How To Plan the Perfect Picnic

by | Jul 2024

Pouring water with mint herbs and lemon from pitcher into drinking glass. Woman preparing healthy food and drinks

iStock/Zbynek Pospisil

Create a dreamy, cottagecore summer day.

Picture this: The sun is shining. The birds are chirping. The sounds of nature are calling to you—welcoming you into its home. Grab your spouse, your kids, your friends—whomever it might be—and head into Maple Grove’s great outdoors for a cottagecore-inspired picnic. We compiled everything you need for the picnic of your dreams—from eco-friendly essentials to essential cottagecore styles. Happy Picnicking!

The Essentials:
  • Out are the days of one-time-use products. Although compostable utensils and plates are great, swap them out for reusable products. Use what you already have—or visit a vintage store for gently loved pieces. Linen napkins are functional and renewable. Reusable glassware straws can level up any drinkware. Wooden cutting boards work wonderfully as serving platters.
  • Capture the aesthetic with a patterned blanket. Think: Grandma’s vintage blankets that are oh-so-cozy. Cream or white sheets and comforters also work.
  • Picnic baskets fit the aesthetic, but to keep food and beverages cool, consider a cooler or a reusable thermal bag with ice.
  • Level up the atmosphere with wildflowers. Whether you stop by the farmers market or forage on your own. Baby’s Breath, greenery and pops of colorful flowers add to the playful day.
  • Capture every detail of your Pinterest-worthy day with a FUJIFILM instant camera or digital camera. Photography experts may want to splurge for a film camera. (Submit images to our annual photo contest.)
Unrecognized woman weaves a wreath of wild flowers for the summer solstice at master class. Vertical life style photo.


The Bites and Sips:
  • Finger Foods: Include a rainbow of colorful fruits and vegetables found fresh at the Maple Grove Farmers Market, 9060 Zanzibar Lane N. Add artisanal cheeses, cured meats and sourdough bread for a full charcuterie spread.
  • Sliced Sandwiches: Turn your picnic into a tea party with sandwiches cut into fours. Or swap your white sandwich bread out for a croissant or baguette.
  • Decadent Desserts: Macaron, English scones, fruit tarts and pastries should be your go-to for desserts. Serve alongside jam for garden-party-inspired fare.
  • Summer-Inspired Sips: Pack lemonade or fresh lemon water. Mix up mocktails, using sparkling water and fruit juices.

Chicken Waldorf Salad Sandwiches

Serves: 6

  • 1 medium apple, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 (5.3 oz) container plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ¼ tsp. Kosher salt
  • 2 ¼ cups diced cooked chicken
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
  • ½ cup seedless red or green grapes, halved
  • ¼ cup celery, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 6 large croissants, split
  • arugula or lettuce leaves
  • black pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, combine apple and lemon juice; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, mayonnaise, orange juice and salt. Stir in chicken, pineapple, grapes and celery. Drain apple, discarding lemon juice. Add apple to chicken mixture. Cover and chill at least 1 hour. Just before serving, stir in walnuts. Line bottom half of each croissant with arugula. Top with chicken mixture. Season to taste with black pepper. Add top croissant slice.

Quick Veggie Sandwiches

Serves: 1

  • Lunds & Byerlys Bake-at-Home Lemon Rosemary Baguette
  • Vegetables of choice, such as sliced bell peppers, sprouts or cucumber slices

For the Yogurt Dressing

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. shallots, minced
  • Tabasco sauce, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Slice the baguette into sandwich-size pieces, then bake in a 400 F oven for 8 minutes. While the baguette is baking, make the yogurt dressing. Mix all ingredients. Spread the dressing on both sides of the baguette; stack with colorful bell peppers, sprouts, cucumber slices and thinly sliced shallots.

Picnic Playlist:

Any good afternoon includes a curated playlist. Consider adding these whimsical tunes to your outing:

  1. August by Taylor Swift
  2. Dancing Queen by ABBA
  3. Daylight by David Kushner
  4. Dial Drunk by Noah Kahan
  5. Golden Hour by JVKE
  6. Grace by Surfaces
  7. Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles
  8. La Vie En Rose by Daniela Andrade
  9. Sunflower by Harry Styles
  10. Too Sweet by Hozier
The Location:
What to Wear:

When planning your picnic day outfit, look toward the cottagecore style by embracing fashion that is harmonious with nature. Think: You’ve just walked out of a Jane Austen novel and into the present day. Cottagecore is all about the idyllic lifestyle—soft florals, pastel tones and voluminous silhouettes reign supreme. Think about these four key elements when planning your summer style:

Colors: Consider cream tones instead of bright whites, light blues and rose pinks. Sage greens and lavender purples also fit here.

Photo of a beautiful girl with long hair and a bow on her head.


Patterns: Toile is queen—this floral pattern is classic and can be found in new and old fashion alike. Dainty floral patterns are also a beautiful go-to and can be found in a wide range of fashion picks, including dresses, blouses and even denim. Scalloped and lace edges can lend a hand here, too.

Silhouettes: Ditch the tight, waist-cinching corset for a blouse or dress with a corset silhouette—breathable, yet trendy. Puffed sleeves continue to dominate alongside florals—and the two paired together? A match made in cottagecore heaven.

Textures: When shopping for cottagecore styles, it’s all about searching for pieces made out of natural fabrics, including linen and cotton. Comfort is important, and flowing pieces fit right into the cottagecore lifestyle. Look toward lowrise linen pants or a linen button-up blouse. Straw accessories, including the beloved oversized brim hats and bags, pair perfectly with a picnic look.

Other details to take into consideration: Femininity is the backbone of the cottagecore style. So think about adding a bow/ribbon to your hair or even to your accessories—the more the merrier. Embroidery and custom monogrammed items add a personalized touch to your look. Consider shopping vintage instead of new—many of these styles were once popular, so you may have luck at local thrift stores.


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