10 Tips for Planning a Hawaiian Luau

Luaus are a cool party theme inspired by the South Pacific – Hawaii. The Hawaiian people throw luaus to celebrate graduations, weddings, or just because they’re ready for a party. And who isn’t ready for a party? Use these tips to plan a luau that won’t be soon forgotten – unless of course you and your guests down one too many Mai Tai’s.

Purchase some inexpensive glass bottles, roll up your invitations, and place one in each bottle. Reproductions of old Hawaiian travel posters from the 1930’s and 1940’s make great art for your invitations. You can create these on your computer. Consider requesting that your guests dress up luau-style for the party.

Bamboo torches, paper lanterns, and citronella candles are great for decorating the backyard or a beach area. Tables can be dressed up with netting, sand, sea shells, and glass balls. Inexpensive grass skirts can be used to line the edges of tables.

Welcoming Guests
Greet each of your guests by placing several colorful leis around their neck. This is a great way to say aloha. Have a basket of fresh flowers for guests to tuck behind their ears. Traditionally, a flower behind your right ear indicates that you’re “on the market” or available romantically. If you’re committed to someone, the flower should be placed closest to your heart – behind your left ear. If you don’t think you’ll have time, assign someone to take care of aloha duties.

There are plenty of sources on the internet to find Hawaiian music that will create a festive party atmosphere. The music should really get everyone in the spirit of the luau.

Try and keep the food simple so you don’t have to spend a lot of time tending to it. The get-together will be more fun for you if you can spend time partying with your guests instead of serving food. Trays of tropical fruits such pineapple, mangos, and papaya and cream cheese dip would make excellent appetizers. A selection of cubed ham and cheese decorated with paper parasol toothpicks are easy to prepare ahead of time and will keep guests satisfied.

Here’s a recipe for the traditional drink of the luau:
The Mai Tai
1 ounce Light Rum
1 ounce Coruba or Red Heart Jamaican Rum
1/2 ounce French Orgeat
1/2 ounce Orange Curacao
1/4 ounce Rock Candy Syrup
Juice of one fresh lime
Orange juice
Fill a large 15 ounce glass with ingredients. Add crushed ice and splash of orange juice. Garnish with mint leaves, pineapple slice and an orchid.

Serve fruity smoothies for guests that don’t want alcohol.

The Limbo
Try and get your guests to do the limbo. This is really hilarious after people have had a few drinks. All you need is a long pole and people willing to see how low they can go.

A bonfire is a great addition to a luau. It’s cozy and attracts people like it attracts bugs. (Don’t forget those citronella candles). Put someone in charge of keeping the fire going and be conscious of safety – especially if there are tipsy guests near the fire.

Don’t forget the camera. You’ll want plenty of pictures to commemorate this bash.

Sending Your Guests Home
Small take-out boxes used for wedding favors can be packed with chocolate-covered macadamia nuts for an inexpensive and thoughtful party favor.


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