I wish I could come, it sounds like a really fulfilling lunch and I’d of course help with clean up! Being organized and having the right tools is the best way to have a successful picnic, which is easy to manage and keep clean.
First, lay out a washable picnic blanket (ideally waterproof) where all the food goes and have that as your buffet blanket (if a picnic table is available, use that instead). Weighing the blanket down with heavy items such as apple-sized rocks at the corners helps to prevent any unexpected wind gusts from tipping the buffet over. Otherwise, no one should eat on that blanket; trust me, it keeps things cleaner and avoids spills. Have another blanket or two where people can sit and eat and place out a picnic basket containing plates, cups, napkins and cutlery where they can be easily accessed. I really like the Meori Picnicker which is easy to carry, lightweight and convenient.
I am a big fan of reusable picnic gear, it’s easy to wash and maintain and you end up having a weightier plate that won’t blow away. I happen to love the Great Plate, which is a washable plastic plate that has a space in the center for a soda or beer can or cup. If you can wash plates at the facility, give them a quick rinse and dry, then replace in your picnic carrier. Otherwise, place them inside a plastic bag, and place them in your cooler to keep the mess contained, then wash when you get home and replace inside your picnic basket when dry.
Remember to shake out picnic blankets before rolling them up, and launder them if they’re washable when you get home.
To keep your hot foods hot, I’ve found the Entertainer Hot and Cold Food Carrier to be a perfect solution; it’s lined with thermal foil in the lower section that keeps casseroles insulated, and if you don’t need to keep anything hot, it’s a perfect carryall for several prepared dishes.