It's spring here in the northern hemisphere, and if you ask me, this is the perfect season to have an outdoor picnic! For the past few years, the "cottagecore" aesthetic has been widely popular on social media, and pairs extremely well with spring picnics. So if you've been thinking about hosting your own cottagecore picnic, but don't know where to begin, I'm here to help!
What is "Cottagecore"?
The term "cottagecore" refers to an aesthetic that is most easily described as a romanticized version of life in a woodland cottage. I first discovered this term on social media, and it is popular to find on sites like Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest. A search for this aesthetic generally conjures up images like picnics, open prairies, forests, long flowy dresses, and flowers. It embraces an idealized version of a simple, midwestern, rural and sustainable lifestyle. Basically think Belle from Beauty and the Beast, or imagine any Studio Ghibli movie scene of a flower field. Other aesthetics that relate to cottagecore include farmcore, countrycore and fairycore. Now how can you go about setting up a picnic with this theme? Let's discuss that further.
Pick a Location
You'll want to start out by picking an outdoor location. It can be a local park or your backyard, if you have one. Ideally, you'll want to pick a grassy spot with some trees for shade. I usually like to scout out locations prior to the day of the picnic to choose the best option. One thing that's great about spring is that there are usually lots of flowers outside, which fits perfectly into the cottagecore aesthetic!
Pick Out an Outfit
When it comes to clothes to match this aesthetic, think old-fashioned and midwestern. Flowy floral dresses, peasant tops and long skirts, button-up shirts and suspenders, knitted cardigans, etc. Here is my Pinterest board to give you some outfit inspo. It should be fairly easy to find this style of clothing from thrift stores or on second-hand websites.
Gather Your Supplies
For picnic supplies, I recommend using what you already have or trying to buy things second-hand. Firstly, you'll need a picnic blanket, for this I recommend using a bedsheet, preferably in a solid light color or a soft pattern like gingham or florals. It also looks nice to have a picnic basket, even if it's a bit small to carry all of your picnic items in. I got my adorable vintage one on Poshmark. I also recommend having some plates and teacups, preferably ceramic, which you likely have at home already. A cutting board works great for a charcuterie or cheese board set-up. And remember to bring some cutlery as well, preferably metal or bamboo. Feel free to also bring props like a book, canvas tote bag or flower bouquet.
As far as food, this is totally up to you and your preferences! I personally like to include some fruit, vegan cheese and crackers, chocolate bars, fig bars and tea (or soda in teacups). If you'll be out for a while, it's also a good idea to have some meal items like sandwiches, and of course a desert like a cake or cupcakes! Get creative with your food set-up and take lots of photos!
In the end, this should be a fun activity to enjoy with your loved ones, or even by yourself! Don't worry too much about having the perfect aesthetic. It's more about slowing down and enjoying some time in nature with delicious food. And if you do try out hosting a cottagecore picnic, be sure to tag me in your photos on Instagram, I would love to see your set-up!