Caribbean-themed outdoor party ideas

Transport your guests to the Caribbean with our Caribbean-themed party tips and ideas.

By Colleen Tully

Caribbean-themed outdoor party decor ideas
A Caribbean-themed outdoor party is a great way to get sleepy Canadians into the swing of summer. Think this party theme is passé? Consider island decor style á la British model and designer India Hicks is rippling across the North American trend radar, plus Caribbean foods are hitting mainstream restaurants and grocery stores. There's never been a better time to transport guests to the Caribbean from your backyard.

Location
Plan to set up your Caribbean party outdoors: the deck, patio or back yard. The purpose of this party is to enjoy the sunshine, so if you're afraid it will rain schedule a rain date.

Caribbean decor
A Caribbean-themed party can go two ways: stylishly classic or kitschy-tacky. With any tropical theme, it's very easy to go overboard at the dollar store. Stick to one theme and/or a tight budget to avoid tropical overload.

For a pretty, classy Caribbean party look:
  • Use natural-fabric white linens -tablecloths and overlays. Accent with linen napkins in brilliant colours: fuchsia, turquoise, orange or yellow.
  • Set your best silver alongside spotless water and wine glasses.
  • Find fresh orchids, Heliconia, hibiscus or birds of paradise for centrepieces.
  • Add hurricane candle shades with floating candles - or filled with coloured sand, shells and a pillar candle onto each table.
  • Use silver trays for fruit displays, serving drinks or under wooden snack bowls.
  • Palm foliage is a must. Purchase as much as you can and use creatively with flowers, fruit, tied around napkins, attached to the bar.
  • Fruit is also a decorating must. Pineapples, mangoes, coconuts, papayas and grapes can be found at most grocery stores. Don't forget to use pineapple tops to add tropical foliage anywhere it's needed.

Adding Caribbean character

  • Parrots, toucans and other tropical songbirds can be nestled among centrepieces or around the socializing area -- a motion-sensor songbird would make a fun touch. Birds can decorate melamine plates, glasses and paper napkins, too.
  • Add tropical fish accents: a string of fish around each table or fish patio lights. Find fish-decorated plates, napkins, candles, or wooden fishes to scatter around the food table.
  • Brilliant butterflies should also grace the scene somewhere. Tuck a few butterflies around flowers, on walls, attached to chairs or wine glasses.
  • Take flowers to the next level and purchase fake tropical flowers in all shapes and sizes. Put them everywhere for a lush, tropical look. Just don't forget a few real flowers for authenticity.
  • Shells: scatter random shells around tables or pile them in vases or natural baskets. Glue shells to napkin holders and wine glasses. Get a couple of large conch shells for centrepieces.
  • Inflatable palm trees are over 5 feet tall and would give fun, tropical flare to your space.
  • Bamboo torches are always a nice touch when the sun starts to set and the rum's 'a flowin'.
  • Kiddie table: Pirates of the Caribbean paper plates, napkins, glasses, favours -- this is a golden no-brainer for the Caribbean theme party.

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