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Tropical Theme Parties

Jaynie has extensive experience with party and event planning. She has planned events for groups of 20 to 600 people.

Tiki Bar

Tiki Bar

Planning Your Tropical Theme Party

There are two things that just about everyone loves: a good party and a beach vacation. Why not combine the two and host a lively, fun tropical theme party? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

The Invitation

A creative invitation is your calling card. Done right, the invitation should pique your guest’s interest and have them anxious to attend what promises to be the social event of the season.

You can put a new twist on the traditional paper invitation by printing your invite onto heavy card stock. Light blue is best because it conjures up images of a clear blue sky and a refreshing ocean. Add some flare by hot gluing small shells around the perimeter or spread glue stick in wavy patterns over the bottom of the invite and sprinkle sand over it to create a beach right there on the invite!

If you’re thinking about something less traditional and more memorable, how about attaching small invitations to a variety of objects that inspire thoughts of the beach such as a pair of black plastic sun glasses, a large seashell, a small bottle of sand, or a bottle of sunscreen? You might even try handwriting the details of your even in permanent marker on a flip flop.

Invite your guests to get into the spirit by wearing fun summer attire such as Hawaiian shirts and shorts, bathing suits or grass skirts!

Setting the Scene

You can get scene-setters at most party stores and they really help to create a more authentic, fun vibe. Look for scenes including palm trees, the ocean, and hula dancers. If you are going for a whimsical feel, try incorporating random props that guests can be encouraged to play with such as beach balls, inflatable palm trees and hula hoops. And no party is complete without a tiki bar. This will serve as the hub of activity for adults. Tiki bars can be found at most party supply rental companies such as A to Z Rentall.

Your music should also help reinforce the theme. Choosing music such as reggae, calypso, traditional Hawaiian and, of course, Jimmy Buffet, will help transport guests to the beach.

If you plan your party to be going strong after dark, be sure there are plenty of tiki torches filled with citronella to help cut down on mosquitos and add to the ambience. You can also create a festive evening atmosphere by hanging white lights and paper lanterns across the yard. Be sure to include lots of candles in colorful votives for extra flare.

Food and Beverages

Traditional island foods are fun and festive. Consider having a pig roast! The meat is delicious and plentiful and the roast will give your guests something to talk about! If that is too ambitious for your budget, offer pulled pork sandwiches or grilled meat and veggie kebabs. Your table should also include lots of fresh fruits. Try skewering tropical fruit kebabs onto cocktail umbrellas for a fun twist. Corn roasts and fresh salads might top off your menu of healthy, summer fare.

Your beverages can be served at the tiki bar and might include blended drinks such as daiquiris, margaritas or pina coladas. You may also offer hawaiian punch or lemonade for those that prefer non-alcoholic drinks. For a fun flare, try serving drinks from coconut shell glasses or in punch cups with colorful umbrellas.

Pig Roast

Pig Roast


Some hosts prefer a party that evolves on its own, but most know that in order to inspire everyone to have a good time, it is wise to have at least a couple planned activities.

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When guests arrive, have someone there to greet them with a tropical cocktail (offer a choice between alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and a tropical lei. As they enter the party area they will be greeted by the sounds of reggae, limbo dancing, and volleyball. Perhaps they’ll belly up to the tiki bar for another cocktail and conversation. Set up a horseshoe pit and have Frisbees available so that guests can play at their leisure. By simply having options, the party will evolve on its own, allowing everyone, including the host, to simply relax and have fun.

If you really want to go all out, consider hiring someone to offer hula lessons!

Set up a photo booth with scene-setters in the background and take pictures of your guests. Printing and distributing them later is a great way to commemorate the event.

If you’re having children at the party, adding a few extra activities such as making their own leis, or decorating their own bandanas will keep them happily occupied. Cheap bandanas (about $1.00 each) can be found at many party supply stores, along with fabric paints and stencils.

If you have a pool, you've got the most important activity covered without added work or expense. If not, considering renting an inflatable water slide and pool, complete with inflatable palm trees. Even the adults will have fun with this activity!

Enjoy your party!

Tropical Water Slide

Tropical Water Slide

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© 2013 Jaynie2000


Jaynie2000 (author) on May 26, 2013:

Great! Have fun!

Gordon Hamilton from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on May 25, 2013:

Hi, Jaynie!

Love the photos and ideas. It's over 4 years since I had a vacation (holiday as I would call it) and in fact since I had more than two consecutive days off, so weather permitting, I might well give your ideas a try :)

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