Theme Party Ideas
- Nautical Party Ideas
Party Resource Guide
Presented by Event & Wedding Planners
Nonsense", "Cruising on the S.S. Party" or "Anchors Away...for a
boat rockin' party".
Nautical Party Ideas
Anchor Garland 6" X 12' Each
Nautical Customized Memories Banner Each
Bon Voyage Personalized Banner Each
Lobster Fest Banner Each
Safe Harbor Personalized Banner Each
Fishing Boat Personalized Banner Each
Personalized Ahoy Banner Each
The key to pulling off a coordinated
event: Evoke your theme throughout the affair. Whether that
theme is as general as a season or a feeling, or as specific as
a special flower, it should be the subtle thread that ties
everything together. Your location, invitations, flowers, menu,
cake, and favors should all cleverly reflect one common concept.
Then, get as creative as you can!
After selecting a Nautical theme for your party, choose a slogan to use in your invitations, and to use in tying in decorations and personalized favors for your sea-faring Nautical theme. Find the perfect slogan for your party by trying one of the following, or by thinking of one that suits you.
"Anchors Away...for a boat rockin' party!
"Ahoy Maties...It's time to party!"
"Ship's Ahoy Sailmates...We'll be cruising on the S.S. Party!"
"Join us for some Nautical Nonsense to celebrate Jon's 40th birthday!"
Nautical Motif &
The motif is the visual representation of your theme, which
is created by the use of objects or symbols. This symbol may be
repeated on your invitations, program, plates, or decorations.
Sometimes the use of several different symbols will be used as
components of the theme. Develop your motif using a list of
words related to the nautical theme. Brainstorm a list to create
your pool of ideas. This list is very important for generating
ideas that can be applied to all areas of your event.
For a Nautical theme you might come up with words like:
River, sand, lighthouses, anchors, rope, driftwood, sailor hats,
sailor collars, nautical flags, life preservers, dockside
pilings, fishnet, portholes, ship's railing, coral, seaweed,
pearls, rocks, bamboo, teak, oak, aquarium, sandcastles,
seashells, clams, oysters, starfish, dolphins, fish, lobsters,
crabs, pelicans, seagulls, octopus, whales, sharks, sea turtle,
charts & maps, Clambake, Fish n' Chips, model ships, waves,
water, mermaid, treasure chest, ship's brass lanterns, ship's
brass bell, Captain's table bell, compass, binoculars, lobster
traps, buoys, decorative glass floats, nautical signs, a Captain
standing at the helm figure, harpoon, sundial, message in a
bottle, salt water taffy, boats, sails, yachts, sailboats, beach
umbrellas, scrimshaw, bamboo torches, barometer, diving helmet,
New England, Cape Cod, giant shells, mini sea creatures,
assorted sea shells, seashell nut cups, water gossamer and lots
Decide on what atmosphere or mood you want to create. This is
where you want to refer back to the list of words you
brainstormed. Add words to the list that will portray your
Incorporating texture will make things look and feel
interesting. Using textures will amplify the atmosphere you are
creating. A nautical theme might best be suited to cotton &
linen fabrics, pearls, wood, sand and shells.
A Nautical Theme offers an incredible number of locations and
venues to choose from...beaches, Yacht Clubs, romantic seaside
inns, sailboats, sea faring schooners and even luxury yachts.
There are lovely seaside gardens, beautiful fountains, city
parks, and romantic rooftops. These locations all share
brilliant sunrises and exhilarating sunsets.
You'll want to
select a color scheme that you will use throughout the theme.
Two or three colors work well. Colors will make a big impact so
be sure they are ones that will complement your theme. For a
Nautical theme you might use Red, White, Navy Blue, Sky Blue,
Brass, Gold, or Stripes.
The use of nautical flowers has spread from coastal communities
to more inland venues where nautical flowers truly are a unique
concepts. If you are in an inland community, adopting nautical
flowers for your event, may be different from what your local
florist is used too or immediately equipped to handle, but
chances are they can easily order the materials and products
necessary to come up with attractive and interesting nautical
favors and flowers. You may want to use flowers influenced by
the English garden style seen in Cape Cod or tropical and exotic
flowers like those seen in Key West or other tropical ports. You
can use traditional and non-traditional flowers and containers
like sea shells, Nantucket baskets, lobster pots, watering cans,
buckets & etc.. Bouquets can be bright bold colors to the more
traditional soft pastels. Try using:
Alstromeria in a frog shell.
Callas, Freesia, Gerbera Daisies designed in a Spider shell.
Roses, Freesia and Alstromeria in a pink Conch Shell.
Other flower chooses
might include Hydrangea, Gardenias, Passion Flowers, or a 3ft
Include nautical rope, berries, grasses & sea shells in your
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Choose an invitation
that will let your guests know what a seaworthy
time they will have at your party or event.
Send a message in a bottle from the sea!
Imprint your personalized slogan and details
of the party…you name it, on a scroll. Roll the
invitation up, and tie it with a small piece of
green (seaweed) curling ribbon or raffia. Add
the invite to an empty water bottle (label
removed). Add about 4 tablespoons of sand to
each bottle, and a few small seashells.
Nautical themed invitations
Party Invitations by Carlson Craft! Carlson
Craft offers a parties invitation where you can choose the
border design. Use the Nautical design #246 available with a ship, anchor &
captain's wheel around the border or a border with
ships for a retirement party and beach & tropical borders.
Add a special touch to you
invitations by enclosing some small seashells or tiny starfish.
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Decorating IdeasCreate the perfect atmosphere for your Sea Swept Event.
At some point during the planning
stages of your event the subject of linens will arise. When it
does stop and think of all the possibilities available to you
before you go with standard issue white polyester tablecloths.
Remember the tops of the tables provide you with a very large
surface area and covering them with a beautiful tablecloth is
the easiest way to change the feel of a room.. It is also the
most cost effective way to decorate. Ten tables covered with a
nautical theme linen print will make a statement that no white
tablecloth can make.
A nautical theme might best be suited to cotton & linen fabrics.
Linens for a nautical theme might include patterns like: royal
blue & white stripe, navy net with silver stars, nautical charts
design, coral reefs design, seashell designs, navy or royal blue
overlayed with a white chiffon, Oceana a blue & green swirl
pattern that resembles the ocean.
Consider a decorative white overlay laced with gold metallic
threads atop a sky-blue linen cloth, you now have captured the
look of the ocean at sunset!
Napkins will serve several
purposes … great decorating in disguise and a delightful memento
of the party that can be saved in scrapbooks for years to come!
Show your guests just how much you care by offering
that complement your nautical theme. Imprint napkins with a
design like: Anchor, Sea Horses, Shells, or other Seaside
Elements (Beach Chairs, Boat, Couple on the Beach & etc).
Bring color to the table via cloth napkins. Give each person two
napkins slipped into one napkin ring. Use two different colors,
two coordinating patterns or one patterned and one solid-colored
napkin. A colorful setting can be achieved with little effort
Have your linen rental company fold your napkins in The Sail
Napkins can be laid out on a buffet table, or can be displayed
at each place setting. Place napkins in the center of each place
setting at an angle, or unfold them and place them in glasses
for a tall dramatic look.
Tuck a single flower bud down
into a napkin.
Napkins can also be tied and bundled with cutlery. Tie with
strings of pearls, sea shell necklaces, raffia, or a multitude
of other items to match your theme, get creative!
Bring a bit of the beach to your
table settings when you use these seashell place cards.
Floral arrangements for the tables are
often determined by the location of the event. If your room has
high ceilings, use
high elaborate arrangements. If ceilings are low, use elegant low
arrangements. Place arrangements in
Nantucket baskets, Conch Shells, watering cans, or buckets or
just use loose greens and flowers, laid across a mirror, with a
Use a floral ring interlaced with nautical rope and string
pearls around a bubble bowl. Place one or two blue submersible LED lights in
the bottom of the bowl. Fill bowl with cracked ice crystals
(available at craft stores) and top with a floating candle.
Seashells can be used for table centerpieces, they work great
alone or as a centerpiece vase for holding flowers. Two
seashells that work well for centerpieces are the Conch Shells
and Nautilus Shells. Pearly Nautilus are the very best shell to
use as a cake topper, but the nautilus shell requires a stand in
order to sit upright.
If you are using banquet length tables, place 3 or 4 square
glass vases on the table. Fill with water tinted blue and add
floating candles. Scatter sand, sea glass and shells around the
Use a lobster pots decorated with flowers. Other choices for a
nautical event might include a lighthouse or decorated Nantucket
Use a life preserver as a ring around a floating candle bowl.
Write names on Sanddollars for placecards and a favor for guest
to take home.
Use Murex seashell as place card holders.
Use seashells and sea glass in bottom of vases and candle
A spiral cut Trochus seashell works well for holding table
Place bubble bowl on small-framed mirrors or mirror tiles, add
sea glass & assorted shells and fill with water. Float a candle in the bowl.
Fill bubble bowls with colored sand with seashells around the
edges. In the middle place a large white pillar candle. Add a
wreath of flowers around the bubble bowl interlaced with nautical rope & string pearls,
seashells, tiny star fish & sea glass.
Placecard holders could be a picture frame with seashells glued
around the outside frame.
Make a Nautical centerpiece that resembles a cedar wood Dock
Piling with a votive candle holder on top. Use real natural
cedar logs. You will need 3 logs (the largest piling should be
approximately 6" tall x 4" wide, middle piling 5" x 3", and the
smallest 4" x 2 1/2". Drill a hole in the top of each piling
just large enough to set a votive holder inside. The pilings are
then wrapped three times with nautical rope.
Nautical tiles are great as coasters or wall hangings.
Add these little
to your tables and centerpieces to carry through your seaside
theme. Then hand them out to your guests as fun favors! Attach
them to your napkins to create fun napkin rings.
Floral arrangements may be
garden flowers arranged in containers like: Nantucket baskets,
watering cans, buckets,
& etc. or tropical flowers arranged in shells (Conch Shells and
Nautilus Shells work well). Interlace rope and string pearls
into floral rings, swags, floral arrangements & etc.
Lighthouses can be used for
centerpieces or other party area decor.
Use a life preserver as a ring around the base of a floral
Add seashells, starfish, sea horses, driftwood, coral & etc. as
A trellis can serve as an entryway and can be elaborate with
flowers or with simply blue & white striped fabric. Interlace
with rope, and strings of pearls. Add seashells, sea glass, star
fish, & other sea creatures into the flowers. Hang a ships
lantern on either side of the trellis or hang votive holders
with a nautical design on the trellis.
Use a brass "captain's table bell" to get guests' attention for
toasts, cake cutting & etc.
Chairs can be either formal or simple. Decorate chairs with
nautical rope and brass anchors interlaced with sprays of
greens, or sprays of beach grasses & Caspia. You could also hang
Nantucket baskets with Roses on chairs or buckets with
Hydrangea, Roses,& Gerberas. Accent with strings of pearls,
seashells, strings of flowers, or any unique idea to enhance
Stairways can be wrapped with nautical rope and greenery with
the addition of sprays of flowers or sea grasses.
Center poles of a tent often need to be covered, Organza, Tulle
or Gossamer are good choices for this. Use ship's lanterns for
Other areas can be decorated with nautical rope, brass anchors,
greenery, sea grasses and flowers with addition of tulle, blue &
white striped fabrics, or nautical prints fabrics.
Wreaths are often used at the entrance. They can include elegant
flowers, shells, coral, nautical rope, strings of pearls,
anchors, sea creatures, and even fruit.
Use nautical rope barriers to create a walkway or to section off
Drape fish net over
your cake table or on walls and chairs.
Ice sculptures can add special
touches to your nautical event. Add an ice sculpture of an
anchor to a buffet table.
If your budget is low, but your dreams are grand, consider the
depth of a giant nautical photo mural. It will fill an entire
wall, and better yet, it provides guests with the most realistic setting
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Never under estimate the power of
Balloons. They are inexpensive
and a great decorating tool. It may be impossible to bring
a sailboat into your venue - but a balloon company can construct one using
balloons or have them create a stunning Ocean with balloons. The
illusion of bubbles can be created by floating clear helium
filled crystal latex balloon of various sizes above the ocean.
Balloon Clouds are
lovely floating over tables with tulle draped from one cloud
cluster to the next.
When using balloons as
centerpieces, varying the height and color can add depth to any
room. Be sure that balloon centerpieces do not obscure the view.
And make sure that balloons are secured with weights. Retrieving
balloons from the rafters can be a costly experience!
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Decorating with Gossamer
To create a stunning look for an indoor or outdoor event use
lots of Gossamer. (Gossamer is an inexpensive, extremely light,
non-woven "fabric". It drapes and swags beautifully, making it a
decorating must-have for creating a number of different,
stunning looks! Use it to:
Resource for Gossamer: Party Decorations & Favors at Shindigz
- Create a wonderful star
studded sky or cloud ceiling with gossamer to give that
outdoor illusion to your guests.
- It makes beautiful curtains
to hide tent poles or ugly walls.
- Use it to wrap around
columns, banisters and chairs.
- Create gorgeous bows for
chairs or to accent tables.
- Use as an overlay on tables.
Theme Gossamer 60"x25 Yd Water Roll to create a pool of water.
- Use strings of white lights, twist them together with some
Gossamer for a really great look.
- Place a
Theme Gossamer 60" Rippling Water 25 Yd Roll, balloons &
cracked ice for an ocean illusion!
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Music for Your
Music can make or break the party and finding
the best music within your budget should be a
Music and dancing have always been an integral
part of festivities and today, there’s no excuse
NOT to have wonderful music. DJs are affordable
and a good DJ can really make a party hop!
Ask your friends and relatives for referrals for
good entertainment. When you find a DJ or band,
etc. you like, ask for references and check them
out—because music makes or breaks the party.
Of course you will want to have your DJ or band
play some appropriate cruisin' kind of music -
the kind that hopefully will inspire some dancin'
on the upper deck! We suggest playing Caribbean
type music, or maybe a little Jimmy Buffet for
starters! Don't forget about the theme song to
the infamous Love Boat for a cute and unusual
Here are a couple of games that
work great with this theme and help your guests mingle together
throughout the entire evening!
Get a list of the different
nautical symbols. Spell words with the symbols, and have
people figure out what the words are. Give out prizes to the
person who gets the most right.
You could also play "To
Speak, or Not to Speak". Give each player a bag or goodie
box with 10 small treasures in it (candy, chocolates, little
favors). Have bags labeled with players' names, so they
don't get mixed up. Let players know at the start of the
game exactly when the game will be ending. This game can be
played throughout an entire party if you so choose. The
object of the game is to catch fellow players saying one of
the forbidden words or phrases:
NAUTICAL, BOAT, OCEAN, WAVES, BEACH, YACHT.
To help players, post the words prominently on a board where
they can be seen often. If someone is caught saying one of
the words on the list, that person has to give up a treasure
from their stash. The player with the biggest haul of
goodies at the end of the game is the winner.
These ideas are great for the little
mates you may have on board.
Take a Trip -
If time permits, take your guests on a
trip to your local maritime museum! Many museums offer tours and
programs especially for children. If you are in Houston, TX. visit the
Seaport Museum, or
Says" - A game of
"Simon says" with a nautical twist.
-The birthday child begins as the Octopus
in the middle of a large playing area. All other players are Fish who
must try to run past the Octopus to the other side of the playing area.
If a Fish is tagged, he or she holds hands with the Octopus and become
a tentacle to help tag more fish. The last Fish alive, wins!
Fish, Fish, Shark
- This game is based on the traditional
“Duck, Duck, Goose” game, but instead of a goose chasing a duck, a
shark chases a fish. Start with all your little fishes seated in a
circle. Designate a leader to walk around the circle, tapping guests on
the head and calling each person a fish. After several guests have been
tapped, the leader chooses one guest and yells out “Shark” when
tapping him or her on the head. The Shark chases the leader and tries
to tag her as she races around the circle and back to the Shark’s
spot. If the leader is caught, then she remains the leader another
round. If the leader escapes the Shark, the Shark becomes the new
leader. Repeat the game until every guest has a chance to be the
Fish for a Name Tag
- Make a fish-shaped name tag for each
guest using thick, colorful paper. Decorate with markers and attach a
paper clip to the mouth of each fish. Place all the fish in an empty
kiddie pool or decorated box. As each guest arrives, hand him or her a
fishing pole (sturdy stick with a yarn “line” and a magnet
“hook”). When a fish is “caught,” write the child’s name on
it or give them the name of their favorite sea creature.
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The most logical fare for a Nautical/Cruise Night gala would be seafood of any type. Here are a couple of suggestions - some could be used as appetizers, while others are more of a main entrée option.
- Angel hair pasta with shrimp and basil
- Seafood stir-fry
- Shrimp cocktail
- Flounder with crabmeat stuffing
- Another adult friendly dish would be a large Popeye's spinach pie! Your guests will be breaking out in the "Popeye the Sailorman" theme song in no time - guaranteed!
If you will be serving children at your event, they have a bit of a different taste when it comes to festive foods, so here are a couple choices for the younger shipmates
- Make blue J-ellotm
according to the directions on the box. Fill each glass with blue
J-ellotm and refrigerate to let it partially set. Add
a few Swedish Fish to each glass. Test the first one, as they
shouldn’t sink to the bottom, but should “swim” in the water.
Continue to refrigerate until firm. The kids will love this one!
- Serve Trader's Punch (recipe below) out of a large punch bowl - don't forget to add the floating toy sailboat on top!
- Try our “Deep Blue Sea Juice”,
and you’ll fill the room with “ooohs and aaahs”. Start by
serving blue punch. After you have placed a filled glass in front
of each guest, add some seaweed dust (a few Pop Rockstm
candies) to each one. Since this candy is processed with carbon
dioxide, it will crackle, pop, and spit when it comes into contact with
- Make beach boats by placing a slice of apple on each plate. Cut a cheese slice in half at an angle and place that like a sail on the plate. Add some peanut butter to the apple slice and add a few raisins as the people on the boat .
Goldfishtm, submarine sandwiches or sandwiches cut with fish
cookie cutters, Doletm Pineapple Fish (they are pre-cut in
the can), fish fruit snacks, and sunken treasure nuggets (cheese
- Cut fish out of the rice crispy treats
with a cookie cutter. Place them on a large cake board covered
Blue Water Gossamer, and frost each one differently with
bright colors of frosting. There is no right or wrong way to
decorate the fish…and you can even involve your child in the fun!
If you prefer a more traditional cake, simply cut a 9 X 13” cake into
a fish shape, and decorate it with bright colors
2 cups uncooked seashell macaroni (7 ounces)
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded or cubed Cheddar cheese (8 ounces)
Heat oven to 350ºF.
Cook macaroni as directed on package.
While macaroni is cooking, melt butter in 3-quart saucepan over low
heat. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, mustard and Worcestershire sauce.
Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth
and bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring
constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in cheese. Cook, stirring
occasionally, until cheese is melted.
Drain macaroni. Gently stir macaroni into cheese sauce. Pour into
ungreased 2-quart casserole. Bake uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or until
Makes 6 servings
2 cups orange juice
2 cups lemon juice
1 cup grenadine syrup
1/2 cup light corn syrup
3 1-pint (12-ounce) bottles ginger ale, chilled
Fresh berries or sliced fruit
Mix fruit juices, grenadine and corn syrup;
chill. Just before serving, add ginger ale
and fruit. Makes 4 quarts.
is the dessert of choice, a simple and sweet cake is as easy as this!
Frost a double layer round cake with light beige frosting. Sprinkle big
grain brown sugar over it - a striking resemblance to sand! You can then
add some doll beach chairs and umbrellas, or just a few plastic seagulls
to keep it simple. Use your imagination and round up those old toys to
keep with the theme.
Sailboat Cake at Betty Crocker
Catch of the Day Cake
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Life Preserver Arch
Shining Sails Silver Placecard Holders Pkg/4
Shells By The Sea Authentis Shell Holder Pkg/6
Personalized Ship Mural Each
Midnight Cruise Ship Standee Each
23" Plastic Life Preserver
Anchor Centerpiece Each
Nautical Signal Garland Each
Anchor Standee Each
Porthole Cut-outs Dozen
Nautical Metal Lamp Each
Porthole Wall Graphic Set/3
Captain's Wheel Each
Ships Anchor Each
Felt Sailboat Centerpiece W/lights Each
Theme Gossamer Rippling Water Rolls
Fence Section W/light & Life Preserver Each