Party Swizzle Theme Party Decorations For Adults
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Home>Choose Theme>Beach Party>Beach Decorating Ideas
Beach Party
Beach Decorating Ideas
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Beach Food Ideas
Beach Music Ideas

Decorating Ideas For Beach and Surfer Parties


Recreate the casual and relaxed atmosphere reminiscent of the surf, sun and sand of a beach vacation for a fun party everyone can enjoy. A surfer or beach party makes an ideal theme as the weather gets warm and a welcome twist during cold weather.

Beach Party Decorating Basics

There are four basic rules we follow to achieve a delicate balance of a fun and engaging party atmosphere that will also convey taste and sophistication:

1)  Strategic placement:
  • Choose locations most guests will eventually visit to place your decorations.
  • Arrange accents where guests are likely to "stumble upon" them.
  • Plan decorations to be discovered over the duration of the party.
  • Key strategic positions include:
ENTRANCE ==>

Make a great first impression and set the mood to fun for your arriving guests with a hanging vintage beach life ring on the front door.

The colorful, weathered greeting placed in this very visible location will go a long way in creating a lasting memory of your event.  Then, hang the life ring as a bar decoration after your Beach party is over. 

Use a wreath door hanger to eliminate the need for tape or tacks.

<== BAR & COCKTAILS

The bar is an ideal location to showcase your detailed theme-related decorations, because all of your guests will visit or mingle nearby at some point.
 
Create a festive beach scene on the bar with tabletop buoy floaters around a blue or white lifeguard chair.  Place seashells and driftwood on the bar and throughout the party area. Then, add some sparkle with colorful metallic confetti of sea creatures, shells, and waves.

For cocktails, create a beach-inspired drink and name it for the event or guest of honor, find plenty of yummy drink suggestions in our Beach Drink Ideas section, like Sex On The Beach and Sand In Your Shorts.

Highlight the surfing motif with surfboard beverage napkins featuring surfboards on a beach and a "Board Meeting" sign or "summer day at the beach" cocktail napkins. Don't forget to lift spirits with cheerful drink parasols in pink, green, yellow, and blue.

BATHROOM ==>

Like the bar, virtually every guest will visit the bathroom at some point, making it an excellent showplace for your distinctive decorations.

Tastefully coordinate your bathroom decorations with a combination of beach and seaside icons in a display of towels, soap, and an extra surprise, like a lifeguard chair, include:
Not only will you have a captive audience, but it keeps your party interesting as guests discover surprises throughout the evening.

Sprinkle a few pieces of sea life confetti for continuity and a dash of shimmer and shine.

<== DINNER PARTY

Enchant your guests with an elegant beach dinner table setting by  combining the subtle beauty of natural and nostalgic icons. 

Painted metal beach cabanas in coordinated stripes take center stage as a unique trio of taper candle holders.  Add a 13" tall white lifeguard chair complete with red & white life rings and a carved wood sea gull perched on a piling. 

A pair of carved shore birds guard each end of the centerpiece, while sea shells and driftwood scattered throughout give texture and natural beauty to the scene.  Use striped dinner napkins along with the soothing pastels of the "Summer Day At The Beach" beverage napkin in each plate.

Check out out the dinner party section for more dinner party planning tips.

HORS D'OEUVRE TRAYS ==>

Passing hors d'oeuvres on silver trays with doilies not only adds a touch of style and elegance, but introduces another level of excitement as guests anticipate the next tray of intricately assembled appetizers. 

In addition to wowing the crowd with your detailed bites, this is the perfect opportunity to introduce another beach-themed surprise to each guest as the tray is passed. 

Buy small and sturdy accents as serving tray centerpieces for your hors d'oeuvre to delight your guests over the duration of the party. We suggest a:
  • A shore bird surrounded by crab & mango stacks
  • A pelican perched on a piling in a sea of shrimp canapes.
  • A pair of flip flop candles encircled by jerk chicken bites.
Use the tray centerpieces as party area decorations once the appetizer has been served. For a birthday party, also place multi-colored Happy Birthday food picks randomly in a tray of hors d'oeuvres to reinforce the occasion.

We have included these and other appetizer recipes in the Beach Party Food Ideas section.

<== SERVING TABLE

Create a fun day at the beach scene on your serving table for a memorable focal point. 

Start with teal or ocean colored satin overlayed with a strip of burlap along the back for the beach. 

We just used pieces of fabric on top of a white cotton tablecloth and pinned a Table Skirt with Hibiscus Flowers to hide the edges and add more flair.

Our beach serving table includes:

  • Metallic Foil Palm Tree Centerpiece
  • 2 Tropical Beach Cabana Centerpieces
  • Flip Flop Votive Candle Holders
  • Sand Dollar Beach Chair Votive Candle Holders
  • Picnic Table Condiment Set
  • Sand Pail & Beach Ball Salt & Pepper Shakers
  • Resin Beach Ball Photo/Sign Holder Weight
  • Red & White Striped Sailboard (on the water)
  • Exotic Sea Shells and Driftwood
  • Flip Flop Beverage Napkins
  • Beach, Drink & Be Merry Beverage Napkins
  • Bright Yellow Metal Oval Tub
  • Bright Orange Scalloped Edge Serving Trays (2)
  • Flip Flop Spreader Knives
CONFETTI & SCATTER ==>

A beach party provides a number of options to decorate using theme inspired confetti and/or scatter decorations, such as, real sea shells and beach driftwood.

Metallic seaside confetti of sea creatures, waves, and seashells is an easy way to impress your guests with subtle details. Or use our own beach confetti mix of black sunglasses, gold metallic suns, green palm trees, and large colorful starfish.

Add sparkle and happy thoughts by scattering confetti sparingly on the bar, in the bathroom, and on the dinner table.  If you are mailing invitations or thank you notes, add just a sprinkle of confetti fun and festivity in each envelope.

<== PARTY AREA & LIGHTING 

Use votive candle holders liberally to add indirect lighting. Alternate colored votive candle holders of red, green, blue, and yellow with frosted white.

Keep votives & decorations in the party area at or just above eye level for better visibility.  Use votive candles and life ring string lights, palm tree string lights, surfboard string lights, and/or beach ball string lights to draw attention to more beach decorations like a beach ball, metallic palm tree, and a decorative beach shack birdhouse. Position decorations on the staircase, mantel, high shelves or hang them on the wall.

Ideally, your party area should be just large enough to accommodate your guests to encourage mingling and conversation while discouraging sitting. For outdoor parties, try to create a designated party area around the bar.

2)  Repetition:  Choose colors and motifs, then repeat them as often as possible to reinforce your theme. A beach theme offers several great color scheme options:
  • Background Color: Use a light brown color or khaki to represent sand as your background.
  • Primary Color:  Use a shade of turquoise to signify ocean water and/or use bright primary colors found in beach balls, umbrellas and surfboards like red, blue, yellow, orange and green. Alternatively, use a combination of pink, aqua/teal, purple, and orange for a more trendy look.
  • Patterns: Use bold red & white striped fabrics in the spirit of beach towels and/or use actual striped towels.
  • Motifs:  Select a primary motif representative of the beach and/or surfers, such as surfboards. Then use as many easily recognizable beach symbols as you have available, such as: 
  • Surfboard
  • Sun
  • Beach towel
  • Sunglasses
  • Beach chair
  • Umbrella
  • Pelican
  • Seagull
  • Crab
  • Suntan lotion
  • Sea shells
  • Starfish
  • Life ring
  • Pail & shovel
  • Flip flops
3)  Tasteful decorations:
  • Buy quality and understated accents that are thoughtful and clever.
  • Seek out the unique and distinctive to make things memorable.
  • Avoid gaudy, in-your-face decorations.
  • Pass over common and cheap-looking paper and plastic items.
4)  Neutral background:
  • When not using "water" colors of blue and aqua, neutralize the background to make your decorations stand out. For example use a white tablecloth on your dinner table.
  • Remove competing colors and objects in the party areas that distract from your theme.
  • Use your theme colors of blue and tan; red, yellow, blue, green, and orange; or pink, aqua, purple and orange whenever possible. When using more than 2 or 3 colors try to use all of your colors together on a neutral background.