Decorating Ideas For A Nautical Party
Anything related to seamen, navigation, and operating ships is appropriate for a nautical-themed event. A nautical party is the perfect setting for a spiffy cocktail party and
makes an excellent theme for a bon voyage or farewell tribute.
Create a slightly formal setting with a combination of rudiments from the yacht club, navy ship's deck, and a fishing pier. Use natural elements, like cotton, wood, brass, and rope with fresh and clean colors reminiscent of sailing, like white and navy with red accents and striped fabrics.Nautical 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:
Make a great first impression and set the mood for your arriving guests with a hanging "Welcome Aboard"
, "Life Is Good"
, or "Party On The Poop Deck"
life preserver on the front door.
The fresh, clean and cheerful 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 Nautical party is over.
The wreath door hanger
is an easy way to adorn your front door without nails, tacks or tape.<== 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.
Use a variety of nautical icons in varying shapes and textures to add interest and festivity to your bar. Start with a group of antiqued wooden nautical buoys
of different heights and striped colors.
Add a s
leek white sailboat alongside nautical cocktail napkins featuring a life ring garnishing a martini
, which coordinates nicely with a red & white life preserver
on the wall behind the bar. Use nautical flag toothpicks
in your drink garnishes and wherever possible.
Or create a charming nautical scene on the bar with a wooden sailboat
and carved captain
standing watch, then choose from a variety of lighthouses, such as, St. Augustine
, Cape Hatteras
, Jupiter Inlet
and Cape Lookout
. Add some sparkle with metallic sail America confetti
comprised of blue, silver and red sailboats.
For cocktails create a nautical-inspired drink and name it for the event or guest of honor, find plenty of drink suggestions in our Nautical Drink Ideas
section, like Port & Starboard melon martinis. Highlight the lighthouse and buoy motif with dockside beverage napkins
featuring a harbor view of a lighthouse with colorful buoys in the foreground.
Choose from a variety of boats and buoys to create just the right nautical feel for your party or event. Here we combine a green 19" pond sailboat
(also available in red and blue) with a yellow "No Boats" buoy floater
Hang the "Welcome Aboard"
or "Life Is Good" life preserver
behind the bar and complement the scene with a bleached, natural, or blue monkey's fist rope knot
. A pelican
stands watch over a stack of colorful sailing regatta cocktail napkins.
Liven up every bar scene with a light sprinkling of red, white, & silver sailboat confetti
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 ship, sail, and navigation icons in a display of towels, soap,
and a mini nautical scene, which 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 Sail America confetti
for continuity and a dash of shimmer and shine.<== DINNER PARTY
From rustic to refined, a nautical theme can easily be tailored to a casual event or formal affair. Focus on natural and environmental elements to create a rustic, more casual event. Conversely, the establishments of recreational yachting and sport sailing are expensive and exclusive.
For nautical rustic, center the table around a set of 3 antiqued, striped buoys
, flanked by monkey's fist rope knots
. Add a carved wood pelican and a carved wood sea gull
to each side of the buoys and rope knots.
Recreate the shimmer of the ocean's surface with sailboat confetti
in metallic blue, red, and silver. Finally, place a red, gold, or white buoy floater
in the center of each charger or dinner plate.
Go to Dinner Decorating
for a more refined nautical dinner table centerpiece. And 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, or water-themed paper, 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 Nautical 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:
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 Nautical Food Ideas
==>Metallic sailboat confetti
is an easy way to add subtle details and lift spirits. Create a big impact by scattering confetti sparingly on the bar, in the bathroom, and on the dinner table.
The red, blue and silver sailboats also serve to repeat your nautical theme colors. If you are mailing invitations or thank you notes, add just a sprinkle of confetti fun and festivity in each envelope. <== PARTY AREA & LIGHTING
festive and fun lighting elements to add depth and interest to your
theme. Start by eliminating all overhead lights, then find creative nautical and ship related light sources to add warmth and
String lights along the deck rail, under the bar, or around a doorway to
make an attractive theme-inspired decoration for a day or night party, such as these vintage glass-style plastic buoy string lights
For dusk to nighttime events, use votive candles in frosted holders, etched with teal blue sailboats, ocean waves, and seagulls,
liberally to add indirect lighting. You may also use a combination of teal
, and frosted votive holders
to represent the ocean or use the nautical colors of blue
, frosted white
, and red
votive holders.2) Repetition:
Choose colors and/or motifs and repeat them as often as possible to reinforce your theme.
- Primary Colors: Create a fresh, clean look with white & navy blue as your main colors.
- Accent Colors: Use bright red as a third color with the occasional yellow gold accent.
- Background Colors: In addition, you may optionally use colors symbolic of water as a background, such as blue, aqua and/or teal.
Select a primary motif, such as the sailboat. Then use as many easily
recognizable nautical symbols as you have available, such as:
3) Tasteful decorations:
- Captains wheel
- Rope, monkey's paw
- Life ring
- Compass rose
- Crossed oars
- Ocean, water, waves
- Maps, navigational charts
- Divers helmet
- Port hole
4) Neutral background:
- 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.
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.
competing colors and objects in the party areas that distract from your
- Use your theme colors of white, navy blue, and red with yellow gold accents whenever possible.