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How to Have a Picnic

Romantic Picnic Ideas

To plan a romantic picnic, keep a few principles in mind:

  • It's still a picnic, not a formal meal. Not everything will go as you plan, and that's fine -- couples wind up telling stories about the times plans change unexpectedly. If you drive for two hours and a thunderstorm starts just as you reach the national park, don't pout or turn around. Have a picnic in the car.
  • Surprise can be charming. Pack candles, or a vase and flowers, to adorn your picnic table (or blanket). Learn your sweetie's favorite dessert and smuggle it into the picnic basket.
  • Humor is important. Silly touches -- like formal china for peanut butter sandwiches -- help new couples discover their ability to laugh together. (If you go this route, do be sure you have a secure way to pack the china.)
  • Food is one of the most sensual pleasures people can share. Try something you've never cooked before. Or, if she's always wanted to try a certain restaurant, order food from its catering department.

A big part of romance is location. Choose an unusual spot -- something that can become your special place as a couple. Does your city have a botanical garden? Any nearby beaches or national parks? Do any downtown buildings have rooftop gardens? Think about your personality as a couple. Do you prefer being somewhere secluded, or do you enjoy being surrounded by people?

Some outdoor music series, such as the Sant­a Fe Opera or Chicago's Ravinia Festival, permit picnics or tailgate parties. Outdoor theater and movies can also make for wonderful picnicking. Pack a gourmet spread (see the next page to learn how) and treat your love to an evening of art under the stars.

Speaking of stars, a nighttime picnic is a memorable way to show your love. Even better? A picnic that actually lets you wish on a star. Check to find the dates and best viewing locations for upcoming meteor showers.

Some touches, like serenades, are classics. Bring a guitar or other musical instrument. If you have a song as a couple, surprise your love by learning it. Or, for the grand gesture, hire a musician to serenade you. Local wedding planners will have lists of appropriate solo performers.

What does the adventurous foodie pack for a picnic? Read on for ways to make the picnic a memorable culinary experience.