Adult Parties Summer Decor

Chic & Inexpensive Nautical Dinner Party

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When my husband wanted to invite his networking group friends over during the summer, we jumped at a chance to create a beautiful nautical themed dinner party. 

Why You Should Consider a Nautical Dinner Party

nautical centerpiece

1- It’s inexpensive.

Believe it or not, we purchased a lot of the decor at Dollar Tree! Here are all the coastal themed elements you can find at your local dollar store:

  • Fish net
  • Rope
  • Mini glass bottles
  • Starfish and shell decor
  • Sand
  • Candles
  • Wooden boats
  • Flat wooden nautical ornaments
  • Straws
  • Mason jars
  • White plates
  • Lifesaver candies
  • Dessert cups
  • Silver charges
rope candles

More Summer Tablescapes:

2 – DIY Nautical Decor

This adult dinner party really came together with some of the DIY projects. We make a gorgeous candle holder centerpiece from old wine bottles. We also spray-painted wine bottles blue and used them as flower vases. Finally, we used brown craft paper to create a gorgeous custom runner design.

blue and white centerpieces

3 – Great for any setting.

What’s great about this classic theme is that you can use it anywhere. On a boat, in a beach house on vacation, in your backyard, or even in your dining room. This indoor nautical tablescape will still impress your family and friends.

To begin this beautiful nautical tablescape, all you need is a white runner and a decorative fishnet. Tie the ends of the runner with rope.

nautical rope on tablecloth

PIN to access this summer!

ALSO GREAT FOR SUMMER: DIY Tutorial: Simple Wine-Themed Centerpiece

Wine Bottle Coastal Centerpiece

Wine Bottle Candle Holders

This gorgeous wine bottle centerpiece is one of our favorite elements on the table. The base is actually two galvanized trays stacked on top of each other. First a flat dessert tray and then a deep tray. This will hold the 3 wine bottles and let us add seashells and starfish in the between to fill in the holes. 

DIY coastal centerpiece

Simply wrap the wine bottles in craft rope you can get online or at the dollar store. Insert candlesticks into the top of the wine bottles. You might have to shave the bottom of the candlesticks a bit to get them to fit into the bottle opening. This is a simple and easy way to upcycle used bottles.

DIY coastal centerpiece

Nautical Wine Bottle Flower Vases

On each side of the galvanized tray, we added these beautiful blue wine bottle vases. We simply spray-painted two wine bottles navy blue. Then we added a little bit of cotton twine and finished it off with wood anchors also from the Dollar Tree. You can find these in the craft aisle. Finish it off with fresh flowers from the garden. 

DIY wine bottle craft
DIY wine bottle craft

Around the centerpiece, we added decorative candles and really cute sailboats from the toy section at Dollar Tree.

wooden boats

ALSO GREAT FOR SUMMER: Elegant Indoor Tropical Dinner Party

Coastal Table Setting Ideas

DIY Rope Placemat, Napkin Rings, and Drink Coasters

We ordered a large batch of rope and made our own rope themed items for the place setting.

First, the placemat. In order to put this round placemat together, we used a vinyl placemat from Dollar Tree. Use a small plate to trace a 9” circle on the placemat. This will serve as the base to the rope.

DIY rope placemat

Starting in the middle, hot glue the craft rope around until it covers the circle and continues past the vinyl until you can no longer see it.

DIY rope placemat

Do the same process for the coasters but a much smaller circle – about 4-5 inches.

Finally, to make the napkin rings, wrap the rope around itself 2-3 times. Use a napkin to measure the diameter and make sure the napkin fits.

blue and white place setting

Once you have made these elements, layer on white and blue plates onto the placemat. Thread the napkin and the utensils through the napkin ring and finalize with a nautical wooden ornament.

blue and white place setting

If you decide not to go with the rope themed placemats, you can also use silver chargers as a base. 

blue and white place setting

Message in a Bottle Straws

We found these mini glass bottles at Dollar Tree and knew we had to incorporate them into the theme somehow. We ended up hot gluing one onto each straw. 

seashell coaster
message in a bottle

Nautical Themed Drink Station

By the wine bar, we created this mini drink station. Simply add mason jars onto the tray. Decorate the mason jar with a cute candy lifesaver that you tie around with twine. A double drink dispenser held water and lemonade with fresh blueberries.

dinner party drinks
mason jars

Nautical Brown Paper Scroll

Our favorite DIY nautical decor element was this brown paper scroll we used as a countertop runner. We have seen these amazing paper scroll projects all over Pinterest and this was the perfect occasion to incorporate it into the decor since it matched the color of the rope.

life is better on a boat sign

Here we decided to use it as a runner. We let it roll off the side of the counter. Since Danny is an artist, she hand drew this “Life is Better on the Boat” sign.

life is better on a boat sign

Nautical Party Food You can Put Together in Minutes

DIY Coastal Dessert Table

I have a lot of space in my dining room but not a lot of furniture. We thought it would be fun to create a separate area to display the desserts ahead of time since we had so many cute desserts to match the nautical theme. 

dessert table

We took two stools and layered on wooden crates. On top of that we added a long white shelf that we actually use as serving boards. And instantly we had a little make-shift table! 

Sail away sign

We added more netting to the top, more of the DIY nautical wine bottles, and a pretty wooden sign that said “Sail Away”. Finally, we added pretty lanterns to the floor.

Boat Themed Food Ideas

You can’t have a nautical-themed party with super cute boat-shaped food! It’s so easy. All you need to make is a bunch of these paper sails on toothpicks. Then add it to ANY dessert. 

Sail away sign

Berry Parfait

Dollar Tree has an amazing array of partyware that you can use to create beautiful mini desserts. We grabbed these square cups and made a sweet berry parfait. Simply layer on yogurt and granola. The top layer is fresh blueberries to match the blue and white theme. Add a paper sail to the top.


Cantaloupe Boats

These cantaloupe boats are super easy to make. Simply cut out 1-2 inch thick slices and add a paper sail. 


Bite-Sized Brownies

We make these brownie bites for so many parties because they are so easy to display. Top with confectioner’s sugar and yes, you guessed it, a paper sail!

brownie bites

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DIY Nautical Party Banner

Since we were welcoming friends from a networking group, we made this pretty nautical banner. We took a few red and blue patterned pieces of paper and cut them into large 8” tall triangles. The letters were all red. We used a few separator panels with a boat, a lifesaver, and an anchor.

nautical banner
nautical banner
nautical banner

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