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How To Decorate A Wedding Reception On A Private Boat

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If you have dreams of saying "I do" on the open water with wind blowing through your hair, consider holding it on a private cruise. The reception can follow directly after, as many high-end boats, such as yachts, have dining areas and small kitchens. 

One of the benefits of hosting your wedding reception on a private boat is that you and your guests can take in the ocean views while enjoying dinner and dancing. One downside you may face, however, is the lack of event space. The good news is that you can make it work with some prior planning and little creativity.

Even though you may be short on space, you can still decorate the boat venue to give it a personalized touch. Use elements of your wedding, such as the colors and nautical-inspired theme, to put your own customized stamp on the space.

Here are ideas for decorating a private boat event space:

1. Linens

Table and chair linens will give the venue a pop of color and visual interest without taking up any extra space. As one idea, cover the dining tables with crisp white tablecloths, and place vibrant runners in beach-themed shades of turquoise blue, yellow, and coral down the centers. Choose matching cloth napkins, and gather them with seashell-decorated rings.

You can also wrap coordinating fabric bows around the backs of basic rental chairs to dress them up. Place matching cushions on the seat to add both color and comfort.

2. Table Centerpieces and Decor 

When you don't have much space available for decorating, take advantage of the tabletops. Create eye-catching centerpieces that reflect the nautical theme using natural elements. As one idea, fill tall glass vases with sand and sprinkle seashells on it. Gently push the bottoms of pillar candles into the sand so that they fit securely into place. 

As another idea, set vintage model ships or mini lighthouses in the centers of the tables. You can also fill small glass bottles with personalized quotes or sayings next to the guests' place settings as a "messages in a bottles." 

3. Lighting Elements 

If the private boat rental company allows it, hang some of your own lighting elements to add soft illumination to the space. Some ideas include nautical rope-wrapped lanterns or lamps, or paper lanterns in shades of blue.

For a touch of whimsy, wrap string lights featuring seashell, starfish, anchor or fish designs around any poles, pillars or beams.