By Jessica Zimmerman

Believe it or not, fall is just around the corner, and soon the weather will be turning a bit cooler, which means the next thing on your "must do" list isâ¦have a picnic.
Let's face it - picnics are fun! They are super casual and a change from the norm. Here are some tips for a fun and stress-free picnic:

1 Keep the food simple
To be honest, you don't have to cook for picnics. It doesn't have to be elaborate sandwiches and homemade cookies. Like I've said before, no one has more fun if you've spent all day cooking. Take the easy way out and head to a meat and cheese shop for a party platter. An assortment of different cheeses, meats, fruit, olives and roasted almonds is a filling and attractive meal. All you have to do is pick it up! Food - done! It doesn't even have to be fancy. In fact, my husband's favorite picnic we ever went on consisted of a bucket of fried chicken picked up through a drive-thru.

2 Use your good stuff
One thing I will never quite understand is why people don't use their "good stuff." There are people out there who have never used their wedding china because they are afraid they are going to break a piece of it. Use it! If a piece breaks, it breaks. How often do you have 12 guests over for a formal sit down dinner, really?
For instance, for this picnic, I used a quilt my grandmother made. This quilt means the world to me. Instead of hiding it away in a linen closet to keep it perfectly preserved, I have snuggled up in this blanket just about every single night since the day I received it. It has holes in it, snags in it, it has completely lost its gleaming white look and now is a bit dingy, but that's because I use it. If something happens to it, that's okay, because I've had 14 years of warm nights under this quilt. I couldn't think of picnicking on anything else.
Also, the picnic basket shown here was handed down to me from my parents - they received it as a wedding gift. It means so much to me, why would I use anything else?

3 A couple of details
Two simple details can elevate your picnic so much: Flowers and candles. The flowers in this photo are extravagantly arranged (hey, it's for editorial), but even just the simplest bud vase with one single flower paired with a couple of candles gives so much warmth and beauty to your picnic.

4 Elevate the food
Bring something to elevate the food so you're not eating directly off the blanket. A tray from home flipped over to give it some height would do just the trick!

5 Pillows
You may be sitting, you may be lying down, but either way pillows are nice to prop up against. They make your picnic even that much more comfortable!