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The Ultimate Picnic Planning Checklist

A lot goes into planning a picnic event, but watching all of the elements come together is part of why we love them so much! For those of you hosting an outdoor picnic celebration this...

Picnic planning and games table

A lot goes into planning a picnic event, but watching all of the elements come together is part of why we love them so much! For those of you hosting an outdoor picnic celebration this summer—and especially for those of you who have no idea where to begin—we’ve compiled this picnic planning checklist to keep your event planning process smooth and enjoyable. Whether this is your first picnic planning experience or your hundredth, following these steps to planning a picnic will help you make sure you don’t miss a thing.

Outdoor Picnic Party Checklist

1) Event Date and Time

Choose a date and time for your picnic event. Weekday or weekend? We can help with those decisions.

2) Event Location

Select an event venue that will be perfect for your picnic event. It should have open areas for entertainment, covered shelter to escape the sun, and plenty of room for fun.

Looking for the perfect picnic venue? Here’s a long list of venue partners with a variety of offerings in several different regions. We’ll help you find the one that’s just right for your picnic event.

  • Central San Diego - Coastal & Inland
  • East County Parks
  • Miramar/Mira Mesa
  • Mission Bay Area
  • North County - Coastal & Inland
  • NTC at Liberty Station - Point Loma
  • Downtown & Southward Parks

3) Guest Count

Figure out how many people you’re inviting and what the age range and demographics will be (adults-only vs. adults and kids).

Enlist your caterer or picnic planner to help you decide on any rentals, entertainment, food count, and other items based on your guest count so that everyone at your picnic will have a good time.

4) Theme

If your picnic event is going to be themed, now’s when you select it! Your theme will be carried throughout the rest of your planning process and will be incorporated into every element from entertainment and menu to décor and rentals.

Need help selecting a picnic theme? We’re good at those! Our Picnic Pros would be happy to help you select a picnic event theme that will make your picnic celebration one to remember.

5) Menu

The food you have at your picnic event can make or break the experience. Be sure to incorporate your theme into your menu—or at least have all of the traditional picnic favorites—and make sure there’s something for everyone to enjoy!

If your outdoor picnic event’s menu has you stumped, we’ve got the cure. How about some of these creative menus to surpass your guests’ expectations? Get lost in the variety of options—including on-site grilling, refreshing salads, savory side dishes, and plenty of ways to display it all.

6) Entertainment

Decide what types of picnic event entertainment and picnic games you would like to have at your event. Don’t forget to keep your adults-only or kids-included guest list in mind!

No picnic event is complete without picnic games, activities, and other entertainment. Some of the picnic entertainment options we suggest include: airbrush tattoos, bubbles, bingo, carnival booths, lawn games, moon bounce, Frisbee spin art, and watermelon eating contests. View more ideas for picnic entertainment options here.

7) Details

Timelines, event favors, rentals, registration, contests, setups, and more…the possibilities are endless when it comes to the details. Make sure to work with your picnic planner to solidify what equipment goes where, where the food tent and food lines will be, the games and entertainment portion of the venue, parking constraints, picnic permits, and more.

Don’t feel overwhelmed by all of the necessary details, though, because that’s what we’re here for. Your picnic planning experience can (and should!) be easy breezy.

Feeling overwhelmed? Here are all the ways that Picnic People, a 30-year San Diego picnic planning veteran, can make your picnic event a fun one without the hassle. Panicked picnic planners need only click here.

For more inspiration for your outdoor picnic event, visit our website or check out our many inspirational event planning tip and menu item-themed Pinterest boards.

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