As we celebrate The Elopement Issue
, we knew we had to dive into one of our favourite elopement traditions – the elopement picnic! When you run away to the middle of nowhere to tie the knot, you deserve to celebrate in style and what better idea to commemorate your vows than with your own homegrown elopement worthy picnic?
Our guide below includes absolutely everything and it’s going to be key for you to edit this down as you see fit to make your picnic yours. Happy as a pig in mud to eat off paper plates? Go for it! Want to grab fish and chips and eat them on the beach? Go for it! These are just ideas and suggestions to make your picnic a little luxe, a little celebratory, a little special. Your ultimate picnic? Well, it’s ultimately up to you!
Choosing the ultimate picnic spot
So while your elopement spot is high on your list of priorities, the spot for your picnic has to be next on your list if you’re celebrating that way.
Sentimental spots are always the go-to: the park where you got engaged, under the tree where you had your first date… But make sure you take into account things like the popularity of the spot, the bug factor, how much shade and wind it gets, and how private it is. If you are scoping out sites, make sure you do it at a similar time to your picnic so you get a good gauge all the factors at the same time.
If you don’t have a sentimental favourite, consider the local botanic gardens of your town or city. There are often plenty of sheltered spots, with plenty of privacy that are pretty failsafe.
Have a backup plan
If your wedding day is blowing a gale, or pouring with rain you’re going to need a back up plan. Make a list of other spots you can set up your picnic. Look for gazebos and undercover shelters that might be just what you need. And the ultimate failsafe option? A picnic on your living room floor (which, if you ask me, is a perfect idea!)
Creating Your Menu
Picnic food options should be transportable and easy to eat without a table. Think finger food like fried chicken, mini sandwiches, pie, quiches and salads. Opt for foods that don’t need to stay completely iced (mayonnaise, for example, is not happy unless it’s chilled).
You could also make your grazing table. Bring cheese, crackers, dips, cured meats, fresh fruit and nuts and add them all to the one board – delicious, tasty and easy.
A mini wedding cake is our recommendation – it’s festive and delicious. But if you’re a sweet tooth consider other sweet treats that are canapé sized. Little meringues, little servings of your favourite slice, individual decadent chocolate, and even options like fresh fruit salad.
Don’t forget to stay hydrated! A large bottle of cold water is always a must (and doubles as an easy way to wash hands or surfaces if the need arises). For something soft, you might also want to consider your favourite juices or soft drink.
Want bubbles? Can we say this is almost an essential? You need to toast your marriage after all! Champagne is the most celebratory, but the lightness of Prosecco (and its bubbliness!) is always a winner too. If you’re not a big drinker and hate waste, opt for piccolo size servings. And for wine? Pick your favourite, but of course – you could even consider the new style cask wines for something easy to transport.
And if cocktails are your jam, instead of lugging along a cocktail shaker, can we suggest pre-mixing your favourites and packing them? Espresso martinis, mojitos, sangria, Moscow mules – all of these pack well and just require a little ice and chilled ingredients to top up. If you’re feeling even more organised and fancy glassware doesn’t worry you, mix up individual serves in canning jars and screw on the lid for a grab and go option.
Too much? Get it catered!
We know that with planning a wedding, even an elopement, the to-do’s can get the better of you. So if they do? Hand over the reins to a caterer. After all, what could be better than unveiling a box of deliciousness you haven’t even had to slave over yourself? Meet some of our favourite caterers here.
Prepping & Packing
The main kit
Whether it’s a large grocery box or a picnic basket you’ve had lying around for years (ask your mates if they have one you can borrow!) make sure you have a vessel to cart it all along. Beautiful straw picnic baskets are the quintessential picnic vibe but don’t forget a chiller bag you can put ice into for your drinks and chilled food.
Inside, you’ll need to make sure you have airtight containers (use tape to tape down lids and avoid spillage if you’re nervous), and icepacks for your food. As well as the aforementioned cutlery, plates and glassware and napkins.
This elopement picnic? There is no need for it to be like an impulsive sojourn you’ve experienced (not that there is anything we don’t love about those) but take the time to invest in thinking though the picnic setup.
Choose a beautiful, soft picnic rug. Maybe it’s sentimental, maybe it’s a rug you snuggle under and watch movies under every Saturday night. Maybe it’s the one you took on your first road trip together, maybe it’s your grandmother’s. A waterproof mat below is always a good idea, especially for morning dew. Make sure whatever you choose can be washed, because you’ll need it on the other side! And don’t forget to throw in a few pillows if you want a little added comfort.
And choose beautiful surfaces. Ditch the plastic plates, you’re married (and it’s better for the environment). Because this is such a special occasion, pack beautiful crockery and glassware. Your favourite champagne coupes (wrap them in tea towels so you can ensure they don’t break!). Beautiful bowls for serving and plates for serving. Don’t forget metal cutlery too.
Want a little extra stability? Consider a small foldable picnic table – these are awesome because they mean you have a flat surface for food prep, and you won’t knock your wine glass over as you reach for the cheese.
Perhaps you want to enjoy the sounds of nature, or perhaps you want to add to the ambience. Portable speakers make this so very easy to do (and if you don’t have one, chances are a friend or a family member will let your borrow theirs).
For playlists, we recommend curating your own. Pick your favourite sentimental tunes, the songs that spoke fo your relationship. The melody that player during your first kiss, the songs that you dance together to in the kitchen. And if all else fails, classic French jazz is always utterly romantic and easy to listen to.
Need playlist inspo? Check out some of our playlists over here.
Again, this isn’t your ordinary picnic. So why not have some fun with the styling? Think about sweet little posies of fresh flowers or a vase of blooms that complement your bouquet. Bud vases with just a little water (transported in a water bottle) bought or delivered fresh on the day would add a little special touch. You could even ask your wedding florist for a few small arrangements.
You might also consider candles for a little added romance (safety first, we recommend enclosing them in hurricane lanterns and checking the fire ratings when you get married!)
Not everyone gets bored on a picnic, but it does happen, why not bring along a game of boules? A scrabble set?
The odds & ends
Don’t forget the basics. They’re not pretty but they’re oh so essential. You’ll want to make sure you pack the following so you’re not caught short:
- A bottle opener/corkscrew
- A knife
- A chopping board
- Tea towel
- Matches (for candles or BBQs)
- Wet wipes (especially useful if you’ve got something sticky on the menu)
- A rubbish bag
- Sunscreen and hats
- Insect repellent
- Hand sanitiser
Let it come together!
The night before, make sure you’re prepped and ready to go. Your drinks and food should be set in the fridge, your bags packed. Your portable speaker charged. The last thing you will want to do on the morning of your big day is to run around trying to find the corkscrew!
This post features the following wedding vendors. If you've been featured below, we'd love to get to know you. Click here to join Polka Dot Bride.