magazine | Gatherings | The Picnic Project

How-To Host A French Market Picnic Party in 14 Steps

Life is clearly better with picnics. Say hello to summer with a French Market picnic party. There are so many reasons to throw down a blanket and bring a bottle of rosé wine to share with your friends. A girls day, a unique twist on a dinner party, or a wedding picnic perhaps? Spain Ranch was the perfect setting to embrace the joie de vivre of this girls day French-inspired picnic. You can recreate this at the ranch, your backyard or a city park. From what to wear, to who to invite and the provisions to pack, this is your 14 step guide to a fabulous French Market Picnic Party. 

Styling: Melissa Click Photography &  Blue J Home | Venue: Spain Ranch
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Set The Theme learn more

The French practically invented picnicking and rosé wine plus, everyone loves a good theme. Recreate a Parisian dining al fresco experience amidst the Jardin des Champs-Elysees in your own backyard or park. A girls day was all this crew needed as a reason to celebrate - impromptu picnic party can be the best kinds. This French market picnic party is the perfect theme for any occasion; sweet baby shower, bridal luncheon, birthday bash or just because.  
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Choose A Picturesque Location like Spain Ranch learn more

It's all about the serene and stunning setting. Whether it’s your own back yard, a nearby park, the ocean or a lake-side destination you can pretty much plop down anywhere. This picnic was hosted on the grounds of Spain Ranch, a stunning venue in Jenks Oklahoma. Guests were whisked away to Provincial countryside vibes surrounded by shady trees, sprawling lawns and a tranquil pond. Side note: Wouldn't it be incredible to host a picnic wedding or picnic retreat here?
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Ditch The Cookbook for Store Bought Goods learn more

Let's be honest. Most of us don't have time to style out a killer spread and cook it too. That whole 'work and parent' thing can take up a lotta time, so ditch your recipe book and head to the grocery store. Whole Foods (their macarons are delicious or if you happen to be in Tulsa, this creative crew recommends a stop by La Madeleine or Antoinette Baking Co for pastries and sweets, think: macarons and tarts). Picnic Party Tip: Besides the macarons, this group of friends ate simple single-ingredient foods, arranged beautifully. 
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Serve A French Market Inspired Menu learn more

Serve up traditional food one would get from a French Market. The three main components of a picnic in France are bread, cheese and wine. Not only are they delicious, French provisions are easy to serve and eat. When shopping for your spread, bear in mind what you’d find in the booths of an outdoor French market. Shopping List Items: Curate a cheese platter with a variety of types, then add charcuterie (cured meats), nuts (almonds or pistachios) and a few spread options (honey or perhaps fig jam). For breads, choose traditional baguette, croissants or fancy crackers. 
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Source Local Summer Produce learn more

Summer is the season for delicious fruit and an outdoor picnic certainly calls for fresh produce. Seasonal fruits like peaches, blueberries, cherries or strawberries are all lovely options that pair perfectly with wine and cheese. Yum!
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It's All About The Cute Details learn more

Put a little pep in your picnic step. The ambiance of your meal is just as important as the portable provisions. Pick up sandwiches from your local shop and tie calligraphed name tags around each one. What a simple and fun way to elevate a pre-bought meal and make sure that all of your ladies know which sandwich is theirs. Local calligrapher Prairie Letter Shop, beautifully wrote these tags. 
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Serve Bottles of Rosé & Fruit-Infused Water learn more

Melissa Click Photography from Moms of Tulsa recommends keeping your drink service simple. Citrus-infused water, sparkling water, champagne and rosé are the perfect way to hydrate at your picnic party. Rosé is an ideal wine selection with it’s lightness, beautiful color and fruity notes. Champagne is also a French appropriate indulgence. For non-alcoholic beverages serve up a simple fruit-infused water, sparkling water or lovely bottled artisanal lemonades that can be found at most grocery stores and markets. 
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​Compile a Mood-setting Playlist learn more

Looking for a sweet summer picnic playlist? Prepare to be swept away by the Champ de Mars with the perfect French soundtrack. This crew started with cheery classics by the likes of Edith Piaf (“La Vie En Rose”) and Sidney Bechet (try “Summertime”). If you are looking to go from drinks to dranks, turn up the tempo with songs by current American artists such as “Paris” by Lana Del Ray or Grace Potter and the Nocturnals’ “Paris (Ooh La La).” 
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Shop Locally For Your Picnic Decor learn more

The picnic party decor is just as important as the food. This group of friends brought locally sourced cutting boards from Jake Fowler Design, locally-made Oklahoma honey from Roark Acres (you can order this online) and linen picnic blankets with tasseled pillows. The serveware and plates were  purchased from estate sales. 
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Dress The Part learn more

Nothing elevates your picnic game quite like dressing the part. Wear casual and comfy layers that are good for lawn games and sitting on that blanket. Summery fabrics like linen and chambray paired with understated hairstyles brink that easy-breezy picnic vibe. Think unfussy braids, messy buns, low ponytails and wide-brimmed hats for a few French-inspired choices. Invite your guests to wear something they might go shopping in at a Parisian market. A pastel palette of cool tones or all neutrals will make for pretty picnic photo-ops. 
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Bring the Kiddos & Play Lawn Games learn more

Bringing the kids to a restaurant can get a little hectic sometimes. What little one doesn't love goofing off over a good picnic in a Parisian park. Let their cute little hands grab at the fun food-filled spread, it's all about getting messy. Plus, they can run laugh and yell without bothering fellow diners. Bring some traditional French lawn games to really get them in the spirit. 
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Use Overturned Crates As Tables learn more

If you really want to elevate your picnic game, bring along crates to carry your yummy nibbles in and then simply turn them over to use as mini picnic tables and displays for your market fare. Plop them in the center of the blanket and layer them up with an array of rainbow bites. The abundance of aromas and colors along with the pretty display will feel make you feel as if you are strolling through a beautiful French Market. 
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Bring Wood Cutting Boards learn more

This picnicking bunch bought beautiful Ambrosia Maple/Walnut cutting boards from a local Oklahoma shop Jake Fowler Design. Bringing cutting boards is an absolutely brilliant and important part of this feast. You will want to cut the bread and fruit on location to keep things fresh. It also feels oh-so very French.
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Bring Your Market Basket learn more

Don't forget to bring your traditional market basket. You can use it to shop for the goods at the grocery store, bring your food and of course take home any leftovers in style. 
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