In the ten years or so we’ve been “dating”, you think at some time we’d have been on a humble picnic, and now that we have, it’s definitely going to be on the cards again. Planning the perfect picnic date is as such an easy, quick and romantic way to spend time together one-on-one: just pack a delicious lunch and finding a scenic spot to enjoy the fresh air. No reservations needed, no waiters interrupting your conversations, and all your favourite foods can be on the menu.
The perfect picnic date really only requires a 5 minute whip-round the supermarket, a few plates and utensils from home, and a walk or drive to one of this country’s countless scenic spaces. It can be as simple as or as fancy as you choose, and to send you on your way I’ve got an amazing perfect picnic date prize pack to giveaway (scroll to bottom to win).
Choosing a Picnic Date Location
Privacy, peace and quiet all come to mind for a perfect picnic date. Auckland’s numerous beaches are ideal, but equally good ideas for a picnic date: a park or nature reserve, atop a hill, botanical gardens, or a view of the city skyline. We stopped in to pick up a coffee in Takapuna and chose Minnehaha just a few minutes away. We love to be by the water, and it was the perfect picnic spot to watch the world go by.
Quick & easy food for picnics
Of course you can make it all from scratch, but for a quick, easy and cheap date, we walked around the outskirts of the supermarket, filling a basket of fresh foods that would be easy to serve and eat (the simpler, the better). My menu for a picnic lunch for two:
- Deli-items (spinach tart, caramelised onion quiche).
- Salad and meats or salmon.
- Fruit and muffins.
- Cheese and crackers; a bottle of wine; chips and dips, lollies or chocolate; ready-made sandwiches.
What to bring on your picnic date
You only need a couple of plates, cups and utensils, really, but we took this totally cute picnic basket which doubled as a carryall.
Depending on where you go, you could take a kite, frisbee, a pack of cards or speakers. If you’re having a picnic at night, take a portable lamp and some bug spray. Always take a couple of plastic bags too: one for rubbish, one for dirty dishes – make sure to take all your rubbish away with you.
If you can’t count your years together on more than one hand, I’m betting that most of you can also count the number of date nights you’ve had this month on one hand. After years together, and more recently possibly months of wedding planning, it’s all too easy to slip into something very comfortable and spend your free nights separately watching Netflix on your respective devices.
If your longest conversations are by Facebook messenger, and you spend more time looking into the eyes of your significant pet-other than you do your fiance/spouse, here are 5 great date-nights to have when you’re on a budget.
1. Spend a night watching old movies and reminiscing!
I can’t stop talking about why it’s so important to reflect on all the good times in your relationship (I even wrote a book about it!). One of the best ways I like to do this is pick one of our favourite old movies, the ones we watched together in the first few months or years of our relationship.
When we first got together, there was nothing we loved more than spending the night cosied up with a bottle of bubbles, our favourite snacks and a couple of box-set DVDs. Nights like this remind me of our first ever nights together.
2. Wine Tasting!
While a restaurant meal can be an expensive night out, a wine tasting date still allows you the occasion of going out, usually for the cost of just a glass of wine (and redeemable on a bottle). We’re so spoiled for choice with vineyards and fantastic wine in New Zealand, and heading to one of them for a wine-tasting afternoon is a great way to enjoy them – on a small budget.
3. Talk it through and write it down!
This weekend, we spent an afternoon sans phones and devices, talking through and writing down our feelings, goals, aspirations and more, with our very own copy of I still do wedding anniversary journal. Of course, if you’re engaged, the little white book wedding planner is the ideal place to make a note of how things are going, but it’s just as important to journal your marriage.
4. Walk & Talk
Especially when you’re in the midst of planning something significant (a wedding, a honeymoon, or renovations), frequently conversations between couples revolves around that specific aspect of your life, at the expense of all else. Going out for a walk without access to phones or email encourages you to really talk, clearing your head of everything else that’s going on.
5. Mini Golf!
Shared experiences are the best conversation starters – a great meal (even more-so a bad one), a personal joke, a funny story. Spending a few hours a week doing something fun on your “date night”, perhaps going out of your routine and experiencing something new together will give you even more to talk about later.
Ever since we first started ‘dating’ we’ve played mini golf! For just $10-15 we spend a couple of hours laughing and talking, getting some healthy exercise, and more than a little healthy competition!