Celebrate Love: Ideas for a Tropical Wedding Reception

Saffron Marigold - Updated: October 30, 2018

Whether you’re planning a destination wedding, or something close to home that feels like an island paradise, Tropical Weddings are lush with opportunities for creative, colorful decor.   We’ll anchor this reception design in our 100% cotton, hand printed Tropical Garden table linens:  runners, table cloths and napkins.  These bright floral linens are the perfect backdrop for vibrant table settings, exceptional cakes, and of course – wonderful tropical flower arrangements.

Tropical wedding table settings
Photo by Erin Wallis Photography – Style Me Pretty

Table Linens

Authentic, exotic and colorful, Tropical Garden table linens will light up your reception.  These are not run-of-the-mill “event polyester” (ick!)  Rather, hand printed, fair trade 100% cotton table linens will absolutely set your reception apart.  Round tablecloths can be used at guest tables, and long rectangular tablecloths are perfect for the bridal party table.  Runners add pops of color to dessert and gift tables.

Note the Tropical Garden border colors: bright pink, canary yellow, grass green… these are a perfect tie-in to all sorts of warm, succulent decor.  You’re bound to have fun dreaming up ideas for up your tropical themed wedding (think the pink and salmon parasols above!), and your guests will feel like they’ve taken a mini-vacation!

Colorful Tropical Floral Table Cloth
Tropical Garden Tablecloth (in round and rectangular)
Tropical Wedding table linens
Tropical Garden Cotton Napkins
tropical fabric for weddings
Tropical Garden fabric swatch
tropical wedding reception ideas
Tropical Garden Table Runner

Place Settings

Place settings at a tropical wedding should be both bold and natural, as shown in the first image below.

  • A natural fiber charger, such as a set in rattan from World Market, white plates, colorful napkins and floral accents are festive, glamorous and casual.
  • For something unique and truly tropical, use real leaves for coasters at your reception.  Ask a florist for small banana leaves, or, if you have willing friends with hostas, their leaves will work well too.
  • Even the smaller elements of your table, like favor boxes and escort cards, can work into your theme.  Again, just think natural fibers/ vibrant accents.  I love these little woven boxes.  The flower is an exotic touch, but simple ribbons would work just as well.
tropical wedding ideas
Natural charger, neutral plate, bright napkins and floral accent
tropical wedding place settings
Rattan charger, set of 4 – World Market
table decor for tropical wedding
Natural leaf coasters – Martha Stewart
ideas for tropical weddings
Tropical favor boxes, doubling as escort cards


The highlights of a tropical wedding reception have to be the lavish, fiery flowers.  No conservative rose bouquets here!  Instead, palm fronds, birds of paradise, hibiscus and ginger blaze in a glory of color and texture from each table.  Thick and lush, tall and formal, or low and elegant – these arrangements will transport your guests through scent and sight, and set the perfect mood at your party.

ideas for tropical weddings
Tropical Centerpieces, photo by Jenny Lindsey – Style Me Pretty
tropical wedding centerpiece
Birds of Paradise and Bamboo Reeds Centerpiece – Brides
tropical wedding ideas
Amazing tropical installation! – The Wedding Chicks
tropical wedding decor ideas
Low tropical centerpiece – Wholly Matrimony


And now, the cakes.  The vibrant, verdant, delicious cakes!  (Can you tell I’m getting excited? :))  Each of these are amazing, and have slightly different palettes to coordinate with your wedding’s primary color scheme.  Because I love decorating with natural elements, I claim the lovely citrus tower as my personal favorite.  Isn’t it fun?  Cheers to Maisie Fantaisie for the bright, bold vision!  Which do you like best?

tropical wedding ideas
Tropical Cupcakes – Le Cupcake
tropical wedding ideas
Citrus Fruit Wedding Cake – Maisie Fantaisie
tropical wedding ideas
Sugar flowered soft tropical cake – Rachelle’s
Yellow Tropical Flower Wedding Cake – The Pastry Studio

Tropical Treats

Now, if you’re gathering ideas for tropical reception food, I’ve got a few delish dishes for you.

  • First of all, how about serving paletas?  Fany Gerson’s book “Paletas”  is the go-to source for gourmet, grown-up popsicle recipes.  (I am biased – I can’t get enough of these cold, fruity treats and have been making them all summer!)
  • A cold and savory shrimp ceviche will be light, spicy and flavorful – a good ceviche could end up being the most talked about thing at your wedding (aside from the beautiful bride, of course. :))
  • Nothing says tropical more than mango and coconut.  A verrine is a somewhat complicated dessert to produce, but if you’re having a smaller wedding, it will be a true stunner.
  • Finally, decorative and yummy zucchini rolls…  The julienned zucchini can be filled with almost anything – in this case, Hawaiian goat cheese and roasted red pepper.  Super good!
food for tropical weddings
Tropical Paletas – (from Fany Gerson’s book, available on Amazon)
food for tropical weddings
Shrimp Ceviche – Simply Recipes
tropical wedding ideas
Mango Coconut Verrines – Dessert First Girl
Zucchini Rolls with Hawaiian Goat Cheese and Roasted Red Pepper – Project Wedding

Up Close…

This is the border detail of our Tropical Garden tablecloth.  If you are considering this print for your wedding, why don’t you order a swatch first?  You’ll get an accurate idea of the colors, and will be able to feel the quality of the cotton as well.  Our swatches are generously sized and very affordable.

tropical wedding tablecloth
Tropical Garden tablecloth (border detail)

Putting it All Together…

I have to say,  I really love this look.  I’m happily married, but I may have to throw a big tropical party just to be able to use these ideas!

ideas for a tropical wedding
Go with this cheery tropical palette, and you’ll have a reception that feels like Paradise!

We’ve got a wonderful series of ideas for unique wedding decor, so if you haven’t quite made up your mind yet – check it out!