10 Tropical Event Themes to Beat the Winter Chill

Gala decorEven if a getaway to a tropical paradise is not in the budget this year, it is still possible to create an experience that gives your guests a break from frosty weather. Fortunately, there are a number of tropical themes that will ensure variety year after year. There is no need to fall into a rut when attempting to fight the February blahs.

While some of these themes have common elements, it is the subtle differences in venues, decor, menus, music, entertainment - and the costumes of the hosts, servers and entertainers - that make the difference. Details pull it all together.

  1. Tahitian Tiki Party:

    Venues: Greenhouses with lush vegetation, waterfall venues, Polynesian cultural Centre
    Decor: Palm trees, Tiki Torches, incorporate coconut shells into centerpieces, idol statues
    Menu: Tropical cocktails like Mai Tais, Tahitian Treat Soft Drink
    Music: Polynesian drummers
    Entertainment: Polynesian or Tahitian dancers (faster than Hawaiian), fire eaters, drummers
    Costumes: headdresses, long grass skirts
  2. Hawaiian Luau:

    Venues: Greenhouses, waterfall venues
    Decor: Palm tree cutouts, whole coconuts
    Menu: Pineapple Chicken, Kalua Pig, Pineapple ham, Poi, Shrimp, Pineapple Punch
    Music: Hawaiian folk music
    Entertainment: Hula dancers, fire dancers, fire eaters, drummers
    Costumes: Floral print shirts for men and dresses for women, leis, short grass skirts
  3. Thai:

    Venues: Venues with a fountain, Thai restaurants, art galleries or museums with Thai collections
    Decor: Bamboo, tropical plants
    Menu: Satay, green curry chicken, Red curry shrimp, Pad Thai
    Music: Piphat, Luk thung
    Entertainment: Candle dancers, pole dancing with long bamboo poles, hand drums
    Costumes: Thai Chitlada
  4. Miami Heat Wave: 

    Venues: Upscale dance clubs with Florida vibe, swimming pool decks
    Decor: Bright pinks, blue and turquoises, pink flamingos, balloon arches
    Menu: Mojitos, grilled lobster, BBQ, grilled steak
    Music: Gloria Estefan
    Entertainment: Salsa, Cuban music
    Costumes: Think Miami Vice
  5. Roman Banquet:

    Venues: Italian banquet halls with Roman decor
    Decor: Columns, archways at entrance, Roman soldiers at the door, torches, vines
    Menu: Cornish hens, lamb, roast chicken, shellfish, olives, grapes, raisins, dates
    Music: Harp music, finger bells
    Entertainment: MC with experience in cast of Julius Caesar, fire eaters, human statues painted gold
    Costumes: Togas, tunics, garland of leaves
  6. Beach Party:

    Venues: Indoor beach volley ball courts, indoor pools, indoor beaches, indoor waterparks
    Decor: Beach tables with umbrellas, loungers, beach towels, beach bags, beach balls
    Menu: Sliders, burgers, BBQ chicken
    Music: Beach Boys, Jan and Dean
    Entertainment: Limbo dancers, 60s dance contest, fire dancers
    Costumes: Shirts and dresses with floral prints
  7. Disco Heat: 

    Venues: Discotheques with 70s-style decor
    Decor: Disco ball, mirrors, dance floor
    Menu: Daiquiris, Margaritas,finger foods like Swedish meatballs, hot dog rolls, sliders, fondue
    Music: Disco
    Entertainment: 70s-style disco music, 70s dance contest
    Costumes: Think Saturday Night Fever
  8. Singapore Sling: 

    Venues: Greenhouses with lush vegetation
    Decor: Short palm trees, tropical plants for centerpieces, flowers
    Menu: Singapore slings, satay, Singapore Chicken, rice steamed in coconut milk
    Music: Peranakan folk music
    Entertainment: Lion dancers, Chinese jugglers and acrobats
    Costumes: Sarong Kebayas for hostesses and waitresses, Changshan for men
  9. Mexican Fiesta: 

    Venues: Greenhouses with lush vegetation, Mexican restaurants
    Decor: Cactus plants, palm trees, tropical plants for centerpieces, flowers, pinatas
    Menu: Pina Colada, Margaritas
    Music: Cumbia, Mariachi band
    Entertainment: Baile Folklorico, Mexican Hat Dance
    Costumes: Large sombreros, bright dresses with long ruffled skirts
  10. Jungle Jaunt:

    Venues: Indoor Rainforests, Greenhouses
    Decor: Coconut tree cutouts, posters or cutouts of jungle animals
    Menu: Sticky rice in bamboo leaves,
    Music: Drums, Music from the Lion King
    Entertainment: Drumming, African, Brazilian or traditional Southeast Asian
    Costumes: Jungle print shirts, sarongs, safari jackets, safari hats, leopard prints

For more inspiration, also consult 10 Tips for Creating Caribbean Corporate Events, 10 Terrific Themes for Corporate Events, and Toronto: It's Caribbean Carnival Time (with tips for creating a Caribbean carnival theme any time of the year) on Cvent Event Blog.

Photo Credit: Crossroads Foundation Photos

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