A new life is always an adventure, and what better way to celebrate the start of that adventure than with a nautically-themed baby shower? The nautical theme is a versatile, timeless motif—one that works equally well for either a boy or a girl. With an appropriate color palette, fun nautical-themed treats, and the right kind of décor imagery (think sailboats, anchors, life preservers, etc.), anyone can throw a fun, stress-free shower to help new parents get ready to set-sail on the most important voyage of all.
But while you’re figuring out how to make origami boats out of napkins, don’t neglect the baby shower invites. In addition to providing guests with a physical copy of important event details, the invitation has the job of setting the stage for the entire party. Well, don’t worry. This guide will show you how you can turn an unimpressive invite into something beautifully sea-worthy.
While there are as many colors associated with sailing as there are fish in the sea, a few select hues have come to represent the concept of seafaring in general. Your scheme should be incorporated into most elements of the design, including backgrounds, trim and borders, lettering, and even photographic images. Consider these nautical color ideas:
- White, red, and navy blue. For a classic and easily-recognizable scheme, you can’t beat white, red, and navy. These colors are the most popular choice for those attempting to create a nautical design.
- White and blue. For a simpler take on the classic theme, just leave out the red. This will allow for a more-minimalist design.
- Signal-flag colors. Nautical signal flags are another good source of inspiration, and use several colors together, namely blue, white, red, yellow, and black. And while you might not want to incorporate so many colors into your design too heavily, picking two or three main colors, and then using the others as accents or font colors is a possibility.
- Add some pink. By changing the tints and tones of the classic red, white, and navy scheme, you can make your design more personalized. For example, replacing red with pink or coral can help express that the shower will be for a baby girl. Play around with the intensity of your colors, and see what you get.
- Try something different. There’s no reason why you can’t pick whatever colors you like for your nautical baby shower invitations. Speak with the mother, and choose two or three colors that she likes, and see where it takes you. If your other design elements are on point, then you should be able to make almost any color scheme work.
Photographs give your nautical baby-shower invitations a personal touch. Of course, not just any photo arrangement will do. Here are some suggestions:
- Have a photoshoot. If you fancy yourself skilled with a camera—or you know someone who is—then a fun, nautical-themed photoshoot can provide you with all of the images you’ll need to find the perfect focus for your shower invite. Just take a trip to the party supply store, pick out a fun sailor hat and maybe some nautical decorations for the background, and snap away at the mother-to-be until you find something everyone likes. You might also consider hiring a professional photographer if you have the budget for it.
- Consider ultrasound images. There’s nothing inherently nautical-looking about ultrasound baby images, but you can still use them as part of your invitation design, if you know what you’re doing. Don’t try to make the images more nautical-themed by photoshopping in a tiny sailor hat, or by changing the black and white image to better fit your color scheme, because any changes you make to the image itself is likely to come off looking strange. Instead, consider adding a small border around the picture, and letting you other design elements do the work.
- Keep it simple. Too many photos can make an invitation look overly cluttered. Try to settle on just one image, and then build the rest of your design around it.
- Get permission. Speak with the mother, and make sure that she is OK with any photographs of either her or the baby that you intend to use in your design.
The invitation backdrop can help bring the rest of your design elements together in a way that is fun and inviting. Here are some tips to help you choose the right one:
- Don’t be afraid of negative space. Negative space is the thread that holds the rest of your design together, and helps to establish flow and hierarchy. By surrounding images, graphics, and text in negative space, everything will be much easier for the recipient to decipher. But remember, negative space doesn’t necessarily mean white space. Your negative space can have color, texture, or even a pattern to it—such as tiny sailboats, ship wheels, or anchors—as long as it doesn’t distract the eye from other, more-important elements.
- Stick with your scheme. If you decide to go with a colored backdrop, choosing a hue from you color scheme is a safe way to make sure that everything fits together. Choose a color that is light, and that won’t blur together with any text on the invitation itself.
- Mixing can be fun. If you have an invitation with a front and a back, or one that opens along a fold, then you might consider using different background designs for each surface. Don’t be afraid to mix patterns and solid colors when it comes to choosing backgrounds for the front and back of your invitation, as long as each backdrop fits the overall theme, and isn’t confusing to look at.
Although most invitations feature traditional square-cut edges, other trim options can bring added effect to your design. Here are some possibilities:
- Rounded. Rounded edges lend a comforting air of softness to the invite, making for a more organic and natural look.
- Scalloped or bracketed. Scalloped or bracketed edges are also natural and organic-looking, but have the added benefit for nautical-themed designs in that the edges are reminiscent of ocean waves.
- Ticket. Ticket edges can give the invitation a retro look, bringing to mind images of old-time passenger ships or steam boats.
Your nautical baby-shower invitation theme doesn’t have to stop with the card; the right envelope can help you put the finishing touches on your design. Here’s how:
- Use a decorative stamp. Rather than leaving the back of the envelope blank, consider using a decorative, nautical-themed stamp—such as an anchor or a ship’s wheel. Stamp the image over the center of the envelope flap.
- Choose a complimentary color. Your envelope color should still relate back to your design color scheme. Either choose a color from your existing scheme, or pick an envelope color that compliments your other colors well. Try to stick with lighter colors, as these will make the text on the envelope more legible.
- Include a slip-in liner. If you’d like an added pop of color to finish off your overall theme, a simple slip-in liner may be the way to go. Liners go well with otherwise-unadorned envelope designs, and can be solid colors or patterned.
A baby shower is a fun way to wish parents bon voyage as they prepare to welcome aboard a new member of the family. Choose a baby shower invite that celebrates this amazing experience, and you’ll help to ensure smooth sailing once party day arrives.