A summer luau doesn’t have to be a luxury only those of us who can go on tropical vacations can experience. It is a simple, casual atmosphere that appeals to guests both young and old and provides a super relaxed atmosphere where guests can simply have fun. It is really quite simple to host a summer luau right in a spacious backyard or at a community center. Use either a few traditional luau touches or go completely nuts. All of the guests are sure to be having fun either way.
Let guests know what kind of party is being held and all of the other details. These Madeline Party Invitations add a burst of tropical color to set the mood for your guests. Be sure to let guests know if grass skirts are encouraged.
Set the Stage
A few simple items can help set the stage for a luau type party. Use just a few or all of them and more!
- Tiki lights are sold in so many varieties and some versions even have the added bonus of being a mosquito repellent. If lit flame is not a possibility then stringed lights are available in tiki and other tropical themes.
- Think of the music that you would hear getting off the plane in a tropical destination. Or the drum heavy sounds you would here as local entertainers dance around a bonfire can work well for later in the evening. Slack key guitar music and Hawaiian style reggae is also easily found in CD form or for digital download.
- Hibiscus flowers and other tropical flowers make great centerpiece elements or just little touches to add to the authentic feel of the luau. Center table runners of leaves, ferns and flowers are a popular choice. Fishnets hung and decorated with shells, starfish and other items are also a creative and unexpected touch. Open raffia hula shirts and hang them on the perimeter of the buffet table as a table skirt. Paper or plastic palm trees and lots of shells are also good ideas.
- Ask guests to leave their shoes at the door if possible in traditional luau fashion. Have flip flops available in a variety of colors and sizes in case guests prefer not to go totally barefoot.
- Grass skirts and leis make for easy ways to set the mood for a luau. Leis can be made of shells or flowers.
- Hollow out pineapples and use the chunks for drinks. Use the hollowed pineapples as glasses for drinks.
- Small paper parasols and slices of pineapple are gorgeous and easy touches that will help make the luau really feel authentic and delight guests. Straws with paper tropical flowers are also available from party stores.
- Have loose flowers available for guests to tuck behind their ears. Instruct guests that if they are available romantically they should place the flower behind their right ear, and if they are taken romantically it should be placed behind their left ear. This can be a fun ice breaker for a party with a lot of single guests.
- Ask a local dance school if a group of hula dancers can be hired for the night or if there is a dancer willing to provide the guests with hula lessons at the party.
- If a bonfire or camp fire is possible do it! Be sure to follow all safety precautions. A fire can really add authenticity to the luau if done properly but can easily turn disastrous so make sure someone who will be sober will be caring for it.
- Use halved coconut shells to hold coconut scented votive candles for a pretty and quick lighting option that also smells tropical and amazing. Bowls of floating candles are also a great lighting option for an evening luau.
For more luau hosting ideas, be sure to read: