6 Tips to Host a Perfect Backyard Fall Picnic and Outdoor Movie Night

Let me just start by saying, fall in Nashville has been an absolute mood. Living on the road over the last couple of years, I’ve spent most of my time in the colder months in the desert and have kinda skipped over fall, so this year I’ve been soaking in all the overcast days, cool mornings, and changing leaves.


In case you’ve missed it on Instagram, I’ve made it a point this year to stay put by renting out a backyard at a friend’s house. We have about an acre and the backyard has these beautiful trees that I’ve been dreaming about hosting an outdoor picnic and movie night projected on my van underneath.


Like, how much more of a fall vibe is that?

I’ll wait.

Okay, but in all seriousness, this is basically everything that brings me joy in one single swoop. A cheese board, soup, twinkly lights, blankets, pillows, and a movie? I mean, have you seen me and my van? That’s basically what I’m trying to live every day, so when SONOS reached out for a sponsored blog post about their incredible portable speaker, SONOS Move, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.


There are a few things you can do to create the absolutely perfect fall picnic and outdoor movie night if you are wanting to do this too.


The best part?


It can be about as budget-friendly as you want it to be.


Most of my supplies for this night came from the thrift store. I didn’t have a budget to get a table and chairs with fancy stemware and cloth napkins, but I did have a small budget for a piece of plywood (that I returned after) and plates and wine glasses from the thrift store. Instead of chairs, I got blankets and pillows (also from the thrift store) for seating.


So how do you host the perfect fall picnic and outdoor movie night

Here are 5 tips to host a perfect fall picnic and outdoor movie night:

1. Preplan what you’ll be serving.


I suggest soup or curry, but if you’ve been here long enough, this should be no surprise to you. Something like a soup or curry is so easy and you can feed a lot of people. You can make it ahead of time and keep it warm as you set up for your picnic until your guests arrive.


For appetizers, make sure you get something that also looks great on the table. I went for a cheese board with crackers and grapes, maple popcorn, chocolates, and a basket of apples. Not only are they delicious but they can be part of the decoration of the tablescape.


On that note: keep a theme. If it’s fall-themed, try to stay fall-themed with what you’re serving. I made a pumpkin curry and my appetizers all held the same theme as well.

2. The right speaker is important.


With any dinner, I feel like the playlist sets the tone of the entire night. Just think, if you were going to a restaurant and it was dead silent, it would be super awkward.


Personally, I love my SONOS Move speaker. It’s designed to hold amazing sound quality both indoor and outdoor, it’s drop-proof and weather-resistant and holds a charge up to 11 hours.


For my fall picnic, I ended up using a Spotify playlist called “Autumn Jazz” and it was perfect. It made the dinner feel a bit fancier (why does listening to jazz always feel fancy? (Asking for a friend).


When the movie started, the sound was balanced and it felt like a legit movie theater, just outdoors and projected on my van. Oh and cozy AF.

3. Decide on a color scheme.


Setting a color scheme will tie the entire night together. Pro-tip: do this BEFORE you go to the thrift store.


I’ve always been drawn to lighter woods, gold, and warmer colors so when I was planning this picnic and movie night, I knew if I just stuck to what I knew it would all tie together. I do think it’s important to think about this before you head to the thrift store because often when you get there, everything kind of just blends together or you can get overwhelmed by all the choices.

For just a couple of dollars each, I bought three large bedsheets in cream for seating since we would be sitting on the ground and bought pillows that were in that same family: gold, yellow, creme, and white.


From there, I searched for table decorations within that same family. The majority of the candleholders were either orange, gold or yellow with some pops of silver. I found those beautiful rust color plates as a set of 6 for $4 and knew the pop of a warmer color would really be stunning on the table.

4. Lighting is everything.


If you are having a backyard picnic followed by an outdoor movie, your picnic is probably going to be held in the early evening or at night. If you haven’t thought about lighting, you and your guests will be sitting in the dark.


Outdoor globe lights are super cheap and are such a vibe. They make everything feel so much more cozy and lovely.

5. Use foliage for table decorations


This is one of those tips that can be totally free if you want by just scouting out your yard. You can gather sticks, leaves, pinecones, or whatever else you have laying around and put them in vases, baskets, or simply just laid across the table.

Personally, I love how eucalyptus looks on a table and it is super cheap. I get bunches of them from trader joes for just a couple of dollars. I actually have some dried in my van because they look amazing just as decoration and they smell wonderful.


I also bought some small gourds and pumpkins for the table to keep true to the fall theme.

6. Choose a movie that goes with your theme that everyone will like.


Since my theme was fall themed and it’s October, naturally I wanted to watch a Halloween movie but definitely didn’t want to watch a scary movie. I’m all about scary costumes and Halloween in general but can’t get down with scary movies. You’ll want to consider this before picking out your movie incase you invited someone over that is as much of a wuss as I am.


Some wuss-friendly movie suggestions:

  • The Addams Family
  • Hocus Pocus
  • Harry Potter
  • Caspar
  • Beetlejuice
  • Ghostbusters

There you have it! You’re now set up to host a perfect fall backyard picnic and movie night!


If you loved this post, make sure you “like” it and then head over to instagram and send me a DM of what you loved about it!


If you want to learn more about the SONOS Move speaker, just shoot me a message, but trust me, you won’t be disappointed. It’s literally the best portable speaker I’ve ever owned.

Photos by: @amber_m_kelly

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