Planning a picnic is a great way for family to get together. For the person who undertakes such a task, it is important to know the participants well enough so that no one will be disappointed in your choices for the occasion. But, if they are family members, then hopefully you know them well enough anyway. Here are some tips for organizing a family picnic that will be a hit with everyone involved.
First, send out invitations. If you are like me, your extended family is not very large so it is easy to round up everyone with a few telephone calls. However, if you’re blessed with a larger brood, you may want to mail invitations including RSVP requests to assess how many people will be attending. There’s nothing worse than preparing food and drinks for fifty guests and having eighty show up. People tend to get a little testy about their food.
Give yourself at least two to three weeks before the event for the invitation process. In the meantime, start scouting for spots to host the picnic. Most public parks have large shelters for big parties. Base the size of your shelter on the number of invitations sent out times two. That will be a rough estimate. People may have children.
Let’s discuss the location for a moment. Choose a place that has additional activities for kids to participate in. Paddle boats and volleyball nets are usually a good choice. People can get up a game while others go out on the water. Hiking is also a fun thing to do at a picnic. Find a buddy and a trail and you are ready for action. Also, it probably isn’t wise to picnic in an area that isn’t easily accessible by the elderly or those with small children.
Now comes the hard part. It is time to decide on the menu. We know what traditionally is served at a picnic but our family may be anything but traditional. Entertain the thought as well that there may be vegetarians or non-meat eaters in the group. People may not eat pork or beef for religious or health reasons or simply because they are trying to cut back. Either way, food choices of those attending need to be taken into account.
At a recent picnic, several dishes such as chicken were cooked beforehand and brought to the gathering. Buffet servers and Sternos were used to warm up the meats while other items like hotdogs, ribs, and hamburgers were cooking. Another idea is to bring chafing dishes to keep hot foods hot and cold dishes cold during the entire time you are picnicking.
For entertainment, be sure to have plenty of games on hand, especially if their will be children present. Instead of bringing music, especially if older family members are present, sing songs together or tell childhood stories about each other. All it takes for a family gathering to be a success is a good dose of laughter and a great serving food.