Local couple brings luxury pop-up picnics to Tuscaloosa

Annabelle Blomeley, Assistant Culture Editor

Nestled under trees in Tuscaloosa parks, residents can sometimes catch a glimpse of a white umbrella, a pillow-adorned blanket on the grass and a small table outfitted with candles, glasses and flowers assorted by Picnic Vibes Tuscaloosa.

The customizable luxury pop-up picnic experience began when the married co-founders and social media influencers Brennan and Ashley White became bored with their Tuscaloosa date nights. 

“We always say to each other that we wish there was something for us to do, like a date night or just something different besides going out to eat or going to see a movie here,” Ashley White said. 

Brennan White said they love to showcase their date nights, so the couple curated their own luxury picnics to spend time together and create photo opportunities for their joint Instagram account. When they learned about picnic companies in other states, they said it was a perfect opportunity for them to take the next step. 

For Brennan and Ashley, there was no other way to do business than to do it together. 

“We always knew that we wanted to work together,” Ashley White said. “I guess a lot of people thought that was weird or different, but we like to spend a lot of time together. We’re each other’s best friends, so we always knew that we wanted to do something together.”

The couple has come a long way since their DIY picnic date nights. In March, they launched Picnic Vibes Tuscaloosa to introduce the city to a unique and pandemic-friendly option for special occasions.

From simple date nights and picnics with friends to bridal showers and sorority photoshoots, Picnic Vibes caters their luxury picnics to parks and backyards around Tuscaloosas, and sometimes Birmingham. 

With package prices ranging from $125 to $300, Picnic Vibes has dozens of picnic combinations. Most of the packages come with furniture, blankets, dinnerware, flower arrangements and more. Whether customers want blankets and pillows in the grass or a picnic table outfitted with dinnerware, the company has it covered. 

Although most packages are made for just two people, Picnic Vibes also has a tea party package for up to six kids and can create picnics for groups of more than two upon request. They offer several add-ons, including  a three-tier dessert tower, Bluetooth speakers, card games, doughnut walls and more. On top of that, Picnic Vibes partners with Urban Cheeseboard, a local charcuterie company.

The customizability of luxury picnics caught the attention of some Tuscaloosa residents. When 16-year-old Clark Gibson saw Picnic Vibes on social media, he knew it was the perfect one-year anniversary gift for his girlfriend, Graceson Pugh.

With Brennan and Ashley White’s help, Gibson planned a picnic surprise at Lake Harris in Tuscaloosa. From sparkling cider and a doughnut wall to a custom sign that read “Happy Anniversary,” Gibson curated the moment with Pugh in mind. 

“[Pugh’s] favorite color is pink, so my theme was pink,” Gibson said. “There’s a thing called Sip and Paint that you can do there, and she’s an artist and can draw really good, so I did that too.”

Clark Gibson’s mother, Tammy Gibson, said Ashley White relocated the picnic to Sokol Park last minute when she realized the spot at Lake Harris lacked shade. 

“They’re very accommodating, and they love what they do,” Tammy Gibson said. “I can’t say enough good things about them. Even though it was all [Clark’s] dream and his vision, [Ashley White] just made it come true.”

Clark Gibson said he wanted to surprise Pugh, so he planned the picnic in secret and blindfolded her on the way there. After the reveal, Pugh said they enjoyed time together and painted with the Sip and Paint add-on package.

The picnics are about more than food and picturesque designs for Brennan and Ashley White. They said bringing people together and creating memories for customers are at the heart of Picnic Vibes Tuscaloosa.

“That’s really what it’s all about: bringing people together and having them create moments and memories together,” Ashley White said.