Although Baton Bougie House Party is a new endeavor for Melanie Wascom and Lori Tucker-Day, their outdoor events have brought some much-needed pizzaz to the stay-at-home season. Instagram-worthy designs and cozy setups are the hallmarks of the patio parties and small backyard bashes that Wascom and Tucker-Day have produced over the last few months.
“We wanted to do something a little bit more special during COVID because everybody was getting kind of down on everything,” says Tucker-Day. “That’s when Melanie and I put our heads together and decided to make something that’s going to be different and special, and that’s how Baton Bougie House Party started.”
Moving into cooler days, outdoor events are even more appealing. In addition to allowing for more effective social distancing, open-air get-togethers allow for casual and comfortable celebrations that showcase Louisiana weather, as well as the creativity of the hosts. That’s where Wascom and Tucker-Day come in.
“Our setups are complete with cozy blankets, rugs and pillows to encourage distancing, but also warmth and relaxation,” says Wascom. “Also, outdoor lighting and table lighting to set the mood and promote that relaxation. But for people at home who want a more casual gathering, use your firepits and things like that that’ve been in your backyard for a while. Set it up and have fun with it. Bring pillows and blankets outside and sit around the fire and encourage communication with your family members.”
Wascom and Tucker-Day say they believe using simple elements can produce a memorable occasion. “Outdoor lighting, cozy blankets, fire pits, heaters—many of us already have them available, so just use them and be comfortable and relaxed,” says Wascom. “Try to de-stress from all the chaos and social anxiety of everything right now. That’s our goal.”
Though their gatherings are geared toward relaxation, this party-planning team is ultra focused on the safety that underlies any event at this time. Wascom is a full-time nurse and Tucker-Day is a teacher, so they are acutely aware of the precautions that should be taken by hosts to ensure guests are safe and comfortable.
“Anything you do right now is posing a risk if you’re not careful and following the given guidelines,” says Wascom. “It’s really about minimizing risk, and since COVID transmission is considerably less likely outdoors, that’s why we focus on being an outdoor-based company.”
Arriving for party setups in full PPE and encouraging hosts to opt for disposable plates, napkins and silverware in order to minimize transmission, the two are doing their part in encouraging togetherness in the safest way possible. Obviously, that starts with the people invited. Limiting guest lists to close friends and family is the first step. However, if you’re hosting an event that will include a slightly larger crowd, Wascom and Tucker-Day recommend letting your guests know ahead of time what they can expect so they’re not taken by surprise on the day of your event.
“If it’s a party you’re hosting at your house, it would be great if everybody would quarantine for 10 days prior to an event,” says Tucker-Day. “That’s always a great thing to tell everybody when you send out these invites. It’s important to give everyone a reminder.”
But the most important thing to remember, according to the women, is that this difficult time doesn’t call for isolation. Rather, it’s a time to celebrate blessings like friends, family and major milestones, such as graduations, weddings and birthdays.
“Melanie and I can make anything out of nothing, and right now the most important thing is that people feel safe and happy,” says Tucker-Day. “We’re also taking our time to make sure we’re doing things correctly and to our standards and making sure we’re giving everybody what we’d expect and beyond.”