The whole party started with an invitation I designed in PrintShop. As with most of my party invites, I used the large box of blank cards (with envelopes) available at Target ($9.99 for 50). My daughter wanted the oh-so-trendy nautical theme with a monogram in hot pink and navy blue. I downloaded a free copy of Ballerina Script and Little Lord Fonteroy from dafont.com, and found a free anchor clip art online. And, since I needed invites for two separate parties, I simply changed the time information leaving everything else the same.
For the finishing touch on the envelopes she was hand delivering, I addressed the envelopes for her school friends on my Cricut machine in metallic gold ink.
Decorations came next. Knowing my daughter wanted her parties outside, we did the set-up on our back patio. I strung up some large white Christmas lights off two corners of the house and joined them on a wood post I positioned in the far center of the patio in an old galvanized drink dispenser (held in place with some bricks and gravel). I embellished the raw wood post with Dollar Store white lanterns hung at varying heights, shell necklaces and some small pink anchors ($0.50 at JoAnn's). Hopefully, one of my guests took a picture that I can share at some point, because I didn't! For the food and drink tables, I made some little square tablecloths using an anchor print fabric from JoAnn's and hot pink seam binding tape. As for the flower vases, I had found two wine bottle bags with anchors at my local Marshall's store and just slid a couple wine carafes inside and filled them with flowers from my yard. A hot pink doll adirondack chair and a huge monogram M finished off the tables. All of Maria's friends signed the M with metallic gold sharpie to make it a keepsake to hang in her room.
So onto the food...I purposely held the parties outside regular meal times so that I could just serve light snacks and desserts. For snacks, I assembled a popcorn based snack mix (popcorn, pink & white animal cookies, mini-marshmallows, mini Nilla wafers), a vegetable tray, watermelon wedges, "Cowboy Caviar" with chips, peanuts in the shell and a jar of red vines (to tie in the nautical rope idea). To make it feel like a seaside clam bake, most everything was served in large pots with scoops, and colanders lined with waxed paper for the rest. To keep the drinks simple as well, soda was put in large galvanized buckets, and old-fashioned lemonade was given a ocean blue twist using Kool Aide mix (add a little extra sugar, cause that stuff is tart!)
For dessert, frosted anchor and star shaped sugar cookies using two recipes (one for cookies and one for royal icing) from the site Sweetopia, cupcakes with piped anchor decorations sprinkled with pearl nonpareils, and a small cake to hold the giant "16" birthday candles.
Lastly, the favors...salt water taffy in small glassine bags with a tag made to match the invites. I formatted them as you would a business card to fit lots on a page when printing.
That wraps it up, and I hope you found some ideas to use at your next party, nautical or otherwise, to make it memorable.
Thanks for sailing by!