all ages.
Or, why not bring some tennis rackets or cricket bat and ball? You can set up a round robin tournament of backyard cricket or doubles tennis so everyone gets a chance to enjoy their picnic food and the best non-alcoholic drinks for a hot day, while being part of the action too.