Currently, a friend and I are planning a farewell party. It's going to be a picnic(!) As we started the planning process, we quickly realized it wasn't as simple as it seemed like at first. We needed to figure out the menu, get decorations, buy the supplies... So in case anyone else is planning and hosting a picnic, here are some of my suggestions.
For food, I like a combo of salty and sweet. Make sure there's a balance too - don't overdo the sweets. Sandwiches served with a side of chips and cookies are a great idea. Of course, there's the whole healthy route, and you can pack veggie sticks with hummus and fresh fruit. Something easy to eat, like finger food, is always a plus. (You won't need to bring utensils.) Avoid mayonnaise though - some people don't like it, and there's the whole oh-no!-the-potato-salad-is-spoiled fiasco. Don't forget ice packs and coolers if the menu consists of something that spoils easily!
Another thing to keep in mind is that cupcakes are better than cakes (at least in the picnic scenario). Cupcakes are individual and easy to eat. Cakes require a knife and can be messy to serve. Currently, I'm toying with the idea of allowing my guests to frost their own cupcakes. It's less work for me and more fun for the picnic-goers! Obviously, there won't be fancy icing bags and tips to choose from. I think I'll just pick up an aerosal can of frosting from the supermarket.
For beverages, I like to stick with one type of drink. Too many options can quickly become overwhelming. The classic lemonade is a great choice. A clever shortcut is to reconstitute a powdered lemonade mix and add thin lemon slices to the pitcher. Your guests will never suspect that you (gasp!) cheated! Or, you could come up with your own signature drink. Don't forget the ice!
Remember the paper plates and plastic cups! Napkins are good, but moist towelletes bring your picnic up a whole new level! And if it's a fancier meal (for example, macaroni and cheese), bring utensils! There's nothing worse to have planned a great menu, and on the day of your picnic, realize that there's no serving ware. Your guest will just have to use their mad origami skills to fold cups out of leaves. (On the bright side, they are compostable!)
Instead of going the tacky, and might I add, overused (shudder!), balloons-as-decorations route, I prefer to fill large balloons with normal air and let them float on the ground. It's a nice twist, and balloon fights on a whim are always fun. Oh! - and enlist your artsy friend to create some decorations for your picnic. (You guys know what I'm talking about, right? The artsy friend that you secretly hate because he/she is just a little too talented?)
Don't forget picnic blankets either. As the host, you can either supply them or make it a BYOPB (bring your own picnic blanket) picnic. Wouldn't it be fun to see a mix of bright patterns? I sure think so.
And the last, but most obvious-yet-important tip, please check the weather. Dining alfresco is a great experience, only if rain isn't pouring over your head. Either postpone your picnic or move it indoors!