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Picnic at Mizzou
Picnic at Mizzou
Original photo by Jordan Thornsberry
Life > Experiences

The Perfect Pinterest Picnic Planned

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Mizzou chapter.

Back-to-school season can bring a lot of emotions to the surface. Many are nervous about the unknowns of the new school year, some are excited to get back into a routine and be around like-minded 20-somethings and others are looking for a fresh start. 

One way to make the back-to-school season more fun is to romanticize everything; make every situation feel special. Whether that’s buying cute school supplies, redecorating your room with aesthetic photos and quotes, or spending more time at coffee shops; there are several ways to be present and make life more fun.

In lieu of romanticizing, finally having that Pinterest-inspired picnic you’ve always dreamed of, (you know the one I’m talking about!) is the perfect way to start fall and the new school year on a positive note. 

After the first week of school, two of my college friends – Makenna and Olivia – and I combined forces to put together the picnic of our dreams. 

“My favorite part about our picnic was the fact that we were all able to catch up and have good conversation while simultaneously doing something fun,” MU senior Olivia Johnson said. “I know that taking and ‘staging’ photos for something like that seems cheesy or strange, but it was just a lighthearted activity that allowed us to get some cute photos to remember the experience while also eating some good food.”

Through trial and error, we have come up with everything you need to have the cutest picnic.

Finding the perfect spot

Location, location, location! It is the most important part of having the best picnic. Find a shaded, flat area with a simple background. We chose a spot between two trees in front of the lake at Stephens Lake Park in Columbia. 

When looking for the perfect spot, we kept in mind closeness to the sidewalk/walkway, the direction of the sun and what surrounded us that might make its way into our photos. For example, there were families swimming in the lake, so we wanted to choose a spot that wouldn’t disturb their afternoon outing and would give us an uncluttered background for photos. 

The food, of course!

Picking out the best picnic food can be harder than it seems. If you’re taking photos, you want it to look nice but also be enjoyable when the shoot is over. You can’t go wrong with little sandwiches – homemade or store-bought – or a charcuterie board, which always looks pleasing in photos and is perfect to snack on in between takes. 

For our summer picnic, we also brought fruit to add around other side dishes as a garnish or decor, which added pops of color to our pictures and was a refreshing treat. The cake was the star, though! Olivia brought a raspberry Texas Sheet Cake she picked up from HyVee that was sweet, delicious and an ideal prop in pictures. We also got some cute video clips and pictures of us cutting the cake for social media content, of course!


It may seem extra, but let’s face it, if you’re going to have a Pinterest-inspired picnic, props are extremely important. Those can include:

  • Flowers (Walmart and Hy-Vee have bouquets for less than $5!)
  • Books
  • Cameras
  • Cute dishware
  • Bags/baskets
  • Hats

We used decorative books, Polaroids we’ve had for years and cheap flowers (that are surprisingly holding up nicely), as well as vintage dishware and wooden platters used to add texture.

“I think what ties everything together is cute dishware. Items like wine glasses and vintage plates make for the perfect backdrop for your food,” MU senior Makenna Tourville said. 

Outfits – duh!

Maybe the most fun part about a Pinterest-inspired picnic is expressing yourself through fashion. My friends and I had a pink, summer-themed picnic, so we wore cute dresses to match. 

“All around, the picnic was just so much fun and I would recommend it to anybody, even if social media isn’t their style,” Olivia said. “You can still get dressed up and have an aesthetically pleasing picnic, and you don’t have to post anything. It’s just fun to do something cute while you look cute.”

With the stress of the school semester creeping in, a fun afternoon with friends may be just what you need. If you’re going for a photo op, remember each one of these tips for a picture-perfect afternoon. 

Jordan Thornsberry is a student at the University of Missouri-Columbia, studying magazine journalism. In her free time, Jordan likes to travel, read and catch up on the latest celebrity drama. You can find more of her writing at jordantberry.com and on social media at @jordantberry.