A beach themed reception or banquet offers a number of mood and decorating options. Create a romantic setting with natural colors and elements from the environment, such as the sea, sand, shells, and sunset.
Establish a more casual and energetic atmosphere with bright colors and activities such as, surfing, games, beach balls, and umbrellas. Use pastels for a more exotic and relaxed beach resort character. Or mix features of each to convey the exact mood that matches your event.
Colors: In addition to the theme, choose colors to maximize the visual impact and provide continuity throughout the venue. For a natural, sophisticated look use ivory, khaki, or mocha with a light blue or turquoise.
Or use a multicolored palette for your beach reception or banquet. Red, blue, yellow, orange and green will create a cheerful, casual atmosphere. Or use a mix of pastels, such as pink, aqua, purple, coral, and yellow, for a more trendy, upscale impression. Striped patterns in any of your colors are also distinctively beachy.
Motifs: Include motifs and icons symbolic of the ocean and beach. Some easily recognizable items include:
Pail & shovel
Dining Tables: Banquet and reception dining tables are typically rectangular or round. For round dining tables, create similar or duplicate centerpiece displays for each table. For a rectangular table, you can place a number of theme-related items down the center using a more significant decoration every few chairs. Be sure centerpieces do not obstruct eye contact between guests on opposite sides of the table.
Highlight the beauty of the seashore with natural elements in contrast with the rich ocean colors of aqua, turquoise and blue. Start with a dark blue tablecloth and teal dinner napkins. For the centerpiece, use real sand in a shallow glass platter, set on a round sand-colored placemat.
Or, use a white tablecloth to make detailed centerpieces and decorations stand out. Mix textures and styles to add interest to your reception and banquet table centerpieces.
Here we use evenly spaced striped beach cabana candle holders for continuity and elegance. Fill in the area between with detailed beach scenes for fun and interest, such as a wood beach bungalow birdhouse, a lifeguard chair, muli-colored picket fence candle holder. Add mud starfish, along with Mexican Lion's Paw scallop shells for a natural contrast.
Scatter natural elements liberally, such as sea shells, sand dollars, and starfish down the center of your table. Or you may opt to use a beach mix of suns, palm trees, sunglasses and starfish confetti to add a little shimmer to the scene.
Add some beach color with votive candle holders of red, yellow, green, and blue alternating with frosted white votive candle holders or use purple, pink, and aqua/teal depending upon your chosen colors. For a more low-key display use frosted votive candle holders with sailboats etched in turquoise or beaded palm tree tealight holders.
For round table centerpieces, establish a focal point with a life guard chair, beach shack centerpiece, VW surfer bus, seagull or pelican in the center. Place sea shells, shore birds, and/or beach picket fence candle holders around the center. Alternatively, you may use colored and frosted white votive candle holders, sailboat votive candle holders, or the palm tree tealights around the center, depending upon your budget.
Head Table: The head table is usually a rectangular table in the front of the room with the hosts and VIP guests facing the other diners. This table is sometimes more elaborately decorated and should be skirted across the front. You may want to use a grass table skirt in beach colors or hang "Life Is Good" life preservers across the front.
Entrance: Make a big first impression by decorating the entrance area and reception table with unique touches. Use beach ball string lights, sea shell string lights, flip-flop string lights, and/or surfboard string lights at the sign-in table or in the reception area. Hang "Life Is Good" life preservers on each side of the doorway into the banquet hall or reception area. Place decorative palm tree votive candle holders on the welcome table or use votive candle holders in red, green, yellow, and blue. Greet guests with a large "Surf's Up!" surfboard display. Use a rowboat for gifts instead of a skirted table.
Food: Food service and buffet tables are another way to incorporate fun and unique highlights to your event. Most banquets and receptions offer either hors d'oeuvres passed butler style or an appetizer spread. When passing hors d'oeuvres arrange for beach themed centerpieces in some or all of the trays as they are passed, such as a pelican, shore bird, or weathered buoy floater.
For an hors d'oeuvre and appetizer food table, create a centerpiece of a surf shack birdhouse and a perched pelican and/or shore birds milling about. Place gold mosaic votive candle holders or beach picket fence candle holders at varying heights between the platters. For a dinner buffet, use pink, teal, and purple mini-lights or sea shell string lights.
Bar & Cocktails: If you are using a skirted table for a bar, continue the beach theme with a miniature lifeguard chair and a few sprinkles of beach mix confetti or scatter exotic sea shells. Or place a few items, such as, the tropical island display of a palm tree and hammock, along with metal palm tree votive candle holders. For an actual bar, just use a single display item along with drink napkins.
Depending upon the size of your crowd, put surfboard, beach drink and be merry, flip-flop or beach scene cocktail napkins out for display and have the bartenders use solid colored beverage napkins for service to reduce costs for a large group. And, of course, garnish each drink with a parasol pick aka drink umbrella.
Ceiling: Decorating the ceiling of your banquet hall or reception area goes a long way in filling the space and making your event unique. Some options to consider are swags of tulle with blue, red, and yellow-gold mini-lights; pink, teal, and purple mini-lights; or use a single color, such as white or teal mini-lights depending upon your color scheme. For a fun and cheerful day at the beach display, hang beach balls and/or kites from the rafters.
Flowers & Plants: Including the natural element of flowers and plants adds another dimension to your banquet and reception decorations. As large centerpieces or small accents, flowers make a beautiful addition of color and freshness to your event decor. Make your floral displays unique with red, green, blue and amber or pink, purple, and teal submersible LED lights that light up the vase holding each arrangement. While strategically placed potted palms give a vast hall a much more comfortable and natural ambiance.
Party Beads: For an extra dose of fun, surprise your guests with party beads in blue, red, green, and yellow-gold or pink, teal, and purple. Use party beads as napkin rings at each place setting or fill a bowl or large martini glass at the reception table and bar. Beads make a great party favor that your guests will enjoy throughout the evening.