Windy City Novelties

Party Ideas

Windy City Novelties is party planning central! We can provide you with the inspiration and all the right tools to create the ultimate party experience from start to finish.

Set Sail this Spring with a Nautical Themed Party!

Set Sail this Spring with a Nautical Themed Party!


If you have been longing for a breeze that doesn't have a wind chill attached to it, perhaps it's time to think about getting back out on the water. Whether you are planning to get away on a cruise, haul your own boat out of dry dock, or just dreaming of sailing away to some exotic shore, a party with a nautical theme is just what you need to coax the warmer weather out of hiding.

Nautical Themed Decorations and Supplies

Your friends will be charmed to receive a nautical stripes personalized invitation letting them know the date, place, and time the party is going to launch.  Anchor bunches of balloons to life preserver balloon weights and put them on your porch steps or along the walkway.  Place several peel and stick ship portholes on walls around the party room so guests feel like they are looking out at the sea. Ship anchor garland and dangling nautical flag whirls will provide definition to the food area.

Greet people at the door with fun sailor hats.  Go to your local craft store and get a supply of small flags, fake gems, markers, and other trim even grown-up guests will enjoy using to personalize their headgear, then have them cast votes for their favorites.

If you are planning a sit-down dinner, use a white linen cloth and white chairs to make guests feel they are sitting at the captain's table. A less formal table would look great set with a solid blue plastic cover and matching blue skirt.  Whether formal or buffet, use nautical luncheon napkins rolled and tied with a simple rope and knot for a napkin ring.

Food and Beverages

A nautical-themed party needs light and breezy food and beverages.  You might not have a ship to christen, but champagne is always a good choice to get guests in a celebratory mood.  If you are not entertaining the yacht crowd, get a few bottles of a fruity sparkling wine, lemonade, or flavored water. Serve all the bubbly drinks in clear plastic flutes.

Heat frozen bite-sized crab cakes to pass on platters and assemble old-fashioned shrimp cocktails in mini martini glasses for appetizers.  It would be fun if you knew someone willing or could hire a helper to dress in a Love Boat bartender costume to pass around drinks and hors d'oeuvres.

For a truly impressive main course that brings the beach indoors, prepare a stove-top clambake in an oversized stockpot. The layers of onions, garlic, potatoes, chorizo, lobsters, clams, corn, mussels, and shrimp will have guests drooling, which is why you should provide them with disposable lobster bibs.  There are variations on what to include, so go online to find the clambake recipe that sounds best to you. Serve dinner with warm crusty bread and sweet butter.  Melted butter and slices of lemon add a nice touch, especially when served in white sea shell-shaped dipping dishes.

Music and Nautical Tunes

Don't forget to play background music throughout the event.  There are a lot of familiar songs with nautical themes available for purchase or download. Think about “Son of a Son of a Sailor” by Jimmy Buffet, “Sailing” by Christopher Cross, and “Come Sail Away” by Styx.  Inform guests ahead of time to prepare a seaworthy song for a karaoke contest.

If the weather permits, move your guests outside to the patio or deck after dinner to relax around the fire pit.  Have sticks ready with baskets of marshmallows for toasting.  It should not be too difficult to persuade friends to eat just a little bit more when you show off a fabulous blueberry tart. Serve the dessert on 7-inch nautical plates.

Your well-fed guests may be feeling too comfortable to do anything else except socialize, but if they still have energy left to spare, now might be a good time to think about that karaoke contest.

If you are looking for a fun, less strenuous activity, get an instructional book on seafaring knots at the local bookstore or online. Cut lengths of rope and have guests practice tying different types of knots—a skill that might come in handy if they are ever invited out on a real sailing adventure.

So throw on your White Yacht Caps and set sail for a fun nautical themed party with the help of Windy City Novelties!

For tips, questions, help planning an event or for recipe and craft ideas, email our party experts at [email protected] for your personal party planner!

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