Dina Lucchese of Middletown and her oldest daughter, Alexa Lucchese, established Pardon My Picnic during the COVID-19 pandemic while looking to start something new. Alexa had experienced a luxury picnic while living in Los Angeles and thought it was a unique way to get together with friends or family. So, Dina started her second career as a full-time business after raising her four children. Now, the two offer a boutique picnic service out of Monmouth County, with their main focus on designing a beautiful setting for guests to love and enjoy. They’ll come to you wherever you are – even NYC – and can accommodate picnics year-round, setting up indoors if necessary. They can curate a vision and turn it into reality using picnics, tablescapes and customized ideas – either order a charcuterie box or mini cake from them, or bring your own food.
New Jersey Family: How did you start your business?
Dina Lucchese: When my daughter moved back home to New Jersey, she brought up the concept of creating a business similar to her experience in California, but with our own twist. My home has always been a hub for gathering and fun, and Pardon My Picnic was a great way to incorporate that into other people’s lives. I come from a family who enjoys entertaining and I have always loved to create, decorate, and most importantly, bring people together.
NJF: Have there been any extraordinary or special locations or occasions you’ve been a part of?
DL: There was one occasion that was a gender reveal picnic on the beach and it was up to me to make sure the couple had the proper colored envelope for the gender. They kept it so private and asked me to take pictures while they were doing the reveal. It is truly an honor to be a part of important milestones in our guests lives.
NJF: Why did you decide to make this a mother-daughter venture, and what have you gained from this business and personal partnership?
DL: When the concept of creating picnics in New Jersey was brought before me by my daughter, there was no hesitation. We both had a vision, and I knew this was my time to take what I love and share it with others. This venture has given us the opportunity to take our relationship to another level. We now see each other as partners which is very different than your everyday mother-daughter bond. Knowing each other’s strengths is something that usually takes years to understand, but we have had such a head start.
I take pride in putting together a setting that our clients find beautiful and memorable. Alexa loves to dive into details, engage with our guests, and to better understand how we can provide an unforgettable experience. Seeing the love and passion that Alexa puts into the endeavor also provides me with an unparalleled level of pride and satisfaction knowing Alexa is my daughter.
NJF: How do you balance your career with being a parent?
DL: Balancing a career while being a parent is not always easy. In the beginning it was a challenge integrating business into our family, but with patience and understanding it evens itself out. I am still learning, but my mom-hat always comes first.
NJF: What advice would you give to moms looking to start a business like yours?
DL: Be flexible. Believe in yourself.
NJF: What’s your favorite place to go with your family in the Garden State?
DL: New Jersey has the best beaches. If I was pressed to pick only one place, I would say the beach. I love the beaches in Monmouth County, such as Sea Bright or Monmouth Beach.
NJF: What’s your favorite way to spend “me time” in NJ?
DL: I love to walk around in Red Bank. A great cup of coffee, tons of retail therapy, and I love to end up at Riverside Gardens Park to sit and admire the views.
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