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Picnics in the Park and Backyard Are Continuing Past Summer

  • October 18, 2020

While a checkered blanket on the grass with a wicker basket is standard-issue equipment, the picnics flooding Instagram today hark back to paintings like Monet’s “Luncheon on the Grass” (1865), which depicts a group of well-heeled men in bowler hats and suits, and women, dresses splayed on a white tablecloth, schmoozing over a spread of wine, fruit, cake and roasted fowl.

Mayte Soriano, 30, of Temecula, Calif., created Wonderland Picnics in July after feeling “over the moon” about a picnic she and her husband shared in the San Bernardino mountains. “I wanted to make people feel the same way,” she said. “I want them to experience the outdoor experience and how romantic it can be to have a celebration outdoors and not just in a restaurant.” Other companies are also designing highly stylized experiences for the bored and cooped up. Gather, for example, has two themes to choose from: the pink-toned “Venice, California” or the blue-and-white “Milos, Greece.” The Hechts don’t provide food, though some companies do, and return after three hours to break down the picnic.

Most companies put a chalkboard sign on display near the picnic with the organizer’s name or words of felicitation. Sometimes there’s even a mirror for selfies, because why go through the effort of putting on real clothes if it’s not going to be documented?

In Manhattan, Wendy Weston, 50, the owner of Perfect Picnic, chuckles when someone asks if she created her company as a response to the pandemic. She actually started it in 2011 after a trip to the Amalfi coast of Italy.

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