Tropic like it’s hot
Throwing a tropical themed party is all the rage at the moment. You can’t go into a shop without seeing a pineapple, palm tree or a flamingo. And quite frankly, I LOVE it. What’s not to love?? Bright colours, holiday vibes and thoughts of paradise..I, for one, am completely obsessed. I recently won the Battle of The Garden Flamingo in our household and am now the proud owner of my own 3ft tall pink bird. This sweeping trend carries an exotic appeal that has captured the nation this summer.
So with some of our good friends coming round for tea, I decided to throw an impromptu tropical themed party of my own. I’ve been looking for an excuse to entertain on our new dining table (thank you Company No 9!) And being Vintage Twee, it wouldn’t be a dinner party without some tropical table décor! I thought I’d share some photos from the evening, as well as provide my top 10 tips on how to host your own tropical themed party.
1. What’s your tropical themed party for?
There’s a whole host of different occasions that you could choose a tropical themed party for. It’s a fab theme for a hen party, birthday or informal dinner with close friends. Or it’s perfect to celebrate an engagement if you are planning jetting away for a destination wedding!
2. Food and drinks
This will depend on the occasion but a tropical themed party opens up a whole world of culinary opportunity! Whether you choose nibbles, buffet style party food or a full dinner menu, there’s so much choice. These are my top picks for a food fiesta!
– appetisers: nachos, dips, olives, houmous, cous cous, cheese and pineapple..
– mains: fajitas, caribbean style curry, chicken burgers, pulled pork, lamb/chicken skewers, hotdogs, salads
– desserts: fruit platter with watermelon, mango, coconut, passionfruit. Or for the sweeter tooth, coconut pyramid cakes, pineapple upside pudding or brightly iced cupcakes!
From the Tiki bar..
You can buy ready to serve cocktails now from most supermarkets to save the hassle of making your own. Pina Colados, Mojitos and Woo Woo’s are all widely available on the shelf. If I wanted to push the boat out (no pun intended), a bottle of Sailor Jerry’s rum would also feature in my Tiki bar. You can’t get more Caribbean than it’s signature beverage!
Make sure you get some fruit juices and soft drinks in for the designated drivers. Serve them with a slice of lime over ice and with a fancy straw and they won’t feel quite so hard done by!
3. Plan, plan, plan!
Type the words ‘tropical themed party’ into Pinterest and you will find a whole host of inspiration! I always like to do a bit of googling before I plan any event. I can then find my own style and set the tone of my party. It also means you know what you’re looking for before you purchase anything so you don’t waste money. Because let’s face it, if we had more of that – we wouldn’t be throwing a tropical themed party and would be going to Hawaii instead..
4. Be bold with bright colours!
The brighter the better! This is the bit I enjoyed the most when planning my party. Making wedding stationery for a living, I rarely get to play with daring colours. I have to accept that no-one really wants a hot pink flamingo printed on their wedding invitations. I really embraced the chance to work with a whole different colour palette. Hot pink, turquoise, canary yellow, purple, orange, green, cherry red, ocean blue – whatever makes you smile.
5. Go shopping
You could opt for online if you have the time to allow for posting. But I much prefer browsing the real life shop shelves to find exactly what I’m looking for. And the best places are usually the cheap places. And supermarkets. They are on the ball with stocking what’s on trend and there’s an abundance of tropical themed party ideas at the moment. I bought most of my decorations from Home Bargains and my favourite find (possibly of the year so far) are these amazing lightbulb glasses! They come in lots of different colours and were 69p each!!
6. Dress your table
This truly is the fun bit. I could have gone crazy but Dave made the excellent point of stating that it was supposed to be a sophisticated dinner party…And Vintage Twee is known for it’s tasteful approach to table décor so I had to rein it in! (no 6ft inflatable palm trees on this occasion…). Instead I created my own food flags for the appetisers in a mixture of brightly coloured card. I also bought some watermelon shaped paper napkins from Tesco (£1.75 for 20) and some cute pineapple and flamingo candles from Home Bargains (£1.99 for 6). But don’t light them til you’re ready – the flamingo looked like a turkey after about 30 seconds of burn time…
Again, this will depend of the type of occasion you are celebrating. Hen parties, birthday parties and larger get togethers can probably warrant the 6ft inflatable palm trees. For our more intimate dinner, I sent Dave to Sainsburys for a large pineapple for our table centrepiece. Add some sunglasses and Pete the Pineapple was born!
8. Add a personal touch with stationery
I only decided to transform the dinner party into a tropical themed party the night before. Night time is often when I get my creative spark and I end up back in the studio until gone midnight playing around with ideas. I designed these place cards and menus for our guests, featuring palm, flamingo and pineapple prints. I used kraft and white card to create these for more of a beachy feel. I also added a pineapple and flamingo cut-out to these chest favour boxes and filled them with an after dinner chocolate. I found some quotes online that suited each of my guest’s personalities and attached them to inside of their favour box for a personal touch.
9. Party Playlist
Dave put this together for me in about 5 minutes. We had a mix of classics and modern tunes that made us think of holidays and exotic places. The songs won’t give you any street cred but it’s not about being cool. Otherwise you’d be throwing a Vegas themed party instead..
Here’s my top 10 essential tracks for a tropical themed party playlist! Ssssh…don’t tell anyone..
Club Tropicana – Wham
Mysterious Girl – Peter Andre
Copa Cabana – Barry Manilow
Pon de Replay – Rihanna
Turn Me On – Kevin Lyttle
3 Little Birds – Bob Marley
Hips Don’t Lie – Shakira
Maria, Maria – Santana
Livin La Vida Loca
Kingston Town – UB40
10. It’s all in the details
A good party is a memorable one. I always try and go the extra mile when I’m hosting an event to make the whole experience special. It can be time consuming and your neighbours may think you’re a bit strange with a sign on your door saying ‘Aloha!’. But for me, it’s those little details that make it special. And it’s always worth it when you see the joy on everyone’s face when they see what you have done for them. I even made homemade leis for the ladies at our table…
So there you have it! Stick a flower in your hair, embrace this year’s summer trend and host your very own tropical themed party! And if you need any help, you know who to call… 🙂 Love Joanne xxx