Picnic Dates - The Essentials

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

One of the most inexpensive ways to spend time over good food and a great bottle of wine, is the classic romantic picnic. However don’t go popping the champagne just yet – picnics may look simple, but the key to a successful blanket-date (that's of the picnic-kind, get your mind out of the gutter!) is preparation. You need to carefully consider your location, time of day and weather conditions – even the most perfectly prepared picnic can be rudely interrupted by rain, ants, mosquitoes, passers-by (particularly in the evening) – the list goes on. You will also need to make sure that you have all of the picnic essentials – you can never be over-prepared! You don’t want your date ruined because you forgot to bring the corkscrew, or glasses, or a sharp knife – or you didn’t check the weather forecast beforehand. It doesn’t matter how long you have been slaving over individual salmon quiches or Chinese tea-eggs – you forget the essentials, and you invite embarrassment, backpedalling and over-thinking – which can be dangerous on a date! Do I sound like I am speaking from experience? *cough* Um…

It’s easy really – keep all of your picnic essentials in a basket – in the back of your car, if the need arises for a little spontaneity. What are these magical, mystical essentials?

Glad you asked!


  1. Picnic Basket – a simple and romantic way to keep all of your goodies hidden from view – and of course and easy way to carry everything at once.  You didn’t see Little Red Riding Hood juggling the biscuits and a hot thermos of chocolate for her grandmother in several old Coles bags did you? Tip: Basketworld have a very nice selection of picnic baskets – anything from the basic to the fancy-schmancy-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink ones.  Failing that, try Myer and Target for a fairly decent range with prices to match almost every budget.

  2. Picnic Blanket – I know size isn’t supposed to matter in this day and age – but when it comes to picnic blankets – it does. You need to have ample room for two people plus your basket – and potential for “stretching out” later in the date.  (I said stretching out – what were you thinking?) Leaning back onto an ants nest, whilst makes the date unforgettable – does so in the wrong way. Tip: Break of Day have some great picnic rugs – check out the ones that conveniently roll up and buckle-shut! Sweet! You also may want to consider a rug with a waterproof underlayer – especially if you’re picnicking after the rain, or at the beach.

  3. Candles – An absolute essential for a night-time picnic! Not venturing out past dark? So you think! You’re going on a lunch-picnic. You have a lovely meal prepared, a few glasses of wine, and you get talking. Suddenly it’s 5:30 in the afternoon and the sun’s about to go down.  Never mind- you have candles, and of course wind-shielding candle holders. Don’t forget the matches! Tip: Ikea are more than a quirky and ergonomic furniture store – they also have some practical and inexpensive candle-holders. The Candle Nut have some beautiful tealight holders too – and you can shop online! The deeper the better – there’s nothing more annoying than constantly re-lighting candles! If you’re looking for something a bit more ornate or fancy – you can try Dusk - but be wary of the expense! Tea-light lanterns may also be a cute and inexpensive way to go!

  4. Glasses – of course everyone drinks wine from the bottle at some stage in their life – but on a romantic picnic? I think not. Have some sturdy glasses in your basket at all times – not the frail, thin crystal ones that your mum keeps in the front cabinet. Avoid plastic glasses too. They may be convenient – but there is nothing classy about tupperware.  What size or shape is up to you – but I don’t think the specific white wine/red wine glasses apply to picnics. Unless of course of course these things are important to you…

  5. Plates – Again, no need to break out the good china for this – and yes plastic IS allowed here – but for a date – try to go for the more good-quality plates. A lot of picnic baskets nowadays come with these, which is a bonus.

  6. Cutlery – Get a set of sturdy picnic cutlery. Make sure you also have a sharp knife – you never realise you need it until you don’t have one! While I’m on the topic – don’t forget the corkscrew! Much of today’s wine production is in bottles with screw-top lids, but there will always be that one occasion when your bottle will have a cork – and no matter what your knife-wielding skills are like – there’s only one way that baby is coming out…

  7. Insulated cooler-bag – specifically one that can keep drinks cool. Regardless if you’re heading out with an ice-cold bottle of home-made lemonade, or a bottle of Hunter Valley 2006  Semillon – lukewarm drinks are a definite date-killer. Tip: Check out the “T-Chill” bags – very affordable way of chilling drinks portably. The only downside is that you need ice to keep it cold. But for a portable ice-bucket – it does the trick!
Do yourself a favour and look at combining some of these essentials in the one purchase. Not only will you save money – but you would have invested in your romantic future too. Check out the Picnic & Cappuccino section on this website – some really snazzy and clever storage for your “Picnic Essentials”.
What else? I know it’s usually the last thing we think of – but when one ventures out into the great outdoors, things well…happen. Sunburns, mosquito bites to name a few. Keep a small travel pack of sunscreen and insect repellent in your bag…just in case. A portable music player with speakers is also a novel idea if you’re tired of the nearby screaming children or traffic noise. If you have an MP3 player – Officeworks have some portable speakers for around $20 – or maybe a portable radio would do the trick – depending on what you’re looking for. Of course – background noise is part and parcel of the picnic experience – so unless music is playing a key part in your date – don’t go rushing out for iPod speakers. :)

That’s about it for now – I’ll be updating soon with a list of fantastic, tried and true romantic picnic spots in the beautiful South-East, and some other tips to make your romantic picnic unforgettable.


Jack said...

Thanks for this post. I've been trying to figure out a romantic date and I think a nice picnic is just the ticket now that summer seems to finally be here. I would have definitely forgotten to get candles and holders so it's a good thing I found this post. Where would you suggest I look for inexpensive candle holders. I'm not really up to speed with the crafty world so the only place I can think to look is Walmart. Any suggestions?

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