Illustration: Alessandra Olanow

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Location, Location, Location

If you can spare the extra time, it's wise to head to the park a half hour early. That way, you can scope out a spot with the prettiest grass and the best view, situated an ideal distance from a bathroom ("close enough, but not too close"). Consult a park map online to narrow down your options, and steer clear of areas with bloom-heavy plants that attract bees. Once you've staked your claim, invite your fellow feasters: Use a map app to send a dropped pin via text message to guide them to your spot.

Grocery Gourmet
Make the meal feel special without cooking a thing: Just pick a theme when you hit the supermarket and stick to it. These three fun menus let you get a little fancy—not fussy.

French Épicerie
Baguette (buy one for every four people); Camembert (two ounces per person); sliced salami and prosciutto (at the deli get three slices—about an ounce—of each meat per person); olives and cornichons; fresh fruit like grapes, cherries, plums or strawberries (slices of Camembert and strawberry on a baguette make a decadent sandwich) and a chocolate bar or two.