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Ahoy! Party guests will have a sailin’ good time with a nautical themed 4th of July party! I’m thrilled to share this party theme I planned for family and friends that is perfect “from sea to shining sea”.
I’ve lived near the Pacific Ocean for most of my life so I have a great love for all things nautical.
I couldn’t wait to plan an event around their designs when Maureen, of Anders Ruff Custom Designs, introduced me to their festive Nautical 4th of July invitation and coordinating printable collection.
While I planned this as a backyard 4th of July celebration, it would also work well for any nautical or patriotic themed event. Finding fun props, decorations and coordinating treats like nautical flag cupcakes, was a breeze with nautical parties being such a popular party trend right now.
I hope you will love this land and sea party adventure, beautifully captured by photographer Rochelle Pettingill.
- Get excited about planning your own 4th of July party after checking out these 13 recipe and craft ideas for the 4th of July!
- Get more patriotic inspiration from all of these creative 4th of July party ideas.
- Get ready for the celebration with these July 4th Decoration Ideas That Wow.
New England towns are famous for their gorgeous harbors and quaint living.
I wanted the design concept for this party to imitate and celebrate what you’d find in a New England ocean front vacation home, but with a patriotic twist; wooden ships, anchors, nautical flags, lanterns, and more.
Much of my design inspiration and color palette originated with the printable party décor, but my styling was also inspired by the colorful nautical products I already had around my house plus fun products I received from companies I was privileged to work with.
If you follow my Banner Events party styling, you know that one of my favorite parts of any event is deciding on the dessert table concept. I love making the dessert table a focal point of my events; is this related to my own sweet tooth?!
One of the ways I achieve this is creating interest with a dessert table backdrop. In my styling, a center statement piece must capture the guests attention.
For this nautical themed party, I was pleased to work with the amazing Lauren, of Ten23Designs. I commissioned her to customize several laser-cut wood designs: the large AHOY letters and the wood garland of anchors, paddles and captain’s wheels, that I used on the front of my table.
They arrived ready to paint, no sanding needed, which made them so easy to transform into the impressive garland.
I used coordinating DecoArt acrylic paints, so I was able to quickly assemble the design elements for the backdrop and table. I also used DecoArt paint on the boat shelf that held my cupcakes so everything was coordinated.
Paint is an inexpensive, simple way to readily transform what you already have so it perfectly matches your current party color palette.
I printed, cut and strung two sets of nautical pennant flags onto twine and crisscrossed them on my bead board background to add color and interest. (TIP: You can purchase 4′ x 8′ bead board inexpensively and reuse it. Mine was cut down to 4′ x 6′.)
I hung the AHOY signs using fishing line I taped to the back of the bead board. My backdrop was flanked with festive star balloons from Party On! Designs.
Scalloped, navy treat boxes, with vinyl accents from Ten23Designs, were part of the dessert display. Mine were filled with both buttered and caramel popcorn and accessorized with glittered swizzle sticks from Party On! Designs, topped with printable flags. Everyone loves popcorn!
Designs by SK made the delicious cupcakes and the adorable, custom fondant, nautical flag toppers. I loved how they looked in striped cupcake wrappers. They made an enticing display on the shelves of my wooden boat.
Displaying a variety of tempting desserts was paramount, but of course displaying them creatively was of the utmost importance to me.
Pie is one of my personal dessert favorites; aren’t these mini pies cute? Peach, apple, blueberry, and cherry pies were spruced up with more party flags attached to wooden toothpicks.
What’s more “all-American” than pie?!
My very favorite pie is this strawberry tart made by my mom (it has more of a sugar cookie crust vs a traditional pastry crust). Doesn’t it look cute with little nautical flags?
Rice Krispy treats are no fuss and kids always love them! They are easy to embellish with these festive sparkle sticks by Made by a Princess.
Red, white and blue macarons are a must if you love macarons like I do! I also used classic white trays to display a few store bought favorites.
Candy and sweets are always a party favorite. I included cute crab lollipops on our table as well as sweet treat boxes filled with salt water taffy.
(Tip: For custom treat boxes I repurposed fry boxes, added cute nautical labels and then made paper rosettes from sturdy, textured cardstock. I also used the same boxes as chip containers on our food table.)
Firecracker gumball favor tubes were a hit, especially with the kids (thank you for the inspiration Giggles Galore). These were a quick DIY with a few scissor cuts and dabs of hot glue.
The favor tubes and gumballs from Katarina’s Paperie, 4th of July ribbon from Ribbon Revelry, plus sparkle garland in red, white and blue, made an easy-to-do favor.
Because man cannot live by dessert alone, I also set up colorful nautical themed beverage and food tables.
A printable nautical banner spruced up the beverage table. A red fish net, DIY wood display stands and printable beverage wraps transformed our soda and water for thirsty sailors.
To accommodate all of the different sides, salads and condiments that go along with a great BBQ, I added layers to the food table.
The DIY wooden stands housed rope handled baskets which were filled to the brim with individual chip containers and buns.
The galvanized three-tiered stand reminded me of the crow’s nest on a ship; it was perfect for displaying a beautiful variety of summer salads.
I loved displaying baked beans in individual lidded cups with twine and decorative circle toppers; functional can be festive.
Rain isn’t uncommon in Seattle on the 4th, but we lucked out with the perfect summer day for our party so we were fortunate to be able to set up outdoors.
Beautiful tablecloths dressed the tables, along with rustic remnants of burlap, and blue mason jars were filled with vibrant red and white flowers. I wanted EACH table setting to be colorful!
Red placemats were paired with colorful layered tableware and patriotic napkins from Petite Party Studio.
I love the gorgeous farm-stand milk bottles. I decorated them with beverage wraps and cute striped party straws and printable party flags.
Mini treat cups were filled with colorful gummy treats and taffy.
Each place setting was flanked by an embellished set of sparklers and a tin pail overflowing with snaps, treats, and wooden utensils (Katarina’s Paperie).
Of course the pails were decorated; I used cute printable labels and tags, a wood anchor and I topped it all off with coordinating ribbon and jute.
Kids and adults enjoyed water balloons, lawn games and a bike parade. Having s’mores kits already assembled for our party made our traditional s’mores roast an easy and fun end to the night.
If you love this nautical themed 4th of July party, be sure to check out more of my party ideas on my Banner Events Facebook page.
Plan a nautical themed 4th of July party with these party supplies:
(Amazon Affiliate Links)
- Cupcake and Dessert Tower
- Classic American Flag
- Hanging Candle Holder Lantern
- Wooden Boxes & Crates
- Blooming Hydrangea
- Ball Pint Jars
- Patriotic Paper Fan Bunting
- US Flag Cupcake Picks
- Star Cutouts
- Patriotic Pennant Banner
- Patriotic Americana Table Setting Pack
- Fourth of July Picnic Party Pack
Be sure to check out more nautical party ideas here.
- 15 4th of July Party Ideas
- A Patriotic Fourth of July Party