Creative Ideas for a Tropical Theme Cocktail Party

With summer in full swing, it’s the perfect time to host a get together with a tropical twist. I can’t wait to share these fun and creative ideas for a tropical theme cocktail party with you!

It’s tablescape day for my dinner club and we’re hosting a tropical theme cocktail party.

I had so much fun thinking of things I had on hand to pull together a fun table for serving cocktails and appetizers.

Let’s get started with all of the details and creative ideas for a tropical theme cocktail party!

large seashell filled with ice for drinks stack of bamboo plates tropical fruit scattered

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how to decorate with a tropical theme

First, I started by thinking of all of the tropical type decor I already had on hand that I could use for my cocktail party table.

I had previously hosted a tropical theme bridal shower and also created a luau theme tablescape last year.

If you missed my elegant luau tablescape, you can see all of the details here.

overhead view of luau themed place setting bamboo placemat with white dinner plate smaller white plate with gold rim and small square bamboo plate stacked on top gold fork resting on left side of plate gold knife resting on right side of plate and white napkin with rope and seashell napkin ring to right of plate "runner" of small seashells at top of plate

The grass hula skirts I had used for a table skirt, I knew would be perfect for my tropical cocktail table along with some other decor I had saved up.

luau themed table set up in backyard natural grass skirt all around table base woven parsons chairs with white lei draped across chair back gold bar over table with trumpet vine all across it and over table fishing net down center of table with small seashells runner on top 4 place settings with bamboo placemat white dinner plate smaller white plate with gold rim and small square bamboo plate stacked on top
last year’s luau themed tablescape

I wanted to host my cocktail party outside and I have a small dining table on my front porch that I thought would be perfect.

It wasn’t quite as much space as I needed, so I brought a small round table from inside the house and pulled it up right beside the small rectangle dining table.

I strung the grass skirts along the glass top rectangle table and just taped them onto the table top.

Next, I used a fishing net, to drape across the small round table. This was an inexpensive element I had ordered for the tropical theme shower I helped host.

A sweet friend let me borrow a huge seashell bowl and it was perfect for icing down drinks and really made a statement on the round table for a tropical party.

I placed stacks of appetizer plates beside the large seashell.

large seashell filled with ice and bottled drinks

Small square bamboo plates left over from the shower along with seashell appetizer plates I picked up at a thrift store a while back were perfect for this theme and for small bites for a cocktail party.

A friend also let me borrow her bamboo handle silverware which was placed inside a white vase for a casual display and also easy for guests to grab.

white vase filled with bamboo handle silverware

Linen napkins with a seashell embellished napkin ring were also stacked on this table. More about those napkin rings coming later in the post.

On the larger table with the grass skirts, I stacked a few wooden boxes/crates to create some different heights on one end of the table, and placed a couple of wooden boards randomly on the table.

The wood tones add some texture and earthiness to my tablescape.

I made a pineapple and rosemary infused water and served in a beverage jar on a woven stand. This was placed on the other end of the table.

The woven stand adds to the tropical feel of this table, and the pineapple slices in the water are another element of the tropics.

beverage jar on woven stand filled with pineapple and rosemary water pineapple beside jar

A few faux tropical leaves I picked up on sale at the craft store were tucked in here and there on the two tables and added nicely to the theme.

I cut a few branches from my trumpet vine that is going crazy right now. The bright orange flowers were the perfect addition to my tables.

A beautiful bright colored arrangement of fresh flowers was placed on each of the tables. I have to admit that I attended a brunch earlier in the week and a friend that hosted graciously sent the flower arrangements home with me.

However, these could easily be created with bundles of grocery store flowers without blowing the budget. And better yet, if you have flowers growing in your own yard, you could mix a few in and make your flower bundles go even farther.

finishing touches – “it’s all about the details”

Fresh fruit, including grapefruit, oranges, lemons, kiwi, mango and pineapples were placed randomly among the tables to finish off this tropical theme.

tropical theme cocktail party table set up wooden crates stacked with tropical fruits and oranges, mangos, and pineapple scattered around and a bright colorful flower arrangement

And, I think, what made the biggest impact were some seashells from a collection I’ve had for years.

I used a couple of larger ones, and also added groupings of smaller shells here and there on the tables.

Nothing says “beachy” and “tropical” quite like seashells and tropical fruits.

Small details can make a big impact and can still be budget friendly.

The best thing about these ideas is they could also be used for a Hawaiian party, beach party, or a birthday party if you are wanting a tropical vibe.

Another great idea, if you are purchasing a lot of tropical fruits for your decor, is to use them as party favors for your guests. This is a great way to make sure the fruit doesn’t go to waste and it will be a fun treat for your guests.  

diy tropical theme party decorations

I created these cute and easy seashell embellished napkin rings for a luau themed tablescape last year.

You only need three supplies and you won’t believe what the base of these napkin rings are.

They are super easy to make and so inexpensive to create.

coastal napkin ring with white rope and small seashell on top of rope with white napkin pulled through napkin ring sitting on bamboo placemat

other ideas for a coastal/tropical decorations

Here is a list of a few other ideas for decor items to go with a beach, coastal or tropical theme party….

Potted palm trees
Fresh Tropical Flowers – Hibiscus Flowers, Bougainvillea, or Plumeria
Tropical Plants
Flower Leis
Palm Fronds
Tiki Torches
Paper Lanterns in bright colors
And if you really want to take it to the next level, set up a tiki bar, have some live music and set up a dance floor!

what to serve at a cocktail party

Of course, you will want a variety of drinks and cocktails at your party.

A couple of different shapes and sizes of cocktail glasses were placed on my table set up.

This way the party guests can grab whatever type of glass works with their drink of choice.

As I mentioned earlier, I made a pineapple and rosemary infused water, which will be great for a non-alcoholic drink choice.

I also iced down bottles of Topo Chico which is another great non-alcoholic drink option.

These are delicious served with a slice of lemon, lime, orange or even grapefruit.

It is also a great drink mixer for some cocktails, so these are a perfect option for a cocktail party.

The sky is the limit with what drinks to serve at your cocktail party.

You can certainly place lots of liquor options and mixers out for a self serve cocktail bar.

Or, decide on a couple of signature or custom cocktails and just have the ingredients for those. This will keep it simple and budget friendly.

If you’re looking for a few delicious and fruity cocktails, you might like this refreshing sparkling grapefruit cocktail or this pineapple basil cocktail.

Some other great tropical drinks are piƱa coladas, mai tais or a rum punch.

As far as the food goes, I used the small seashell appetizer plates and some wooden boards randomly placed on my tables where I can place small bites and finger foods here and there all along my tables. Sort of like an unstructured buffet table.

My dinner club has some great recipes for you this week including easy coconut shrimp, pineapple chicken salad in phyllo cups and mini tropical trifles which would all be perfect for a tropical theme cocktail party.

Also, I created a large tropical theme grazing/charcuterie board that will be the center of attention on my cocktail table.

It was so fun to create and I can’t wait to share it with you on Saturday!

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing some creative ideas for a tropical theme cocktail party and found some inspiration here!

blessings and happy summer,

michele signature

Be sure and follow the links below each photo to see all of my friends tropical table ideas…

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large seashell with drinks iced down stack of bamboo plates stack of seashell plates tropical fruits scattered for a tropical theme party pinterest graphic

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  1. I love these ideas. Every detail is perfection.

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words Renae! I really appreciate that!

  2. Your tables look beautiful and so inviting. Anybody would be so happy to be at your party! It is all perfect. Love love the fishnet

  3. Michele what a colorful and fun table you have created! That large sea shell caught my eye! Wow now I think I need one! Thanks for having me this month for supper club, wish we could all visit each other in person!

    1. Thanks so much Kelly! So glad you could join us, and yes I really wish we could get together in person too!

  4. Another gorgeous table design this month Michele. That giant sea shell is perfect as a spot for bottled drinks. Every detail is well thought out and perfect. Love it all!

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words! I love that giant seashell too. I’m now on the look out for one of my own.

  5. Michele i love all of your table decor ideas. The fishnet looks so good too! Love that!

    1. Thanks so much Stacy! It was really fun to put this one together.

  6. Michele,

    I am always so amazed by your creative and beautiful tablescapes. This might be one of my favorites! Pinned!

    1. Thank you so much Jen! I’m so glad you liked it and I really appreciate that!

    1. Thanks so much Rachel! This was a fun theme for summer.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing my tropical cocktail party table. I love all of the projects you shared and especially the cute basket you embellished with seashells. So cute and creative!

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