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Picnic - Layout

Preparation    - Menu     - Layout     - Cleaning

Layout is an often overlooked part of the preparation. At many events there is a last minute rush to try and squeeze everything in and a considerable amount of time is spent rearranging things to ensure that both your guests and the food will all fit in the desired area.

Of course, there are many factors which need to be considered when planning your layout. The beauty of a picnic is that it is outdoors. Generally, this means that you have a larger area to work with, so take advantage of it.

If at all possible, it is best to create four separate areas to help provide a free flow of guests and help eliminate traffic jams. One area will feature the food. Another will contain your drinks and drinkware. The third area will be used for plates, napkins, utensils and items of that sort. The final area is the grill or BBQ pit. Nothing says picnic fresh like a burger or hotdog straight from the grill.

Without a doubt, the food area will be the most popular, so here are a few tips to help in that area. The first thing to consider is the option of setting the food on a table that will allow people to walk completely around it. The idea of setting plates, etc. in a separate area will allow people to pick up a plate and proceed to an open area of the food table in order to begin serving themselves. With the plates at one end of the food table, everyone feels obliged to walk around the whole table, even if the food the desire is at the very end.

Now in setting up the food itself, there are a couple of things to consider. It is best to put what you believe will be the most popular food in the center of the table. This will allow your guests to have easy access from anywhere. Also, it is always a good idea to place any sauces near the edge of the table. This will prevent accidental spills into other foods which may make them unpleasing to your guests.

Seating is much more relaxed at a picnic. There will be some guests who will wonder around the area all day with a plate or drink in their hands. Others will gravitate towards the familiarity of a picnic table. Still others will prefer to sit on the ground or in a chair conveniently located in the shade or sun. It is nice to have prepare each of these possible seating areas for your guests as much as possible. Of course, with the relaxed atmosphere that a picnic provides, throughout the day guests will also assemble the own seating arrangements.

Another aspect to consider is a game or play area. Frequently at an event such as a picnic, your guests may enjoy a game of horseshoes, lawn darts, bocci, volleyball or a myriad of other activities. It is good to have an area for these things which is a safe distance from your food area, but not so far away that noone will venture there or return once they have reached that destination.

Now close your eyes and start dreaming of the wonderful layout you have designed for your guests.

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