Nautical Banquet & Reception Decorating Ideas Nautical themed banquets and receptions offer a wide selection of ideas, symbols, and decorations to create any type of atmosphere from casual to formal. Based upon a long history of established traditions, the nautical theme imparts a tone of precision, order, wealth and masculinity that is also spirited, fun, and playful.
addition to the theme, choose 1 to 4 theme colors to maximize the
visual impact and provide continuity throughout the venue. Blue, red, white and gold are dominate colors in naval, sailing, and yachting and are a popular color
combination for decorating. These are also the colors found in nautical flags, in addition to black.
Motifs: Nautical refers to those things related to operating a boat or ship, including seamen, navigation, and sailing. Use nautical symbols and icons, in addition to your colors to decorate. Some ideas include:
Rope, monkey's paw
Ocean, water, waves
Boats & ships
Maps, navigational charts
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 and floral arrangements do not obstruct eye
contact between guests on opposite sides of the table.
For a round nautical dinner, banquet, or reception table, bring together your theme colors and icons in each centerpiece. You may also want to include some subtle variations at each table, such as color or lighthouses from different states.
At each place setting, use red & white striped napkins , alternatively make sisal rope or clothesline napkin rings with this simple DIY project at www.projectwedding.com.
Use mini Monkey Fist Rope Knots in the center of each plate or charger to hold flag placecards for your guests. Create ribbon flags on your computer in red & blue with each guests name, then simply print on paper, cut, apply glue and fold around a wooden toothpick. Create your own or use this template:
If you are not using placecards, just make flags without names or place a Nautical Chic Beverage Napkin, featuring a blue anchor on a red background, in the center of each place setting. For a playful touch, hang sailor hats on the back of each chair and, optionally, paint the name of each guest on the brim of the cap.
An excellent format to build banquet table centerpieces is to evenly space multiple variations of a table decoration of approximately the same height and size. For a nautical theme, use different ships and boats, lighthouses, or buoys. Then fill in the space in between with a wide selection of smaller nautical themed decor.
Here we have evenly spaced 4 ships and boats of approximately the same size. If your event is focused only on sailboats, naturally use a number of different sailboats, for a more general nautical theme, we have included a white fishing boat with nets, a mounted sailboat, a modern white sailboat, and a mounted clipper ship. We have balanced the look by combining a variety of mounted and unmounted boats with ship styles from different time periods.
Navy blue napkins on a white tablecloth add to the crisp, clean nautical feel. In addition, your decorations will show up best on the white background. Sprinkle red or blue star confetti to create a festive sparkle, while tying the whole scene together for continuity.
Similarly, we have created a more casual nautical theme with buoys, birds, and rope knots. Here we repeat variations of a theme that we space down the banquet or reception table.
This collection of buoy, bird, and rope knot would also make nice nautical centerpiece for round tables that would be consistent, but show a little extra creativity for each table.
Use a white tablecloth and position cut-outs of "water" down the center of the tables for a splash of aquatic color under ships and buoys; use scrapbook or bulletin paper of water found at hobby stores. Position a white sailboat, mounted sailboat, historic clipper ship, white wood shrimp boat, and/or a wooden sailboat on each splash of ocean depending upon your budget.
Insert small fishing boats with nets to put the finishing touches to your banquet table. Meander pieces of rope through the length of the display and sprinkle shimmering metallic red & blue star confetti. Head Table:
The head table is usually a rectangular table in the front of the room
with the hosts and guests facing the other diners. This table is
sometimes more elaborately decorated and should be skirted across the
Replace white light bulbs on each side of the entrance or other key locations with a red and a green light bulb to represent the port and starboard sides of a ship. The red light is for the port side, which is the left side when facing forward on a boat. Conversely, the green light is for the starboard or right side.
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 Nautical themed centerpieces in some
or all of the trays as they are passed, such as the perched pelican or rowboat. Then, signal each hors d'oeuvre or entree with nautical flag or American flag toothpicks.
Bar & Cocktails: If you are using a skirted table for a bar, continue the Nautical theme with a white shrimp boat and a few sprinkles of metallic confetti in blue, red, or silver. Or place a few smaller items, such as a wooden sailboat and lighthouse. For an actual bar, just use a single display item along with drink napkins. Position red and green votive candle holders beside each other to represent a boat's port and starboard lights.
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 and gold mini-lights, nautical flags or large hanging pieces of fabric in red, blue,
white, and gold. For a romantic and mystical display, hang stars at varying heights 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. While strategically
placed potted plants give a vast hall a much more comfortable and
Make your floral displays
unique with red and green submersible LED lights
that light up the vase holding each arrangement. Use the green LED lights on the starboard (right) side of the banquet room or reception hall and red LED lights on the port (left) side.
Party Beads: For an extra dose of fun, surprise your guests with party beads in red, blue, gold, and white.
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.