With the sun finally returning for good this spring, the weather is just right for a picnic. Not too hot, not too cold, not too humid. When the perfect afternoon arrives at your doorstep, be ready to take advantage by whisking your loved one off on a romantic picnic for two that’s sure to let you relax, recharge, and reconnect.
The trick to planning the perfect picnic is to keep your eye on the weather forecast and be ready to seize the moment when that lovely day arrives. With your advanced planning and basic supplies already taken care of, you’ll be ready to pick up and go for some “spontaneous” alone time — you don’t need to share that you’ve been secretly prepping for weeks! Here’s everything you need to put together the perfect romantic afternoon together.
Gather Your Supplies
While you’re waiting for the perfect picnic day to arrive, gather these supplies and keep them together in a secret “picnic pack” so they’ll be ready to go whenever you like:
- A large blanket: An old comforter is ideal, as it adds a bit of plush seating if the ground is hard.
- A canvas bag packed with non-perishable supplies: Sunscreen, bug spray, a sharp knife, a lightweight cutting board, a corkscrew, wine glasses, and plates. You can also add a Frisbee, some books, or this week’s crossword puzzles – don’t forget a pen and paper!
- An insulated cooler bag: This is empty for now, and your ice packs are in the freezer chilling.
Scout Your Location
It’s best to know ahead of time exactly where you’ll set up your picnic so you can be ready with any parking or entry fees. Look for a spot that’s a little off the beaten path so you can enjoy some quiet time away from the crowds. A spot under a shade tree is ideal. If you’re planning a picnic at the beach, add an umbrella to your kit for additional sun protection.
Choose a spot that has a lovely view, of course. It’s also a good idea to make sure it’s relatively easy to get to, so you’re not schlepping heavy items for miles just to get there. Check about the rules for alcohol as well: If glass isn’t allowed at your location, you can take a Thermos of white peach sangria instead.
Pack a Romantic Meal
The major challenge of packing a delicious picnic is the lack of refrigeration. Using an insulated bag as suggested above will keep food cool, but it’s also important to choose items that will hold up in the sun. That means that soft cheeses and mayonnaise are out – so skip the chicken salad and Brie, and go with finger foods that you can easily prepare before your picnic or on the spot. A charcuterie selection is ideal and can be stored in your refrigerator at the ready for a few days ahead of time. All you need are a couple hard cheeses (Manchego and smoked Gouda are nice choices), a baguette and perhaps a hard salami or other cured meat. Add a small container of mixed olives, some pickles and fresh berries as finger-friendly side dishes, and your spread is complete.
For heartier fare, pack some cold cuts and perhaps a ripe tomato to make on-the-spot sandwiches with the baguette — just be sure to bring only what you’ll finish so it doesn’t go bad. You can dress your sandwich with a bit of homemade pesto instead of mayo. Pack a simple salad of baby greens and keep a classic vinaigrette on the side (adding a bit of Dijon mustard is the key to preventing your dressing from separating before you have a chance to serve it). Remember to hold off on dressing your salad until you’re ready to eat to avoid soggy, wilted greens.
Finally, consider your drinks. A bottle of chilled wine al fresco is the height of romance and it will make a lovely impression to pour it into two bona fide wine glasses instead of a Solo cup. It’s also a good idea to bring along a couple of bottles of water to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Relax and Enjoy
The number one rule for a romantic picnic? Enjoy your time together! Turn off those phones and keep them tucked away in the bag you brought. Instead, focus on conversation over your meal and wine. For downtime, you can read quietly, play a game of Frisbee or catch, or even nap under the sun. Your picnic is a great time to talk about all the things that get pushed aside during the rush of the work week, so try bringing a small journal and pen and brainstorm together about your future: You can sketch the floor plan of your dream house or devise a bucket list of places to travel and things to try.
There’s no right or wrong way to fill the time during your picnic, as long as you choose activities that you both enjoy. No matter what you eat, drink or talk about, a romantic picnic on a beautiful, balmy day is practically guaranteed to help you reconnect and rediscover all the things you love about each other, so get those plans underway! You want to be ready for a memorable picnic when the perfect afternoon comes along. Who knows? This could become your new favorite tradition together!