Seven ideas for a vintage-themed picnic

by Meagan Dill

Now that summer is in full swing, the timing couldn’t be more perfect to plan some alfresco dining before the dreary winter months make a comeback. Here at Georgette Magazine we love nothing more than a good excuse to stuff our faces in style. It is in this spirit that we present to you a few suggestions to inspire you to put together your very own vintage picnic.

Sweet treats

Cupcakes, lamingtons, scones, muffins – standard picnic fare, perhaps, but put them all together on a classic cupcake stand and you have instant vintage flair. You can find a cupcake stand at any large department store, and remember: more layers mean more extravagance. Just be careful when transporting the stand to and from the picnic. It may be wise to take everything in bits and pieces and only put everything together once you’re at your picnic spot – otherwise turning a sharp corner in your car could destroy your creation in an instant.

Homely blankets

A picnic’s not a picnic without a blanket. Fact. And by putting just a little extra thought into this detail, you can use it to create that authentic vintage atmosphere. Go for a chequered or polka dot print. Another idea is a gorgeous patchwork quilt (bonus points if you make it yourself). If you want to go the extra mile – or two – you could even weave a blanket from ribbons. It sounds like a daunting job, but it has been done before with gorgeous results.

Shaken, not stirred

Cocktails were in high fashion during the vintage era. Bring that to the present by making cocktails of your own. Anything fruity and refreshing will fit the bill perfectly. Something simple, such as a Screwdriver (orange juice and vodka) can go down well. Or there’s always the classic Martini: combine gin with some vermouth, and don’t forget the olive! If you want to skip the alcohol, another classic picnic idea is homemade lemonade. A simple recipe involves making a syrup by heating one cup of sugar with one cup of water on the stove. Once that’s done, combine this syrup with the juice of between four and six lemons (enough to make about a cup of lemon juice). Add three to four cups of chilled water, and pop it in the fridge until cold. Simple and tasty!

The sound of music

There’s nothing quite like music to take you back in time. Of course, the warm, scratchy sound of a record player would be ideal – but since that’s not entirely practical, you can cheat a little by using your car’s CD player or a portable set of speakers attached to an MP3 player. The playlist is where the real magic happens. Put together a compilation of classics; think along the lines of Frank Sinatra, Nina Simone and Cole Porter. Or you could go the route of modern music that still has that old school feel, like American indie band She & Him.

Location, location, location

This is quite possibly one of the best things about having a picnic. Whether you choose to picnic on a beach, in a forest, or even in your own backyard, your imagination is the limit. Also, the tradition of picnicking during the day only is not something that necessarily still stands. Add a few candles or fairy lights and you have the perfect setting for a romantic night-time picnic. Just remember that safety comes first when picking a picnic spot. Getting arrested (or worse) doesn’t exactly go with the whole atmosphere we’re trying to create here, does it?

Plastic: not so fantastic

Now we get to the finer details: although plastic was around in the vintage age, it somehow still feels too modern to be natural at a vintage-themed picnic. So stick with paper, or even take along some proper plates and glasses. There’s nothing wrong with taking breakables to a picnic so long as your venue doesn’t forbid it, and of course you should exercise some caution so as not to end up with breakages.

Capture the memories

Having put some effort into this picnic, you’re probably going to want something to remember it by. Snapping a few photographs is, of course, the obvious solution here. But why not take it a step further by ditching digital and going for an old film or Polaroid camera? You may be able to order one online, or you could try searching at church carnivals and second-hand, antique or vintage stores. You may even find a real bargain, and there’s just something special and nostalgic about pictures taken on film.

By far the most important thing to remember is to have fun and put your own style into your picnic plans. If picnicking seems like a lot of work to put into one meal, try gathering up your closest friends and making it a group effort – where everyone puts some effort in and everyone enjoys the final product. In this way, your picnic is no longer just a meal; it becomes a way of making memories and sharing.

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