We have another all-the-rage nautical party for you just in time for the 4th of July! Perfect for a gathering of friends or family or both, and complete with all the fun red, white, and blue DIYs you could ask for, this party will surely set off fireworks! Jen Carver from Banner Events gives us the low down on all the elements that made this 4th of July soiree a super sparkling and design savvy celebration:
Ahoy there! I am to share a party theme perfect “from sea to shining sea”. We invited our family & a couple of friends to join our “Carver Crew” for a sailin’ good time at a nautical inspired 4th of July party! Having lived near the Pacific Ocean for a large portion of my life, I have always had an obsession for all things nautical. When Maureen of Anders Ruff Custom Designs introduced me to their festive Nautical 4th of July invitation and coordinating printable collection, I couldn’t wait to style an event around their designs.
I wanted the overall design & décor of our event to celebrate & mimic what you’d find in a New England ocean front vacation home, but with a patriotic twist– nautical flags, wooden ships, lanterns, anchors, life preservers, rope handled baskets, shells, metal pails, glass bottles, buoys, wooden crates & fish nets. Much of the design inspiration and color palette of cherry red, white and various shades of blue came from Ander’s Ruff’s nautical printables themselves, but my styling was also inspired by some of the colorful nautical products I already had around my house & some fun products sent from companies I was privileged to work with for this event.
For this event, I was fortunate to work with the amazing Lauren of Ten23Designs . I commissioned her to custom craft several laser cut wood designs, including the large AHOY letters and the wood garland on the front of my table. They came ready to paint (no sanding needed) and were so easy to transform into something impressive. Using coordinating colors of DecoArt acrylic paints, I was quickly able to assemble these design elements for my table and backdrop. I also used the paint on the boat shelf that housed my cupcakes so everything would coordinate. Paint is a simple, inexpensive way to quickly transform things you already have at home to perfectly match your current party color palette.
To add some color and interest, I printed, cut & strung two sets of Anders Ruff’s nautical pennant flags (included in their printable package) onto some twine and criss-crossed them on my bead board background. (TIP: You can purchase 8′ x 4′ bead board from Home Depot inexpensively and reuse it time and again. They will even cut it down to size for you. Mine was cut down to 6′ x 4′.) I hung the AHOY signs with some fishing line that I taped to the back of my bead board. Our backdrop was flanked on each side with festive star balloons from Party On! Designs.
We lucked out with the perfect summer day for our party and were fortunate to be able to set-up outdoors. (Rain isn’t uncommon in Seattle on the 4th.) Tables were dressed with beautiful tablecloths, rustic remnants of burlap, and blue mason jars filled with vibrant red & white flowers.
I wanted each table setting to be colorful and fun. I paired red placemats with colorful layered partyware and red patriotic napkins from Petite Party Studio. Gorgeous farm stand milk bottles from Red Mill Farm were adorned with beverage wraps and accented with a cute striped party straw and printable party flag. Mini treat cups filled with colorful gummy treats & taffy sat at each place to hold off each guests sweet tooth. Each place setting was flanked on the right by an embellished set of sparklers and on the left with a tin pail filled to the brim with snaps, treats, and wooden utensils. The pails were decorated with cute printable labels & tags, a wood anchor and topped off with coordinating ribbon and jute from American Crafts!
A big thank you to Great Stitch and Make it Mine Couture for the custom 4th of July shirts, Cupcake Wishes & Birthday Dreams for the pom pom sparkler wands & Designs by SK for the coordinating hairbows!
The kids loved our firecracker gumball favor tubes too. These were a quick DIY, with gumballs & favor tubes from Katarina’s Paperie, 4th of July ribbon from Ribbon Revelry & some red, white & blue sparkle garland from Party City. A few cuts with the scissors & a couple of dabs of hot glue and our firecracker gumballs were ready to party!
Our dessert display included scalloped navy treat boxes from Oriental Trading with vinyl accents from Ten23Designs. We filled ours with butter & caramel popcorn and accessorized them with cute glittered swizzle sticks from Party On! Designs topped off with printable flags from the nautical printable package by Anders Ruff. Who doesn’t love popcorn, right?
Unfortunately, man cannot live by dessert alone (I may have to “test” this…), so we also set up colorful nautical themed food and beverage tables.
I spruced up our beverage table with a printable nautical banner included in the coordinating printable collection by Anders Ruff. The addition of a red fish net from Oriental Trading Company, some DIY wood stands for displaying different beverages & dressing up the various bottles of soda & water with printable beverage wraps from Anders Ruff easily transformed our beverage area for thirsty sailors.
Adding different layers to our food table allowed us to accommodate all of the different sides, salads and condiments that go along with a great BBQ! We used more of our DIY wooden stands to house rope handled baskets filled to the brim with individual chip containers & buns. Our galvanized 3 tiered stand from Pick Your Plum reminded me of the crow’s nest on a ship and was perfect for displaying a beautiful variety of summer salads. We loved displaying our baked beans in individual lidded cups with twine and Anders Ruff circle toppers. Functional can still be festive!
Delicious cupcakes made by Designs by SK were adorned with adorable custom fondant nautical flag toppers by the talented 4 Kids Cakes. I loved displaying them in striped cupcake wrappers from Pick Your Plum on the shelves of our wooden boat. Aren’t these mini pies cute? We spruced up these peach, cherry, apple & blueberry pies with some more Anders Ruff party flags attached to wooden toothpicks. What’s more “American” than pie? Speaking of pie, my very favorite pie is this strawberry tart made especially by my mom. (It’s more of a sugar cookie crust vs. the traditional pastry crust.) Isn’t it cute with its little nautical flags?
The adults and kids enjoyed participating in water balloons, lawn games, a bike parade & the traditional S’mores roast to end the night! We loved having these S’mores kits already assembled for our party.
PARTY GOODS/DECOR: Nautical napkins & plates, nautical pennant garland, nautical table garland, life preservers, popcorn boxes, anchor stir sticks, rope handle baskets, lanterns, starfish: Oriental Trading Company
Acrylic craft paint: DecoArt Inc.
Custom laser cut wood letters & nautical décor (anchors, captain’s wheel, paddles, etc…) & vinyl: Ten23 Designs
Textured cardstock, colored jute, grosgrain ribbon & This to That adhesive: American Crafts
Farm stand milk bottles: Red Mill Farm
Wooden utensils, red paper lanterns, red, white & blue gumball tubes: Katarina’s Paperie
Star balloons, fry boxes, glittered swizzle sticks: Party On! Designs
Red, silver & blue Sparkle Sticks: Made by a Princess
White tablecloths: Wholesale Event Solutions
Striped treat cups, napkins & paper straws: Petite Party Studio
4th of July ribbon: Ribbon Revelry
Custom hair bows: Designs by SK
Custom nautical shirts: Make it Mine Couture
Custom 4th of July firework shirts: Great Stitch
Custom pom wands: Cupcake Wishes & Birthday Dreams