Birthdays, baby showers, proposals…there’s no event the VB Picnic Co. can’t handle in style.  

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When twin sisters Abbey and Hayley Hester had visions of starting a business together, it wasn't difficult to figure out where to focus their attention. "Our love for design and hosting parties combined with our love for the beach, and the VB Picnic Co. was born," they say.

VB Picnic Co Abbey and Hayley Founders
Credit: Courtesy of the VB Picnic Co.

Their business, founded in 2020 in Virginia Beach, hosts curated pop-up picnics against a glittering coastal backdrop, providing everything from chairs and tables to cornhole sets. But their picnics are anything but casual (in fact, you won't find a lawn chair or beach towel in sight). Instead, the Hesters pride themselves on preparing whimsical tablescapes that appear like a mirage out of the sand, draped in layers of bohemian linens and ribbons of pastels. "The perfect beach picnic doesn't spare any details," say the sisters.

VB Picnic Co Picnic Style
Credit: Courtesy of the VB Picnic Co.

Naturally, their pop-up tables—which you can reserve online for a specified date and time—have served as the setting for a range of memorable events in Virginia Beach, from baby showers and birthday parties to engagements and elopements. Aside from the scene's dream-like ambiance, the magic of the service is that you don't have to lug anything down to the sand.

But, if you don't happen to live near Virginia Beach, perhaps you can use the Hesters' beach picnics as inspiration for your own sunset soiree. Here, Abbey and Hayley share their tips for planning and styling the ultimate gathering on the sand.

Mind the Details

Just because your table happens to be perched on the sand doesn't mean you should necessarily treat the décor any different than you would a set table at home. On the contrary, what makes a picnic feel extra special, say the sisters, are those "indoor" touches you wouldn't expect. When styling their own picnics, the Hesters often use items like vintage glassware, rattan lounge chairs, linen napkins, ornate gold chargers, and textured throws.

VB Picnic Co. Tablescape
Credit: Courtesy of the VB Picnic Co.

Go Boho

When channeling the carefree spirit of coastal living, certain styles of décor might make more sense. For Abbey and Hayley, a bohemian setup fits right in against a backdrop of sand and sunsets. With their picnics, that translates to layers of table linens, cushy pillows, rattan textures, vintage touches, and accents of pampas grass.  

Check the Weather

It might seem like a no-brainer, but when you're deep in planning mode for the perfect picnic, the possibility of a surprise thunderstorm might be the furthest thing from your mind. But as veteran alfresco party planners, the Hesters have learned a thing or two about Southern weather. "We spend equal amounts of time checking the radar as we do decorating," they say.

VB Picnic Co Place Setting
Credit: Courtesy of the VB Picnic Co

Respect the Elements

Showers aren't the only things that might rain on your picnic. In fact, other natural elements are more often the cause for post-party gloom. To combat things like sand and wind, the sisters make sure to take precautions when decorating, including placing an extra rug layer between the seating and sand, opting for heavier accents like drinkware and candlesticks, and weighing down hurricanes and vases with sand.

VB Picnic Co Aerial
Credit: Courtesy of the VB Picnic Co.

Put on a Finishing Touch

Sometimes, it's the last-minute extras that could be the most memorable part of the picnic. To make an event more personal, Abbey and Hayley include chalkboard signs with a custom message at each picnic. Other touches like fresh florals on the table, cocktails by candlelight, or a pre-dinner game of cornhole can up the ambiance of the night. But, say the sisters, at the end of the day, "we believe who you decide to bring along with you is the most important detail."

To book a picnic with the VB Picnic Co., visit thvbpicnicco.com. Prices start at $249 for two guests, including a one-and-a-half-hour styled picnic with a table, umbrella, pillows, blankets, seating, plates, and cutlery, plus sparkling water and a seasonal charcuterie board.