Pop-up picnic

I am throwing a birthday party for a friend and, since spring has so gloriously sprung in Melbourne, I thought I’d make it a picnic. But not just any picnic. I was thinking I’d put on an outdoor high tea.

This was a garden party for OPSM created by Hello Naomi. Stunning, non?

I will bake little cakes and ice little biscuits and serve scones with jam and whipped cream, and make little sandwich fingers with the crusts cut off. I will set out a big bowl of strawberries. I will haunt the beautiful blog of hello naomi for more inspiration.

For drinks, we’ll sip champagne from old-fashioned glasses, slurp homemade lemonade from striped straws, and I thought I’d get around the no-access-to-electricity-and-no-use-of-open-flame-in-fire-season hurdle to serving tea and coffee, by mixing up a big jug of sweetened iced tea instead.

Originally, I wanted to hire a trestle table and some chairs, and go all-out, as though we were in an outdoor restaurant. Jordan of Oh Happy Day hosts pop-up dinner parties for her friends like these, and I find them so inspiring I’ve always wanted to try something similar myself.

Jordan’s pop-up dinner party under the Golden Gate Bridge

Jordan’s pop-up dinner party in a Chinatown alleyway. Isn’t this a brilliant idea?

But I want to surprise the birthday girl, so I’ve only told her the party is a picnic, nothing more. And I love her dearly but she’s a bit of a scatterbrain. I couldn’t trust her to turn up on time or stick to specific guest numbers, and it’s not exactly easy to find an extra chair and an extra set of specially-ordered vintage china if your fancy dinner is in the middle of a field. So both formal seating and hot food are out.

Instead, I figured I could bring along a table just to set out the food, then spread blankets all around so that we are all one, big picnic together.

I’ll hire the china and glassware, probably from A Vintage Affair

I’ll buy the balloons, then make the tassles myself following the DIY on Sugar and Cloth

I also thought I’d get hold of half a dozen of these beautiful big, round balloons, make some sweet tassles to fancy them up, and peg them on string to the ground, to kind of mark out our picnic area.

I wanted to string bunting or little lanterns from a tree, but thankfully I had the foresight to case my probable venue the other day, and realised the branches of the trees in that park were much too high for me to reach!

What else should I consider? I’d love your ideas and suggestions.

UPDATE: we had the party at the end of October. Photos and details here

ps. Oh how I wish I had the budget to bring along Betsy the caravan to my picnic. Wouldn’t you agree?

Betsy even comes with her own cute-as-a-button vintage-clad waiters and waitresses

ps2. Are you ever to old to need your mum & dad?

ps3. A free book! And I’ll send it to you by old-fashioned post!


  • Katherine

    Oh wow, I wish I could come! I’ve been thinking about doing one of these for ages but my biggest issue is not knowing where to hold it!

    Cake tiers are a must, and flowers in jars! Can’t wait to see how it turns out!

    • Naomi Bulger

      I wish you could come too! And I have already started collecting jars for flowers…

  • debbrightandprecious

    What a delightful project! Perfect weather coming up! Love all your ideas thus far. I cannot think of anything to add right now. Will be thinking though! I think you will need an assistant by the way (or at least someone to hold Madeleine). And I wish I could volunteer! (maybe another time… when life improves a bit). xxx

  • NewLifeOnTheRoad (@NewLifeOnRoad)

    Oh my gosh! What a magical Picnic you are going to have…would love that sweet Caravan to turn up – so cute!
    I have never thought about turning a picnic into such a great afternoon – oh if only I was close enough to say “yep, i will turn up so invite me” !!
    Have lots of fun – and happy birthday to your friend.

  • Brandi

    What a fantastic event to plan!! You’re going to have so much fun with this. Maybe you should start hunting around rummage sales or second hand shops for tea cups and other things you could use for decorations? As for the scones, leave out the whipped cream and get clotted cream. So indulgent…

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