Summer Picnic Party Checklist

Written by erin maurer
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Summer Picnic Party Checklist
Wine, grapes, bread and cheese are ideal foods for a French-themed picnic party. (picnic image by cherie from Fotolia.com)

A picnic is the perfect excuse to gather family and friends together to enjoy the outdoors. This summer season, host a fantastic picnic by using a checklist to keep the event organised. In addition to venue planning, an organised picnic host needs to plan the menu, organise supplies and set up the event. Picnics encourage a relaxed atmosphere and lots of conversation, as well as games and play time. Organise a few events and activities to help keep guests entertained throughout the summer afternoon.

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Venue

The wonderful thing about picnics is they only require sunshine, family and friends to be successful. Host a simple, summer picnic in your backyard or at a local park. Many parks keep picnic pavilions available for rent. Contact local parks at least three weeks in advance to secure the date and location, suggests the Real Simple website.

Invitations

According to the Evite website, a summer picnic gives people an excuse to create bright, colourful invitations. Shop for invitation supplies, like paper, cardstock, glue, scissors and pens, about a month before the party. This allows a hostess to create invitations and mail them out two to three weeks before the party date. In addition to paper invitations, guests can be invited via e-mail or over the phone.

Menu

A creative picnic menu starts with choosing a picnic theme, according to the Divine Dinner Party website. Some suggested menu themes include a romantic meal for two, a French picnic, a barbecue, a cold-food picnic and family favourites. Another option is to host a potluck picnic with each guest bringing an item to contribute to the party. Make a list of everything from main dishes to sides and desserts. Contact any local food distributors you will be using to place an order at least seven days in advance. Also plan for how the food and beverages will be transported to the venue. Include coolers, ice and condiments to the supply list. Purchase food items a week in advance and prepare foods as far ahead of time as possible throughout the week.

Packing Supplies

Picnics require a special list of supplies, according to the Real Simple website. In addition to the food, a hostess needs to provide tablecloths, napkins, dishes and utensils. Include serving dishes and utensils to this list. Prepare for all situations by including items like a pocket knife, bug spray, corkscrew, sunscreen, blankets, cleaning wipes and trash bags. Pack all of the non-perishable items a week or two before the party. Run through the item checklist the night before the event to ensure that all items are properly packed.

Setting Up

With outdoor events, it is often difficult to set up tables and decorations prior to the day of the event. With this in mind, be sure to plan for several hours of set up at the venue before guests begin to arrive.

Activities

In addition to good food, activities contribute to the success of a picnic party. Organise a softball game or a series of family-friendly games. According to the Evite website, picnics are the ideal venue for planning otherwise "messy" activities like a watermelon-seed spitting contest or a hot dog decorating contest. Add sports equipment, frisbees and bubbles to the supply list.

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