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How To Hipster Up Your Picnic Engagement Shoot
Packing for a picnic is like packing for a barbeque, except there are no raw meat and fishy seafood involved, and it’s prettier – pretty enough for an engagement shoot!
Some time in April this year, I decided that the editorial team should bond over a picnic. We took a look at the pictures and realised that it could make a good styled shoot for couples who want to have a picnic-themed engagement shoot. So instead of just showing you what we ate, here’s a guide to how you can pack for your own Instagram-worthy picnic styled shoot.
1. Make a list first.
Write down everything you need to bring in one column, and everything you want to eat in another. That way, you can decide if you need wine glasses, cutting boards, knives, bottle openers, napkins and plates. These things are often overlooked, and it’s not funny when you’ve travelled half an hour to your picnic spot to find you’ve been cork-blocked from the Moscato d’Asti you’ve been waiting for all morning. Tip: go for disposables. You may not have running water available to clean your only metal spoon if you drop it.
2. You need a cute picnic basket. And a cooler.
Dinnerware, napkins, cutlery, and food items that don’t need to be chilled can go into your picnic basket. Perishable food items that can go bad quickly in the afternoon heat like cut fruits, cakes and ham should go into your cooler lined with ice packs. Remember that you do need ice for your drinks as well. Here’s a tip: only take your chilled foods out from the refrigerator at the very last minute so you can keep them cool for as long as possible.
3. Do away with vinegar- and dairy-based foods.
Unless you’re planning to set up near where you live, try not to include anything creamy or cheesy, especially with dips, salad dressing, as these may spoil easily and any leftovers cannot be kept to be consumed after the picnic. Stick to dry desserts such as jam and biscuits or brownies that taste just as good at room temperature. A reminder: consider the size of your cooler before planning the food for your picnic.
4. Pack your dry and wet food items separately.
When it comes to picnics, resealable plastic bags are your best friends. They help prevent spillage and mixing, but they are best used for sandwiches, fruits, cheeses, and snacks. They weigh next to nothing and can keep food fresh even after the picnic. For wet items such as pasta, sauces, and dips, go for resealable containers. We used mason jars because we are avid jar collectors and they look pretty. Don’t they? Tip time: Place your jars and containers at the bottom of the basket, and your plastic bags on top of them. This is to prevent spillage and crushing of food.
5. Make (almost!) everything yourself.
The girls and I agreed that we had a lot of fun at the picnic because we made all of the food ourselves. Source for easy recipes online for pastas, dips, and desserts. Most of them can be made a day in advance then chilled in the refrigerator. Go for the easiest recipes with the least ingredients and preparation time; they often turn out perfect and taste delicious. Items like baguettes, cheeses, and snacks can be bought from your nearest supermarket. But the joy is in preparing them in anticipation of the picnic and finally tasting them and finding out you’re actually a pretty good cook (or just very good at following recipes).
6. Like the title says, “hipster” it up.
I don’t know when “hipster” became a term to describe a certain image-editing-app-filter aesthetic in this decade, but well, think of how you want the atmosphere of your picnic or your styled shoot to be like. Tansey was in charge of the banner, flowers and general decor, while Audrie did the baking and desserts. I provided the basket, table cloths and other styling needs. Well, if I had a bicycle with a wicker basket I would have provided it. We didn’t actually plan to have a theme but in the great outdoors, any colour goes well with together. Be as crafty as you can. Use coloured pens, washi tape and tags to label your food for the camera.
7. You can have picnic parties too.
Double-date, or have a girls’ afternoon out. The only difference between picnics for two and picnics for ten is the quantity of food and the quality of fun. The only condition is: BYOF. Share the fun (and stress) by asking each person to bring their own favourite food.
8. Take many photos.
Picnics don’t happen very often, and a lot of effort often goes into planning and preparing for one. So go ahead and be trigger-happy. But be nice and do your photo-editing and posting after the fun is over. Picnics are all about enjoying the food and company with your favourite people. Bring music, books, and conversation. Instagram and Facebook can wait.
9. Wear sunscreen. Lots of it.
You’ll be out in the sun all afternoon, and even in the shade, you’re being exposed to the harmful UV rays. You can’t get reminded enough. And remember that you have to protect your skin and to prevent sun burn, you have to keep layering the lotion on. Like we didn’t. So this is a kind warning.
10. Bring trash bags.
Don’t leave the place ugly after making it all pretty.
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