What inspired us: a rustic traditional German beer garden table; a favorite wool blanket; simple brown takeaway boxes; colorful oral fabrics sourced from a shop with a lovely owner who always cuts more than you’ve ordered without adding a penny to the price; specimen kits that we enjoyed as children recreated in a simple way to encourage exploration for our younger guests; the weather and mood of late summer/early autumn weather with its changing leaves and crisp air; teepees; the challenge of creating something special and memorable out of very little; and keeping the overall look inexpensive and relatively simple to prep.
Children’s Space: Construct a teepee using found branches and pine. You can google scouting websites before you set off so you know how to make it safe and secure.
Crafty Lunch: We packed lunch in Kraft paper takeaway boxes. To personalize, each was tied with torn fabric strips and presented with a sprig of something green from the forest plucked before guests arrived.
Finishing Touches: Wooden cutlery, paper cups wrapped with ribbon applied using a glue stick, a sandwich wrapped
in white wax paper, a white paper bag cut short to fill with chips—think of sweet little ways to present lunch that are easy and cost next to nothing.
Mark the Spot: Make a simple marker to direct guests to the picnic site. This is a branch wrapped with string, faux fur, and linen scraps. We used a wooden knife as our arrow and stamped PICNIC on it so friends could easily locate us.
Create Mini Books: Encourage kids to tape their forest finds into little books and label them (provide the books when they arrive). Parents can help so the project can be fun and educational for all.
Personalized Pretzels: Line a wooden fruit crate with a large fabric napkin and tuck away some lovely fresh pretzels from the local bakery. Use fabric scraps to add tags with guests’ names on them—use a hole punch to slip the fabric through. You can write a personal message on the other side of your tags specific to each guest.
Scavenger Hunt: Print out favorite photos and tape to a tree as a something pretty to behold. But there’s more… after you’ve eaten, invite guests to take a photo and they will find a scavenger hunt listed on the back—a fallen branch, flower, pine cone, fern, moss, an empty snail shell, etc. The number of items to find shouldn’t be overwhelming and it’s more fun when children join in. The first person to find the most from their list wins a prize.
Make It Cozy: Bring extra throws and sheepskins to add warmth for guests (old and young!) who prefer to sit on the forest oor instead of at the table.
From Holly Becker’s new book, Decorate for a Party Styling by Holly Becker