If your friend’s Caribbean getaway Instagram photos are giving you major FOMO as you sit in a frigid office, take a trip in spirit this summer. A travel-themed party brings the wonder and excitement of jet-setting across the globe under one tent in your backyard. Bonus: your super-busy pals can come along for the ride without having to worry about finding a petsitter for a few weeks. To help you plan the ultimate itinerary, I phoned a pair of celebrity event planners.
A welcoming invitation sets the mood of the party and answers the FAQ “what should I wear?” “You can incorporate a map, compass, airplane or something with a little adventure so people get pulled into the experience,” said event planner Andrea Freeman of Andrea Freeman Events. If you’re going for a tropical vibe, put the invite on multi-colored paper that resembles a sunset.
Think about the era you are trying to portray and select a color palette to match. “Tantalize all the senses,” said event planner Andrea Correale of Elegant Affairs. “Use scented candles, ceramic plates, crisp white linen table cloths and authentic music that is going to coincide with your theme.” Capture the elegance of an Italian vacation by incorporating shades of blue like Capri’s signature sea cave, The Blue Grotto, into centerpieces. Night-blooming jasmine is common there as well, so look for jasmine or herb-scented candles.
Let your taste buds make a great escape, too. Including dishes that are indigenous to the location you are highlighting is a fun way to bring the culture of a far-away destination to your home. “You can do a theme based on places you would love to see, but have never been to, or it can be food you enjoyed from where you have traveled and wish to share with your guests,” said Freeman. That Mole Poblano you loved when you went to Mexico two years ago? Have it again.
Decide how you want to position your food and then “use 5×7 frames and write the menu item in English and the translation in the language where it’s from underneath,” suggested Correale. It adds another detail that promotes the theme of the event, making it feel more authentic.
“My rule is to have [favors] be either functional or edible because it gets people the most excited and doesn’t just take up space,” said Freeman. Instead of opting for a dust collector, have gift bags filled with candy from a variety of countries ready for your guests. Or get extra creative and design a favor box with a stamp to look like a well-traveled package. You want them to bring home something they will enjoy—think of it as a souvenir.