Picnic Party

In a beautiful outdoor space, women can ‘ just be’

Photography by Paige Andersen

I can’t think of a better combination for summer than beautiful weather and beautiful people with  beautiful energy. I found that at the first Picnic Party of the year. I was long overdue for a refresher—and it was a moment of peace. This might have been one of the few times that I didn’t feel like I needed to create a reel to document an experience. No phones, just vibes. 

And you know what they say about vibes: They don’t lie. 

What is Picnic Party? It’s simply a free, women-only picnic. Women bring their own blankets, chairs, or other setups and can pre-order charcuterie boxes or bring their own food.

The idea for Picnic Party came in 2022 while best friends Moriah Watkins and Tasia Wilson were enjoying a day in the park, dancing, laughing, and sipping champagne. They didn’t want to keep the experience just for themselves. “We really enjoy meeting other women who share the same love for the outdoors and doing things that uplift and motivate us in any way,” says Moriah.

Without overthinking or overplanning, they promoted the event, and seven days later they hosted 45 women in their first open picnic.

The powerful pair had successfully created a space for women to come together to connect and inspire each other.

When you live a life that is consistently swamped with active movement and busyness, it’s nice to be able to chill out and be outside. At my first Picnic Party, I knew it was going to be a good time when I heard ’90s R&B playing while I was unloading my car. As soon as I walked up, I felt like I was at a “sisters only” family reunion. 

What my friends and I loved most about this “no boys allowed” picnic was that we were free to do as we pleased. I am so used to having to organize every aspect of my life in advance that I couldn’t believe that this experience could be so easy. Women can set up their spaces as grandiose or as minimalistic as they want. We saw groups from large to small with elaborate setups and some that just came out with a blanket and a bottle of wine. 

As I looked around, I saw spring white wines, prosecco, and fruity lemonades paired with charcuterie, summer fruits, and other light bites.

My best friend, Melanie, was in charge of positioning savory snacks on our decorative plates and tray, while I poured libations for anyone in close proximity who had an empty glass ready. We stayed for hours, not leaving until the park announced its closure.

I was so impressed by the variety of Black women of all ages that came out to gather in this area. There were no strangers. I felt comfortable, welcomed, and included. 

The ultimate goal for this park-centered affair is for each woman to meet at least one person. “Picnic Party was a chance for me to see old and new faces. I loved that it was a space for women to come together, get cute, and socialize over charcuterie and wine,” says Armani Featherson, a fellow Picnic Party-goer who I know through the influencer community.

Janeese Murphy, another attendee, was glad for the chance to meet and connect with other Black women. “Sometimes these networking events can be so uptight and intimidating, so I loved that this gave us the opportunity to relax and just be,” she says.

We all know that word of mouth means a lot, especially for women, and making connections outside of a digital zone is powerful. Picnic Party offers ample time and space to mix and mingle, introduce yourself, give a little background of your profession or side hustle, and exchange social media handles. 

That was part of Moriah and Tasia’s shared vision when they created Picnic Party.

We wanted to create a positive and welcoming space, where women could come together and just simply exist without having the pressure of judgment or feeling like you had to be an ‘it girl’ or know everybody,” says Moriah.

Whether you’re a newcomer to Memphis, looking for new friends, or just needing a reason to unplug, you’ll find your place at Picnic Party. “We want women to have the option to socialize and connect with like-minded women free of charge, in hopes that the connections blossom into flourishing friendships rooted in love, just like our friendship that we share,” says Tasia.

Want to attend the next Picnic Party? Follow @picnicparty901 for upcoming dates and locations.

Camille Patrice Fulton is an event integration advisor for ALSAC / St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. A native of Memphis, Camille is passionate about sharing messages about the cultural vibrancy that make up this eclectic city. She hopes that her Instagram reviews inspire readers to experience Memphis differently. @camilleunlimited

Paige Andersen, a former elementary school teacher, is now a full-time photographer and a part-time goofball. They are passionate about dismantling hegemonic inequality in their communities and hand-rolling their own pasta. If you see them behind a camera lens, you better pose! @p_a_i_g_e_and