The first time I had a picnic I cycling to a busy park with a friend and a large plastic container of tuna and potato salad, and two plastic forks. Looking back on it, we hadn’t really thought out the logistics of our activity and it got very messy. My second experience was stellar. A very special school friend’s sister and friends orchestrated a beautiful picnic for her baby shower. Now I love picnics. Español aquí.

Today’s lifestyle post brings you ideas about this fun outdoor activity that you can share with the people you love. I am including some notes on how we carried out the baby shower picnic which was in Lima. I’m sorry I didn’t take any photos of the baby shower, but my battery died and I choose a bad time to live the moment. Thank you so much to Maria Grazia Peña who kindly shared the baby shower photos in the blue and white checkered cloth with me.

1. Make it pretty
Doing something out of the ordinary like sharing a meal with your friends in the park calls for making it something special and memorable. Pinterest is an excellent source to inspire you on how to decorate and set up your picnic station.

The baby shower picnic I participated had a blue and white checkered theme. For decoration we used fruit crates that we painted baby blue, white flowers in white tins and various cute baskets. We also bought blue plastic dishes and cups for the food and drinks. We went all out because it was a very special occasion for us.

2. Go somewhere nice
Think ahead and pick out where you want to carry out your picnic in advance so that you are aware of any permits or norms. I recommend choosing a park that offers safety, parking and isn’t over crowded. It’s not a bad idea to locate yourself at a walking distance from a public bathroom. The Miraflores and San Isidro districts in Lima offer nice parks and many look out onto the sea.

Parque María Reiche

We learned that San Isidro don’t have a norm for picnics so you don’t require to have a permit. What you can do is deliver a letter to them letting them know about the event. I strongly recommend visiting their office to discuss it directly. Our phone calls and facebook messages with them were misleading. Of course, drinking alcohol is not permitted in public places.

3. Think finger food
Eating outside favors finger food. Petite sandwiches and healthy snacks are picnic friendly. For fruits and vegetables you should wash them in advance and cut them in a way that is easiest to eat. Lemonade and infused water are refreshing beverages for picnics. Potlucks are a fun way to share a group meal without having to bill your friends.

Baby shower snacks

My friend’s sister and friends made a beautiful spread of sandwiches, fruits and sweets. I especially liked the fruit kabobs and baby bananas. I volunteered to bring iced tea. For making the drinks cold we bought a bag of ice and added it in each cup. If you have a cooler, it’s a good time to use it.

4. Get comfortable
Bring enough blankets or mats for laying out your food and sitting your guests. Your normal beach blanket may be large enough for two friends, but after you put food on it, it probably won’t leave room for either of you. Color combination is a nice idea for making your event look handsome. If do, you can all agree to bring one color or print, or buy the same blanket or cloth for everyone. Don’t forget some pillows as you could become tired of sitting on the same flat spot.

For our baby shower picnic we took the second route and the mommy-to-be’s sister provided a large blue and white checkered cloth. As our group of twenty trickled in, the cloth because scarce, but she saved the day with roll of ultra resistant printed towels.

5. Arrive early
Plan on arriving early or designate someone for the task in order to scout out your spot and do any unplanned cleaning. If you all arrive too late, you may not find the seat you wanted.

We had to do some unplanned cleaning for our picnic, as we chose a spot with a beautiful view, but it was littered with cigarette butts and empty beer bottles.

Bonus: Be thoughtful
Be thoughtful to your guests by planning out for any accidental spills and other natural human disasters. If you are in Lima, be careful with your personal belongings and don’t leave them unwatched or laying out. You can also be a good guest to your park and remember to collect your trash. You will be an even better guest if you sort it out for recycling.

Personally, I was a little nervous about have a picnic in the park because Lima can be unsafe but we picked a park which was very nice and well guarded. We had no problems.