Decorating Ideas For A Nautical or Sailing Themed Party
Anything related to seamen, navigation, and operating ships is appropriate for a nautical-themed event. A nautical theme is the perfect setting for a spiffy cocktail party and
makes an excellent backdrop for a bon voyage or farewell tribute.
Combine or choose one of 3 distinctive nautical styles:
Rustic includes natural and ye olde seaman items, such as weathered wood, lanterns, buoys, and fisherman accessories.
Refined is a breezy and casual style featuring crisp, clean lines and bold colors, include white-painted wood, sailboats, flags, and related items.
Traditional embraces sturdy and durable elements of ocean travel and motor-yachts, use ship navigational items, dark polished wood and brass, such as a captain's wheel, lighthouses, and anchors.
Combine elements to create a semi-formal setting with rudiments of the yacht club, navy ship's deck, and a fishing pier. Use natural elements, like cotton and wood, along with brass and rope. Add bold colors and clean lines reminiscent of sailing, like white and navy with red and/or gold accents and striped fabrics.
When decorating, we like to choose locations most guests will eventually visit to place our decorations, arranging accents & "surprises" so guests discover them over the duration of the party.
Make a great first impression and set the mood for your arriving guests with a "Welcome Aboard" life preserver hanging on the front door or position one on each side for twice the fun. For an extra bit of fanfare, string a Nautical Flag Border above the entrance or in the foyer.
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. 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
Boats & Buoys
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.
Arrange a mini maritime scene with a variety of boats, buoys, lighthouses, shore birds and monkey fist rope knots to create just the right nautical feel for your party or event.
For cocktails, rename a nautical-inspired drink for the event or guest of honor, find plenty of drink suggestions in our Nautical Drink Ideas section, like Port & Starboard melon martinis. Use nautical flag toothpicks in your drink garnishes and wherever possible.
Serve cocktails on seaside, fishing, sailing, or nautical oriented beverage napkins to complement your decor. Hang a blue or red life preserver behind the bar.
Liven up every bar scene with a light sprinkling of confetti in your nautical colors.
Announce your signature drink and/or extend birthday wishes to your guest of honor with a nautical placecard or photo holder, such as a Captain's Wheel or Lighthouse. Monkey Fist Rope Knots, large and mini, also make create sign holders.
Adorn the net with sea creature decorations, starfish and shells. Optionally, add green crepe streamers to mimic strands of seaweed caught in the net. If you don’t want to use screw-in wall hooks to hang the net, try clear adhesive wall hangers that remove easily.
Depending upon the occasion, you can create a celebratory mood by hanging Nautical Flag Ceiling Swirls in the party area or over your dinner/serving table. Or take a more subtle approach with a mix of Round Paper Lanterns in nautical colors (blue, red, white, yellow-gold).
Switch out the throw pillows on your sofa for nautical colors repeated in the decorations such as navy blue, red, white, and yellow-gold; feature stripes, geometric designs, or Nautical Flag Pillows.
Decorate side tables, shelves, and mantels with nautical ships, buoys and lighthouses to continue the theme. Maintain an open space free of chairs and furniture in the party area for guests to circulate and mingle.
Nautical-inspired rope coasters make a nice addition for guests to set drinks. Check out this link to do-it-yourself at www.makinghomebase.com.
<== SERVING TABLE
Build an engaging nautical display for a buffet, appetizer, gift or favor table with a raised display along the back. Start with a white tablecloth on your table and a coordinated Nautical-Striped Table Runner down the center.
Use boxes or shelving along the back (we use 2 ClosetMaid 12"H x 12"D x 31"L organizing shelves) and cover with an aqua or navy blue sheet or tablecloth to create an ocean scene. Pin the sides like a table skirt. In addition, you may also choose to pin white fabric across the front and sides, so that only the water surface is visible.
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.
Rowboat encircled by spinach phyllo flag triangles with USA flag toothpicks.
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 picksrandomly in a tray of hors d'oeuvres to reinforce the occasion.
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 maximum visual impact, use a bright white background to make your decorations clearly visible and distinctive. Start with a white tablecloth and white dinner plates and build your centerpiece on a blue canvas runner symbolic of the deep blue sea.