Date Night Idea: Romantic Backyard Picnic

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Looking for a fun, fresh, yet inexpensive way to enjoy time with your partner?

A backyard picnic date perfectly fits the bill. This inexpensive date night can be surprisingly romantic, yet completely simple and spontaneous at the same time.

I’ve included some tips and supplies below to help make this fun date night at home even easier.

It can be so easy to get into the rut of eating at the same table or even by the couch every night (we’re so guilty of this!). Something as simple as a picnic can provide a great change of scenery and add a romantic feel to your night at home.

As new homeowners hoping to renovate parts of our home, we can no longer justify the expensive dinners out as often. This at home date night felt even more romantic than going to a restaurant and was very inexpensive in comparison. 

The best part about creating a picnic date is that it can be completely unfussy and done with what you have on hand.

You can take the time to style it or you can pack up a picnic tote with the bare essentials and skip straight to the best part...enjoying your date night!

Keep reading for a list of the supplies and food we used in our picnic, as well as other ideas to inspire your picnic.

Essentials for a backyard picnic date:

Whether you want to go the whole nine yards and decorate your space or just have a quick impromptu picnic with the bare necessities, there are a few essentials to have at every picnic:

Large blanket
Picnic Basket (any type of basket will work)
Simple food
Small plates
Silverware if needed
Beverage of choice
Music playing device
Good weather and good company

How to decorate a backyard picnic:

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In order to make the picnic feel extra special, I added some fun decor elements we had around the house, picked up some fresh flowers, and spent some time styling the area before we ate.

Decorating the area isn’t necessary, but it did make our date feel so much more special. It felt like we were in our own private space in the country versus just in our backyard! It only took me about 30 minutes to find some things in the house to bring outside and style the area.

Decorations we used:

Cake stand
Sunflower and eucalyptus arrangement
Tea light holders to hang in the trees
Throw pillows
Faux greenery garland
Loose eucalyptus stems
Serving boards
Picnic basket
Extra blanket


Other decoration ideas:

Ottoman poufs
String lights (solar or battery powered)
Short table (palettes are great for this!)
Wild flowers or foraged items from the yard
Napkins and serveware
Canopy netting to hang from the trees
Mismatched plates and bowls
Flower petals
Wind chime

However you decide to decorate your picnic, it’s important to have fun with it and not get too focused on perfection.

I find it best to use what we have on hand at home to keep the date night inexpensive and easy. Plus it was fun to go on a little search around our house for decorative items I could re-purpose for the picnic.

If you would rather go somewhere like a park rather than a backyard picnic, less is more with decorating as you will not want to carry around a bunch of things. A few simple candles, some flowers, and pillows will do the trick.

How to choose food for a backyard picnic:

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Perhaps the greatest part about a picnic date is the ability to make simple food feel special and luxurious.

It’s best to choose things that can be eaten at room temperature or that can be kept cool with ice packs or a cooler. Foods that must be kept hot can be difficult to pack and may keep you running in and out of the house while preparing the food.

We chose to do a charcuterie and wine themed picnic. I just learned about a year ago that charcuterie means a meat and cheese board. Charcuterie just makes it sound so fancy so that’s what I love to call it!

Charcuterie board items:

3-4 variety of cheeses
3-4 variety of meats
Dried fruit (figs, apricots, and dates work especially well)
Fresh veggies (tomato slices, shredded carrots, peppers)
Crusty bread
Fresh fruit (apples and grapes are always a good choice)
Mixed Nuts
Variety of spreads and dipping oils
Herbs for topping
Wine (pairs great with charcuterie food!)


What we used:

Cheeses: blue cheese, aged white cheddar, cranberry wensleydale, ghost pepper gouda (my husband loves spice!)

Meats: Hot salami, chorizo, and plain salami

Fruit: dried apricots and fresh grapes

For dipping: Ritz, pita crackers and an italian loaf

For spreading: honey butter, italian dipping oil, and creamy jalapeno cheese dip

There are many tutorials out there for creating a perfectly paired charcuterie board if you would like to use those.

However, we’re all about keeping it simple and find it fun to go to the store together to pick out a variety of fun things to try pairing together along with things we have in the pantry.

As for cheeses, It’s a good rule of thumb to include a couple soft cheeses (blue cheese, spreads, brie, feta) along with some hard cheeses (parmesan, aged cheddar, gouda).


Other backyard picnic food ideas:

Brunch foods: Think pastries, jams, fresh fruit, bagel sandwiches, cream cheese spreads, coffee, mimosas

Sushi picnic: Variety of sushi rolls, dipping sauces, spring rolls, rice or edamame for sides, green tea or saki

All-American: Potato salad, chicken salad sandwiches, fresh berries, bread and butter, fresh fruit pie or cobbler, iced tea, lemonade

Fresh from the garden: Crisp salads, heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, flavored oil for drizzling, sangria made with fresh seasonal fruits

Build your own sandwich: variety of meats, variety of cheeses, bread, lettuce, fresh veggies, butter, spreads like pesto or flavored mayo, fruit infused water

Activities for a backyard picnic date night:

If you’d like to take your picnic a step further, you can include a fun activity for you and your partner to do while enjoying the simple fare. Here are some ideas for activities that would be fun to do while on a picnic:

Create a bucket list together
Play cards (cribbage is a great 2 person game)
Play a board game
Set up a projector outside and play a movie
Work on a puzzle (a puzzle mat will help you transport it when it’s time to go inside)
Reminisce with old photos
Plan the ultimate travel list of all the places you would like to visit together
Look up conversation starter questions online and ask away
Make a video capturing the moment that you can watch 5 years from now (or when you fight!)
Make a playlist of all of your favorite love songs
Write a letter to your future selves about how much you love and appreciate each other

I hope this gave you some inspiration for planning your next picnic date night. Remember, the best part about picnics is that they are simple! Focus on enjoying the company of your loved one and the date night will be a success.

What are your favorite at home date night ideas? Do you prefer to go out for date night or stay in? I’d love to hear about your favorite ways to plan a picnic as well.

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Natalie Lande