Picnic receptions can be incredible and much more memorable than standard hotel catering. Not only is it more casual and comfortable but it's easy (and less expensive) to prepare gourmet picnic food or just good old down home cooking. Some brides and grooms opt for a pig roast with an option of gourmet hamburgers or provide the fixing for cuban sandwichs with the roast. You can also pack individual meals (think adult Happy Meal with everything provided in the box from napkins and cutlery to food). You can find fun boxes at restaurant supply houses, paper supply or party stores, or you can even make your own. You will also need small portion cups w/lids. Each guests meal box could include a sandwich (you could have a variety of different sandwiches*, and have lovely tags on the boxes that tell what type is in each box), roasted potato salad (use mixed colors of baby potatoes, with an interesting sauce - a rosemary and horseradish sauce is wonderful), fresh berries or mixed fruit, and corn-off-the-cobb salad. A dessert bar with homemade-looking pies, cookies and cakes would be lovely, too.
* Sandwich suggestions: Curried chicken and cashew salad, veggie and cream cheese, fancy egg salad, and peanut butter/jam/banana for kids.
Another idea is to use white linens on the picnic tables (mixed vintage cloths would be beautiful!), white blankets on the grass (Ikea has white and off-white blankets for under $5 each), sitting-pillows strewn on the blankets, table bouquets of sunflowers or mixed wild flowers (lining the tables with ivy or sweet pea vines would be fun, too), vintage picnic baskets (you can pick these up at flea markets or garage sales, or,borrow them from friends), and white and silver balloons. Be sure to have enough chair/benchs to seat your older guests who may not want to sit on the ground!
When I think picnic for drinks I think of mint juleps (mint leaves, bourbon, sugar, water, ice), gourmet iced tea, fresh strawberry lemonade, random bottles of wine (in the vintage picnic baskets?), sangria, and possibly iced coffee.
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