Is life a little too stressful for you? Then sit back and picture sunny beaches, blue skies, the sound of a gentle surf crashing in the distance and percussive steel drums. Can you smell the sunscreen, see the bright tropical colors and feel the balmy breezes? Are you feeling relaxed yet? Whenever I need a little break these images help me to relax. Even in the heat of summer, a mental vacation in the Caribbean is an acceptable break from the heat. Dreaming about swimming in the clear, azure waters cools me off right away. I just love the tropics. So when you're in need of a little mental rest and relaxation and can't get away for a real vacation, I recommend that you bring the tastes and smells of the islands into your home with a Caribbean dinner party.
Setting the Stage
Depending on the style of your group, you can choose to make this a serene, tropical dinner or a hot, hot, hot island party.
Keeping it Low Key
- Play a CD with natural surf sounds in the background.
- Decorate with seashells, coral, raffia-tied linen napkins, and natural fabric placemats.
- Make your own seashell napkin rings. Purchase clear acrylic napkin rings in your local craft shop. Glue one large or several small seashells in a cluster to each ring.
- Create a centerpiece of tropical fruits in a basket that has seashells, starfish or sand dollars strung or glue gunned to the outside.
Turning Up the Heat with a HOT, HOT, HOT Party
- Choose reggae and steel drum band music as the soundtrack for your party. Both will get your friends into the rhythm of the islands, making it difficult for them to stay seated between courses.
- Decorate with tropical fish or parrot-themed party goods. During the summer season, many stores that sell home accessories feature tropical-themed melamine dinnerware that work great for outdoor entertaining.
- Visit your favorite online or retail party goods store to find palm trees, tropical fish or birds to add to your decor.
- Tell your guests that shoes are optional and cut-off shorts are encouraged.
- By the third round of rum drinks, someone can begin a conga line.
- After the fifth round of rum drinks, begin the limbo contest.
- Hire someone to braid everyone's hair.
Send your guests home with a small, tropical-colored, gift bag containing a bottle of sunscreen, a small bottle of rum, seashells, and a bottle of Caribbean hot sauce (Compare Prices). I can often find Tropical Pepper Co. sauce, a Costa Rican sauce, in our local supermarket and my husband, our in-house hot sauce expert, recommends it.