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Style Tips for a Delightfully Nautical Garden Party
Use a mix of vintage elements and bright, modern colors, for a look that is fresh and unexpected. 
Written and photographed by Jickie Torres
Produced by Diane Sedo
Styled by by Jickie Torres and Diane Sedo

Few things capture the summer spirit better than the classic nautical motif. From the cherry-red and navy-blue color palette to the whimsy of stars and shells in all shapes and sizes, this timeless look reflects nostalgia for the ’50s. It gives any party a retro flair, while at the same time cultivating a perfectly preppy style that is effortlessly modern.

To get the look for this simple and sweet garden party, we turned to a mix of vintage flair and crafty fun. Upgrade store-bought décor and boxed recipes with small touches that feel handmade and special.

With this combo of fast fixes and special elements, your festive occasion comes together in just a few hours.


Shell Centerpiece

A lantern with rope handles by Two’s Company stands in as a centerpiece vase for our table. Place shells at the bottom of the vase for an elegant surprise touch.

Sailboat Cupcakes

Get this recipe for a cute dessert that’s ready to take on the seven seas!

Brownie Bites

Better Brownie Bites

How to take boxed brownie mix to the next level? Cut your brownies into bite-sized servings and place them in candy cups to make serving a breeze. Then top off the look with ribbon flags. Use wooden dowels (or we used coffee stirrers!) cut to size for a flagpole. Blue grosgrain ribbon with white stitching is the perfect complement. Simply trim the ribbons to size and then notch them at the end. Affix the ribbons to the sticks with a glue gun.

Ice Cubes

Ice Cube Boats!

Make a splash with these ice cubes bedecked with little sails of their own.

How to Do It:

Fill an ice cube tray with water and cover the tray with aluminum foil. Create paper sails using toothpicks and the method explained in the cupcake recipe. Poke the toothpicks through the foil, trying to center each sail in an ice cube. Let them freeze overnight. For easy serving, prerelease your ice cubes before the party and store them in a container in the freezer.

Sand Dollar Cookies

Sand Dollar Cookies

Upgrade store-bought sugar cookie dough: Sprinkle your cookies with raw sugar before baking for a sandy look. Almond slices arranged in the center create a classic shell impression.

The full version of this article appeared on pages 122-126 of the August/September 2014 issue of Cottages & Bungalows (Vol. 8, Issue 4) with the title “Anchors Aweigh.”

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