How to throw a fabulous picnic party

Whether a meal deal or a fancy cheese board, we all love a picnic. With summer coming, here's how to host the perfect picnic party.

There’s nothing better than sitting outside, catching some rays and enjoying a drink and some scandalous gossip − not to mention sampling a delicious selection of savouries and snacks. It’s all about the good vibes and enjoying Mother Nature at her finest.

As spring bounces into action, it’s time for the return of the ‘sunglasses as a hairband’ look and picnics galore. There’s something special about eating outside with the sun blazing, cooler bags stuffed with oh-so-delicious bottles of Madame F wine and a platter of picnic treats.

We’re all for an impromptu picnic – grabbing some snacks and relaxing on the grass in the park. But if you want to go big, then it’s time to up your game with 2022’s hottest dining trend – the picnic party. With a little extra planning and added zhuzh, you can make a picnic party one to remember.

Not sure where to start? To achieve the perfect picnic aesthetic, we’re here to give you the lowdown – from picnic party food and drinks to location inspiration.

Boho style party decor in - picnic ideas for park and garden

Picnic party location and guest list

Much depends on the location and the number of guests at your picnic.

If you’re planning a romantic picnic set-up, then a meadow that has just begun to bloom or the beach to watch the sunset ticks all the right boxes (plus, say hello to some gorgeous photo opportunities).

You can also transform your garden into a picnic paradise with a little work. Ideal for inviting a handful of pals or family members over, giving them a relaxed space to drink and relax. Go full-on with picnic chic: string up bunting and fairy lights, fire up the BBQ for extra summer sizzle, and lay out checked rugs or picnic blankets – we particularly love the Pikiniki orange picnic blanket from Oliver Bonas for extra pop. Put DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s Summertime at the top of your playlist for that perfect at-home picnic vibe.

Picnic party guide hosting a picnic in the garden

Decide whether you want to host a small get-together or go all out and invite everyone and their mothers. Here are a few of our favourite locations to host a picnic party:

  • The park – lots of shady spots to escape from the sun.
  • By a lake – ideal for dipping your feet in if it gets too hot.
  • Your garden – practical, and you can hide inside if the weather changes.
  • The beach – unlimited supply of ice cream and summer vibes.
  • Indoors – A picnic is a state of mind that can be hosted anywhere.

Picnic party food

Picnic food and drink ideas

The key to a hassle-free picnic is to serve food that’s easy to transport and ideally eaten with fingers or just a fork.

Food choice should depend on the picnic aesthetic you’re going for. A sophisticated gathering calls for a bottle of Madame F and a selection of cheeses, deli meat and grapes for a cheese and wine theme. Or opt for a sweet French affair with flaky pastries and bottles of Madame F wine to toast in the fine weather and equally fine friends.

Need some inspiration for your picnic and tips on how to transport it safely – we’ve got you covered:

  • Classic British finger food – go retro with cocktail sausages, mini pies, crisps, mini cakes. Keep items in their packaging for ease of transport or place them in reusable containers. No one likes a flat pie.
  • Cheeses, deli meat, olives and fruit – keep these in a cooler bag with fruit separate from the meat. Top tip: wash and slice the fruit at home and transport them in reusable containers.
  • Homemade sandwiches – healthier and tastier than shop-bought ones. Keep them in containers to avoid squashing, and pack toppings in separate Tupperware to prevent soggy bread.
  • Glamping style – Picnic food just begs to be mixed up, and you can bring some glamour to the affair. Think strawberry or feta skewers, falafel wraps, gazpacho in a flask, and hummus with chopped carrot or breadsticks.

Bring a rustic wooden board to lay out all your snacks, and have everyone help themselves.

Picnic party drinks

Sipping a cold glass of wine is the best way to spend a picnic in the sunshine. For bonus picnic aesthetic va-va-voom, equip yourself with mason jars and reusable straws to enjoy your drinks with – everything tastes better out of a jar.

Garnish your jars, jugs, flutes and cups with pieces of fruit or little umbrellas (they’re great for picking olives afterwards). Avoid glass to prevent any accidents.

Invite a bottle or a few of Madame F to your picnic for the ultimate party. Madame F Rouge is best served with a cheese and meat board. Not a fan of red? Madame F Blanc goes flawlessly with a background of beach sunsets and finger food or sandwiches. While Madame F Rose is the ideal choice for any picnic, especially if sweets and pastries are abundant.

Picnic essentials

Picnic ideas park, lakes and friends

You don’t want to be halfway through a picnic and realise you haven’t packed something essential like hand wipes for sticky fingers. Create a checklist to ensure you don’t forget any crucial elements.

The practical

  • A cute and stylish picnic blanket or several, ideally waterproof – no one wants a soggy bottom.
  • A picnic basket or bag for food and drinks, plus cooler bags and ice packs for products needing to be kept cool – Amara’s Retreat is perfect.
  • Corkscrew and reusable straws.
  • Plastic or metal cups.
  • Sustainable plates and cutlery, such as bamboo.
  • Napkins and hand wipes.
  • Bag for rubbish.
  • Umbrella/parasol (to create some shade or protect from good-ol’ British rain – try the oh-os-desirable Business & Pleasure Umbrella from Anthropologie).
  • Sunscreen (SPF30 or higher, people).
  • Water – to help you stay hydrated and for drinking responsibly.

The fun stuff

For extra good vibes, you can jazz it up a bit with these fun essentials:

  • Cushions for utmost comfort and a boho vibe.
  • More blankets for when it gets chilly and perfect for cosying up with your mates.
  • Lighting, such as solar lights, candles or lanterns for added ambience when the sun starts to set.
  • Games like cards, frisbee or a ball to entertain your guests.
  • Music is a must; Bluetooth speakers are a great option to blast out some tunes.

Not much can go wrong with eating food you love, sharing a bottle of Madame F and hanging out with people you love, so enjoy yourself and have the best picnic party. Cheers!

For more entertaining advice, read our 5 steps to hosting a killer wine and cheese tasting at home