Interview with Mark Addison — Throwing a Stay-Cation Party
Do you love to travel? If your anything like me your always scheming of a way to travel at any given moment. The holiday season is in full swing and in case your plans don’t include jetting off to a vacation hot-spot you can re-create some of your favorite destinations (or destinations you dream of one-day visiting) in the comforts of your own home.
I recently had the opportunity to interview, designer and entertaining expert Mark Addison. I asked him how us budget-friendly people can still throw a stay-cation bash without breaking into the vacation savings. I think we can all re-create those tiki bars and tropical drinks–all in the comfort of your own home with some of Mark’s tips and tricks.
1. Tell me about how to create a stay-cation party theme?
As with any theme you have to start with inspiration. Great inspiration for a stay-cation party can be found in the pages of your favorite travel magazines. Choose a specific destination or you run the risk of your party becoming a cliché luau or a generic tikki party.
2. I love to travel and always maintain a strict budget. I do the same when hosting parties. Tell me how you recommend to throw a lavish party without breaking the bank?
Every budget conscious party planner begins with a comprensive party plan and a detailed budget to keep them on track, on budget and on time. Another cost saving tip is to look at what you already have at home that can be repurposed in unexpected ways; vases for food service, a festive throw or sarong as a tablecover, etc… Focus on decorative touches in areas of your home that your guests will frequent such as the front door, setting the tone when guest walk-in and in the bathroom as well (the two most visited places of the home). The majority of your budget should be spent on food and beverages and using pre-prepared foods that you “spice” up can be a considerable time and cost savings.
3. How do you typically announce to your guest about the theme? Whether emailed or snail mailed, inviations are the first visual clue that you give your guests an indication of the theme and what is expected of them at the party. Create a collage of your inspiration images in invitations to set the tone. Travel themed invitaions such as passports and postcards can be very effective to set the tone with a little bit more work and creativity
The invitation is also is the place where you can request guests come in a particular attire to compliment the theme and if there are any special instructions you need to impart (i.e. prompt start time or prepared to participate in a specific activity)
4. Do you encourage others to dress the part?
The invitation is the place to request a specific attire; “flip flops and bathing suits” or “safari gear and ”. Offer your guests a reward to dress the part, “come barefoot and beautiful to see what the future holds
5. Do you recommend guest bringing a dish or should the hostess do all the work?
Typically my hostess rule is if you are giving a party, then you really shouldn’t ask guests to “pitch in” or bring dishes unless your are clear that it is a pot luck dinner. If your are set on having guests bring dishes, then very clear advance notice is required to insure guests won’t feel put off and will bring dishes that compliment the theme and each other. Make a clear statement on the invitation that each guest is expected to participate and to what extent.
6. Do you have a particular stay-cation theme you enjoy most?
Living in New York, I tend to gravitate to a tropical destination theme like the Caribbean or an exotic themed destination such as South Africa. Tropical and exotic themes offer the opportunity to serve frozen cocktails during the winter. With Parrot Bay frozen pouches, making a frozen cocktail has never been easier. The time needed to prepare frozen cocktails usually takes away from the atmosphere. Parrot Bay frozen pouches makes it easy to entertain friends without the hassle of prep work and clean up. They’re available in three different flavors – Strawberry Daiquiri, Mango Daiquiri and Piña Colada. You can glam them up with fresh fruit skewers* to compliment the three flavors. Create an interactive MYO fruit skewer station for the guest to get into the action and create their own drink garnishes. The food should be specific to the exact destination as traditional food vary greatly from one tropical destination to another. A classic ceviche* served with scrisp tortilla chips and Pineapple Shrimp Skewers are perfect for a tropical destination, while Cape Malay Sosaties* (aka kebabs) service with South African yellow rice* is ideal for an exotic destination. Theme the décor with items you may have around the house and summery beach towels and a festive sarong as table covers. Brightly colored flowers and votives adorned with shells add tropical touches to the bar area and food stations.
Visit Mark’s blog to get drink and food recipes on the following themes:
- Tropical Stay-cation Destination—The Caribbean
- Ski Stay-cation Destination—French Alps
- Exotic Stay-cation Destination—South African Safari Adventure
Disclaimer: I was not compensated to interview Mark. I love to travel and entertaining and felt that this was a fabulous opportunity to share with my readers.