Even if there are no plans to head out to Hawaii or the Caribbean, it is still possible to import the feel of the tropics to a wedding reception in the city or right in one’s hometown. The look normally associated with weddings at an island resort can be recreated with stylish place settings—from tableware, to silverware, to flowers, to favors. All it takes is an eye for what makes the tropics “tropical”.
Select a Tropical-inspired Color Palette
Orange, yellow, and neon green aren’t the only colors for creating a palette suggestive of the tropics. More subdued hues like purple, green, and chocolate brown can be used as the main colors of the palette—anchoring the look for the table display while redefining the stereotypical tropical celebration.
When combined, purple, green, and chocolate brown are a visually powerful mix that is best tempered by a neutral color like ivory or beige. Alternatively, pale shades of pink or yellow may also be used to counterbalance this color palette. These both please the eye and enliven the table setting.
Echo These Colors in the Table Display
The table display is a natural focal point for establishing the occasion’s color palette. An ivory tablecloth provides the ideal canvas for the tropical table setting, as its neutral hue heightens the rich colors of the display.
A plate charger made of dark rattan adds interesting texture to the table, and is a perfect match for a chocolate brown placemat underneath. As a brighter option, a pure white porcelain plate with a gold border or a clear plate charger may be used. Both lend an equally elegant quality to the place setting. On each plate, a table napkin in a creamy tan or mustard color complements the surrounding browns. Gold organza ribbon holds the silverware together in a pretty bow; with the sheen and color of the ribbon enlivening the otherwise subdued place setting. A single purple orchid at each setting adds a final splash of color plus that authentic tropical look.
Choose Flowers in Vivid Hues
Tropical blooms in bold colors like purple or fuchsia serve as the natural highlight—literally and visually—of the table display. They bring instant freshness and vitality to each table. Purple dendrobium orchids, plumerias, and hibiscus are gorgeous, showy flowers that add a dynamic element to any arrangement. They may be placed in straw baskets and displayed as centerpieces or, as single blooms, they can serve as charming accents for each plate.
Flowers may also be used to adorn each reception chair. A single fresh flower tied with a welcome note may greet each guest as he or she comes to the table. Alternatively, blooms may be tucked within the folds of the table napkin at each place setting, or used to decorate the guest favors as part of the table décor.
Showcase Seaside Favors
In keeping with the tropical theme, favors should ideally echo the feel of a visit to the sea. A quaint card holder made of seashells, for instance, plays its part as a decorative table accent, then serves as a memento for guests to take home. Photographs of the occasion or a special note of thanks give these keepsakes a personal touch.
It is possible to recreate the ambiance of a tropical setting in a wedding party, even if the venue is neither a romantic island nor a golden sandy beach. Taking cues from a tropical island setting, however, goes far beyond using overly bright colors and gaudy, stereotypical decor. A more contemporary take on “tropical” uses an unusual mix of hues and tasteful decorative elements with elegant results.