How to Plan and Setup a Backyard Girlfriends’ Picnic

Hey there! Hope all is well. Please hang out for a spell as I show you how to plan and setup a backyard girlfriends’ picnic.

I am a huge celebrator of all things and will make an event out of anything. Unfortunately, with the Covid-19 pandemic we have been dealing with for most of 2020, I have been very cautious about who comes to my home. However, I was having withdrawals about hanging out with friends and hosting an event.

Conceptualizing the picnic ideas

My bestie and I had been talking about having a “fancy” backyard girlfriends’ picnic for most of the summer. I even mentioned including some other lady friends of mine. However, we continued to procrastinate with the plans until summer passed us by. As the seasons changed and cooler weather started sporadically coming in, we decided to get our vision together. She agreed to also have more guests in attendance. We originally planned to have everyone come dressy casual, but the cold weather changed that.

Putting on my event planner hat

Thank goodness my bestie is crafty and just as extra as I am! I gave her my ideas, and she ran with them. She created the digital invitation for me to send out, then we went to work from there. “Event planner” mode became activated as I created a list of ideas, and started a Pinterest board of other ladies’ picnics for inspiration (mostly food). I knew I wanted a small bites menu, but I didn’t know the specific foods we would have since I’m not your average cook. As usual, I found some great ideas to add to my board and then put my twist on them.

Details still matter for a small backyard event

My friend is much better at using her Cricut than I am, so of course, I solicited her help for all of the stationary and labels. It’s funny that she created a menu mockup before I gave her the full menu, but it’s like we were telekinetic, making things happen through thought-transmission. Every item she named was perfectly aligned with my ideas. I’ve hosted events before, so I knew I probably had enough inventory to create the design. Not to mention, I would most likely find items around my home that I could also use. I was 100% correct!

Create a mock setup before event day

I’m a visual person so I have to physically see the layout or at least the idea before the actual day. There were pallets leftover from a grass delivery that we’d kept in the garage for any future outdoor project, so I knew I would use those for the table. I pulled out an old green blanket that was large enough to place the pallet on and still allow room for seating. Ideas started racing in my head! Back and forth and up and down I went on the stairs like Miss Celie from The Color Purple movie, gathering items from my storage room. I chose unique placemats to start with, then added chargers. I knew I would top that off with a glass plate that I only used for special occasions and holiday tablescapes.

Finalizing the tablescape design

My friend helped me finalize the appetizers for the menu. Since everyone would start with bread and spreads, the charcuterie board would be on top of the plate. I also planned to make each guest, including myself, an acrylic place card. Unfortunately, I did not get this done. I’ll explain later. I went to my garage to pull out some centerpieces from a past wedding that I knew would be perfect for our fall-inspired picnic. They spruced up the pallet so nicely. Then I added several autumn pieces I’d picked up from Dollar Tree that I never used to decorate around the house. Everything was coming together so nicely. I had a good enough visual of the eating area, so I moved on to create ideas for the food table.

Prioritizing safety even with a backyard picnic

Because of the pandemic, I wanted to keep this event fun but as SAFE as possible. With that in mind, instead of a buffet-style food table, I created a way for everything to be individually packaged and set up separately. Every food item was in its own container or serving dish so that each guest could grab and go.

Prepping and execution

Although I was the host of the event, everyone played a part in making sure my vision was fulfilled. Besides everything else I mentioned that my bestie created, she also purchased the charcuterie boards. She dressed them up with jute twine and finished them off with a craft leaf. The plan was to put names on the handles, but the vinyl would not stick. Since I had run out of time to make the place cards, her work did not go in vain. We used the names she had cut out and placed them on the acrylic place cards. Both of our problems were solved!

Another friend purchased the loaves of bread and spreads, and she was a great help for getting everything put out and cleaned up. One of my other friends is a fantastic cook, so I asked her to prepare a delicious soup she’d shared with me the previous year. Like always, she came through with the culinary skills and the soup was absolutely amazing! 

Sticking with being safe, we didn’t play any games that required us moving from our spaces. We took a couple of pics as a group, but most of the time, we stayed in our assigned seating until it was time to pack up and leave.

Create your own to-go basket

I wanted everyone to have a to-go picnic basket as a thank you gift. The baskets were set out on a table, already prepackaged with a few goodies. We had placed a candle, decorated candle holder, a baggy of chips, instructions for cleaning the charcuterie boards, and a couple of snack bags of bread. There was also a twist-tie, decorative bow, and plastic basket cover to close everything inside. As part of the itinerary, everyone added their final items to take home. That included the charcuterie board, place card, individual containers of jam and garlic butter spread, guacamole, fruit, pie in a jar, and creamy tomato soup. Everyone enjoyed the idea of making their own to-go basket.

We all had a great time, and I cannot wait to do it again! This was my 1st Annual Backyard Girlfriends’ Picnic, but hopefully, things will be much better next year and I can invite even more friends and family to hang out with us.

The itinerary:

  • Take temperatures (Hey, we were all about safety)!
  • Meet and greet
    • Give your name, tell something about your family, how you met Toni and how long you’ve known her
  • Ice breaker
    • Two Truths and a Lie
      • Go around the group and have each person say three things about themselves: two things that are true and one that is a lie. Then, the rest of the group has to guess which ones are the truth, and which is the lie.
  • Group pics with tripod
  • Eat
  • Share something you’re thankful for
  • Make to-go baskets
  • Breakdown and clean up

Now, are you ready to setup and plan a backyard girlfriends’ picnic?

Until next time, I’ll leave you with this. Don’t forget to spend time with the ones you love. We never know when our time on earth is up, so make the best of every moment with family and friends. Also, please don’t get caught up with how we put this together. Anyone can use this backyard girlfriends’ picnic idea for any season. It can be as casual and simple as possible, and it can take place indoors or outdoors. The details are up to you and your girlfriends! Some people don’t like the outdoors or don’t want to be out during specific seasons (especially the cold or the heat). Either way, plan something no matter how big or small, and have fun doing it. Has this event inspired you in any way to do something with your close friends or family members this season?

Thanks for hanging out with me!

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