Relationships

How to plan a romantic late-summer picnic

©iStockphoto.com/vgstudio Image by: ©iStockphoto.com/vgstudio Author: Canadian Living

Relationships

How to plan a romantic late-summer picnic

One of the best ways to make the most of summer is to treat your partner to a romantic outdoor picnic. It's not too late; grab your sweetie and follow our easy steps to a simple but memorable meal alfresco.

We asked Marielle Gourlay and Jennifer Jones of My Sugar Events for some planning tips. Gourlay and Jones have 10 years of experience planning creative and beautiful events for all types of occasions, from intimate to elaborate. Your picnic may just be for two, but it can make a big impression. All you need is a clear vision, a bit of imagination and a few fun props.

Here are some ideas to help make your romantic picnic a special experience. From a sunrise breakfast on the beach to an evening rooftop dinner in the city, the possibilities are endless.

1. Have a vision in mind
Having a practical vision in your head is crucial to executing the picnic of your dreams. "Before scouting out an ideal romantic picnic location, there are a few things you need to ask yourself," says Gourlay.

Do you want a morning, afternoon or evening picnic? How much privacy do you want? The time of day you choose for your picnic is dependent on you and your partner's schedules of course, but be sure to consider whether your partner is a morning person or someone who prefers a lingering dinner to a hearty brunch. Also, keep in mind that an evening picnic is better for privacy -- based on the fact that it will be darker -- and you can create your own ambience.

2. Stage a spontaneous setup
If you want to boost the romance and excitement factor, surprise your partner. One way to do this is to set up a scavenger hunt leading your significant other to the picnic.

"Hide frames containing clues in random places, tie notes to tree branches and use pretty paper to make it that much more special," suggests Gourlay. "Making a trail for your partner to follow can take on various forms as well: You can use fresh flowers, puzzle pieces that create a picture or even letters that spell out a clue in a word or phrase." Anticipation and a playful feeling of mystery will build with each clue until the surprise is revealed.

Page 1 of 2 -- Learn how to pack a basket with seasonal, easy-to-eat fare on page 2. 3. Arrange a simple yet romantic scene
A few minimal decor items arranged in the right way can go a long way in creating an intimate setting. "The three main props needed are a beautiful blanket, fresh flowers and lanterns for candles. These items instantly create an atmosphere that says, ‘I thought this out,'" says Gourlay. "

To go a little further, adding a picture of you two, maybe a love note or poem, and a cuddle blanket will also increase the romance.

You'll also be amazed at the difference nice plates and napkins make to the overall atmosphere." A picnic for two is all about showing your partner you care. The more creative personal touches you add, the better.

4. Pack a basket with seasonal, easy-to-eat fare
When it comes to picnic food, keeping it simple is the best policy. "Choose easy to eat items with minimal assembly or cutlery required," says Gourlay. "Essentially, you want finger foods that are delicious and also romantic. A baguette and cheese are always winners. Strawberries and chocolate dip is always a romantic item as well.

Don't forget staples like veggies and hummus, cold cuts, and canned or bottled drinks for ease of transport," she advises. Summer-fresh and sharable finger foods make a picnic more fun, but make sure you have a balance of substantial snacks and tasty treats. You don't want to have to hike back home feeling hungry.

5. Have the option to take part in an activity
If you want to include an extra component to your picnic, think of some activities you can add to the agenda. "For the outdoorsy type, hiking, horseback riding, tandem biking and canoeing are very romantic activities to do as a couple. Taking a nice stroll in the area surrounding your picnic and stopping for a game of Frisbee is also a nice addition to prolong the date together," says Gourlay. You'll want to be able to linger at your picnic as long as you like, so be prepared with some activities to do if the mood strikes you.

Picnics are a great way to spend time with your partner in the summer as well as introduce some spontaneity into your dates. Keep in mind that the beauty of a picnic lies in its simplicity; the outdoor setting has already done most of the work for you. Taking in a beautiful view or gazing at the stars makes any alfresco meal that much more romantic – but a few personal touches can make it really special.

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How to plan a romantic late-summer picnic

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