With the Notting Hill Carnival just around the corner, The Mermaid London have written this guest blog to provide some top tips on how you can add a slice of the Caribbean to your next event.

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The hotly-anticipated Notting Hill Carnival returns this weekend (25-27 August 2018) with an expected two million people making their way through 25,000 litres of rum and five tonnes of jerk chicken, according to the Evening Standard.

Since 1966, Notting Hill Carnival has celebrated London’s Caribbean communities through authentic Caribbean culture and tradition. Every year the streets of West London are flooded with vibrant colours, exotic dancers, flavoursome Caribbean street food, live music including traditional steel bands, and soca floats, which can all be seen in impressive and lively street parades.

After a quick search of ‘Notting Hill Carnival’, we were instantly hit with the colour, tradition and a sense of community, which has made us think about how you can add a Caribbean flair to your next event.

Like music to your ears

When we think of Caribbean music, scenes of a serene beach with authentic steel drums playing calypso melodies come to mind…though there are obviously many other genres that can please the crowd like reggae, dub and of course salsa.

If you choose to book a live performer, make sure that your chosen venue has additional space to save overcrowding when guests begin to get into the music and make their way to the dancefloor. If you’re looking for a simple yet effective playlist, we’ve found some on Spotify. Search for Caribbean Summer Vibes or Caribbean Reggae Beach Groove, which will be sure to get guests into the Caribbean spirit.

Prepare for extravagant displays

So what décor will make your event stand out? We’re always on top of themes and trends and have found a few ideas from Pinterest, like these dyed pineapples as centre pieces. For a more elaborate approach, why not add palm or banana leaves to a tall vase with lights for a burst of colour.

To capture the attention of guests as they arrive, adding bespoke lighting displays with vibrant colours like blue, red, purple and orange can transform a space into an energetic Caribbean carnival.

Our mouths are already watering

Lastly, a Caribbean-themed event isn’t complete without delicious food and drink. Whether you choose to serve in the style of street-food stations, canapés or a banquet, make sure the menu includes classic dishes like jerk-chicken, a selection of rice and peas, a tempting pepper pot, flying fish, cou cou, and small bites like roti, plantain and breadfruit – all revered across the Caribbean Sea.

The last item on the agenda that can’t be missed is the rum. Try creating a rum punch or bespoke cocktail such as a Caribbean Sunrise: this takes the form of a classic screwdriver with vodka, orange juice with a splash of grenadine to create a red sunrise effect. Or, try an Old Jamaican with rum, cane sugar, mint lime and a dash of champagne, which really packs a punch…pardon the pun.

For more information of how you can host themed events at The Mermaid London and how you can use our suppliers to create mouth-watering dishes and vibrant productions, contact the team on 020 7236 1919 or info@the-mermaid.co.uk.

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