How to plan an Instagram-worthy aesthetic picnic

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When planning your Instagram-worthy aesthetic picnic, you will want to consider various ways to create a visually appealing and engaging setting that will capture your audience’s attention and stop their scrolling.

Two glasses of wine being held in hands above a picnic blanket.
Photo credit: Depositphotos.

From choosing a theme and color scheme to selecting the perfect props and decor, you can let your imagination run wild and create a beautiful and unique picnic setup. Plus, capturing and sharing the final result on Instagram can be a satisfying way to document your creativity and inspire others to plan their own aesthetic picnic.

Here are some things to keep in mind when planning your aesthetic picnic.

Picnic location

Choose a visually appealing location that matches your chosen theme, like a park with a lush green landscape or a beach with an ocean view.


Select a theme for your picnic that aligns with your aesthetic and target audience. For example, a bohemian picnic, a cottagecore picnic, a floral picnic or a vintage-inspired picnic.

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Choose a color scheme that complements your theme and creates a cohesive look. Consider incorporating pastel colors for a soft, dreamy aesthetic or bold and bright colors for a vibrant and energetic vibe.


Choose a clothing color scheme: This could be simple, like all white, or more specific, like pastel colors. Make sure to communicate the color scheme clearly to your guests in advance.

Consider the location and season: The location and season of the picnic can also influence outfit choices. For example, lighter fabrics and colors might be more appropriate if the picnic is in a summer park.

Encourage accessorizing: Accessories can help tie outfits together and make them look more coordinated. Encourage guests to bring hats, sunglasses or jewelry that fits the color scheme.

Provide inspiration: Provide your guests with inspirational photos or a mood board to give them an idea of the aesthetic you are going for. Doing this can help them plan their outfits accordingly.

Keep it comfortable: While coordinating outfits can be fun, it’s important that everyone feels comfortable. Encourage guests to wear clothes that are comfortable for sitting and lounging outdoors.

Remember, the goal is to create a cohesive and stylish aesthetic, but ensuring everyone feels comfortable and confident in their outfits is also important.

Tableware and utensils

Choose elegant tableware and utensils that match the theme and color scheme of your aesthetic picnic. Consider bringing reusable plates, cups and utensils to reduce waste.

Props and decorations

Blankets and pillows: Bring a cozy and colorful blanket and decorative pillows to add comfort and style to your picnic setup.

Candles and lanterns: Create a cozy and romantic atmosphere with candles and lanterns.

Flowers: Add color and natural beauty to your picnic setup with fresh flowers. Consider using wildflowers, sunflowers or roses for a romantic touch.

Tableware: Choose stylish and unique tableware to make your picnic setup stand out. For example, you could use vintage plates and silverware or colorful plastic plates and cups. Store everything in a wicker picnic basket for safe traveling between home and your picnic destination.

Picnic food and beverages

“When I serve picnic food, I love to do finger foods that don’t require utensils. Often that means that I create a spread for people to pick and choose what they want to enjoy — think a beautiful wooden board filled with fruits and cheeses and meats and olives and various crackers and bread options. This lets the attendees choose what they want in a casual setting, and it always looks gorgeous, too.”

— Michelle Price, Honest and Truly

Select food that complements your theme and looks beautiful in photos. Consider dishes like:

Charcuterie board: A beautifully arranged charcuterie board with an assortment of meats, cheeses, fruits, nuts and crackers is always a crowdpleaser and looks great in photos.

Finger sandwiches: Delicate and visually appealing finger sandwiches, such as cucumber and cream cheese, smoked salmon and dill or roasted vegetables and hummus, are perfect for a picnic.

Vegetables: Cucumber boats, sliced rainbow carrots, cherry tomatoes and bell pepper strips are fresh, easy to serve and easy to eat.

Everything bagel seasoning cucumber boat being held in a hand.
Cucumber boat. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Salads: Colorful and fresh salads, such as cucumber salad with sour cream, Greek salad, Caprese salad or quinoa salad, can be served in jars or bowls and are easily transported.

Bowl of creamy dill cucumber onion salad in a bowl with spoons.
Cucumber salad. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Dips: Serve dips like jalapeño spinach artichoke dip, hummus, guacamole, tzatziki, salsa or Baba ghanoush. Pair your dips with crackers, chips, pita or sliced vegetables.

Jalapeño spinach artichoke dip. Photo credit: Real Balanced.

Fruit skewers: Thread fresh fruit like strawberries, grapes and melon onto skewers for a refreshing and healthy snack that looks great in photos.

Mini desserts: Mini desserts like macarons, cupcakes or mini cheesecakes are perfect for a sweet treat and are easy to serve and eat at a picnic.

You’ll also include beverages on your aesthetic picnic menu. If you plan to serve wine and cocktails, be sure also to bring along non-alcoholic options, like sparkling water, iced tea or lemonade.

“When bringing drinks to a picnic, there are a few things to consider. Find out if alcohol is allowed at your venue, as well as the policy on glass. If no glass is allowed, reusable plastic or stainless steel cups are a nice, earth-friendly substitute. Cans of beer, boxed wine or a batch of homemade lemonade, punch or iced tea are great drinks to pack. Bring them in a cooler filled with ice to keep them chilly on a hot day.”

— Susannah Brinkley Henry, Feast + West

Comfort and safety

Bring enough sunscreen, bug spray and blankets to keep everyone comfortable and safe. Also, it’s important to be mindful of potential allergies or dietary restrictions your guests may have.

Lighting and photography

  • Plan your picnic around the time of day with the best lighting for your desired aesthetic. Schedule the picture during golden hour for a romantic vibe or midday for a vibrant look.
  • Use a high-quality camera or smartphone to capture the best-quality photos.
  • Take photos from various angles and perspectives to show off your picnic spread.
  • Edit your photos using photo editing software on your computer or smartphone, like Adobe Lightroom or Snapseed.

Sharing your picnic photos on Instagram

  • Write a compelling caption: Write a caption that tells a story or describes your picnic experience. Be creative and engaging; use emojis or line breaks to make your caption stand out. If you planned the picnic, talk about that process. Your followers may love hearing what inspired you to organize the event.
  • Use hashtags: Research and use relevant hashtags to help your photos reach a wider audience. Use popular hashtags like #picnic, #foodie and #nature and more niche hashtags specific to your picnic’s theme or location. You could even create an original hashtag and ask guests to use it in their posts when they share photos of the picnic on their Instagram accounts.
  • Tag brands and locations: If you’re using products or visiting a popular area, tag them in your photos or captions. Tagging brands and locations can increase the chances of your photos being shared or reposted by those brands, bringing more attention to your account.
  • Engage with others: Like and comment on other users’ photos relevant to your picnic theme. Outgoing engagement on Instagram can help you build relationships with other users and increase the visibility of your account.

Final thoughts

The more unique and visually appealing your picnic looks, the more likely your audience will engage with your content. Have fun, be creative and enjoy the process of preparing and sharing your aesthetic picnic.

Sara Nelson is the food blogger behind Real Balanced, a site that shares easy and balanced recipes. Since 2017, she has shared delicious, nutritious, and allergy-friendly recipes with thousands of blog readers and social media followers. Sara lives in Wisconsin with her husband, two children, and their dog.

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