Since we moved to the beach, it’s been my dream to have a date night picnic on the beach. We’ve lived at the beach almost a year and there has been no romantic picnic, until now. After spending hours on Pinterest looking at dream picnics, I finally put my foot down and decided to get my picnic on.
At first, my husband was a little skeptical of how we could pull off a picnic at the beach as he saw me pack meat, cheese and sushi into a little bag. However, once I had it all laid out on a big blue blanket with the ocean as our view, he was pretty impressed with the date night set-up. He even shared it was one of his all time favorite date nights.
Not bad for a picnic first-timer!
So how in the world did I pull off this magical evening that looks like it came straight out of a Martha Stewart blog? Well, let me share a few tips on how to create your own picnic delight. And if my tips don’t work, go to the real expert, Martha, who has page dedicated to picnics.
1. It’s all about the bag baby
We received a beautiful Summer Oasis Picnic Bag at our engagement party and finally, a year later we got to use it! It’s the perfect size for the two of us with good storage space. There are a million fancy picnic bags and baskets out there, but I recommend keeping it simple and light to carry. Bag requirements must include insulation and a few compartments for plates, silverware and glasses. I personally love how our bag came with little wine glasses because no picnic is complete without a bottle of vino. I don’t think our bag can be ordered online anymore but Bed Bath and Beyond has a great selection of picnic bags at a variety of prices. There are elaborate bags available so I again, recommend keeping it simple with your bag selection.
Keep it simple, but insulation is a must
2. Keep it cool & pack like a pro
It’s hot out there and you don’t want your food to melt along with you. Purchase the right accessories to keep your picnic meal cool. The insulated picnic bag will help, but I recommend purchasing re-freezable ice packs from your local grocery store or Target. I lined the bottom of our bag and along the sides with the ice packs and it kept everything pretty cool. The items that I wanted to keep the coldest, I packed right under or next to the freezer packs. While at Target, grab snack containers. The containers make it easy to package and transport the food. You can also eat directly out of the containers, which cuts down on the mess and food storage stress. Cutting boards are a good idea as well if you want to do a meat and cheese set-up. I also brought along my handy-dandy freaker to keep my wine bottle cold. Now, I know you are wondering what is a freaker? It’s one of the greatest inventions since the koozie. It’s a one size fits all beverage insulator and it was established in Wilmington, so it’s pretty fabulous. Lastly, you need a big blanket and a few beach chairs if you don’t want to be low to the ground. The bigger the blanket the better. If you’re a picnic enthusiast, there are picnic blankets that roll up with a handle, but if you’re a newbie like me, an old blanket works perfectly fine.
3. The menu & vino
Once you have all the accessories, it’s time to plan the menu. Keep in mind it’s hot and you don’t want the food to spoil so it’s better to prepare small food portions. Once again, think simple with the menu. Cold cut sandwiches along with veggies and fruit are good options, but for our date night, I prepared a meat, cheese and fruit tray. We also picked up a roll of sushi because I wanted to feel like Stephen and Kristen from Laguna Beach (if you are a fan of the show you know exactly what I’m talking about.) Our picnic dinner consisted of two meats, three cheeses, a baguette, crackers, grapes and a homemade bread dipping sauce. For beverages, I enjoyed one of my favorite chardonnays, Chateau Ste Michelle and my husband enjoyed Bud Light Lime (I packed him an extra mini cooler of beer.)
Close-up shot of our picnic meal
To wrap up this post, I encourage everyone to get out of the house this summer and enjoy snacks under the sun or stars with that special someone or just yourself. Happy picnicking everyone and never, ever, forget to pack the vino!