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Hawaiian Luau

Decorating Ideas For A Hawaiian Luau Tiki Party


For a  festive and interactive party that everyone can enjoy, the Hawaiian Luau or Tiki theme offers a number of easy decorating options. Based upon Polynesian tropical island decor, create a casual and lighthearted mood that will relax and entertain your guests anytime of year.

The Hawaiian Luau theme may also be called a Bali Hai party, Tiki party, or Island party. Luau decorations are also great to have on hand to create an impromptu tropical atmosphere.


Hawaiian Luau Decorating Basics

There are four basic rules we follow to achieve a delicate balance of a fun and engaging party atmosphere that will also convey taste and sophistication:

1)  Strategic placement:
  • Choose locations most guests will eventually visit to place your decorations.
  • Arrange accents where guests are likely to "stumble upon" them.
  • Plan decorations to be discovered over the duration of the party.
  • Key strategic positions include:
ENTRANCE ==>

Welcome your visitors with a prominent Hawaiian Luau decoration at the designated party entrance.  A hanging tiki god statue on the front door makes an excellent greeting to set a festive tone as each guest arrives.

<== BAR & COCKTAILS

Every guest will visit or socialize near the bar, which makes it an ideal location for decorating.
 
Highlight the fun at the bar with a carved coconut hula girl wearing a red polka dot bikini top, matching hair ribbon, and a Hawaiian grass skirt.  Use a small wood tiki god for a dash of Polynesian charm. Drape the bar with a colored, natural, hibiscus-bordered table skirt.

Also use a tropical island paradise display featuring a metal palm tree with coconuts and hammock.  Add depth to the scene with a hanging coconut tiki head in the background, here we use a hanging plant stake.

For an outdoor party, tiki torches add to the exotic tropical atmosphere. For an indoor Hawaiian Luau, use tiki torches to line the front walk.

Group a variety of tiki gods on the bar for an upbeat display that will grab your guests attention, such as the 10" theme tiki god statue, 6" tiki god, and a tiki god placecard holder.

Include a "Tiki Bar" sign coordinated with tiki god beverage napkins to create a cohesive and entertaining vignette. Finally, scatter silk hibiscus flowers or sprinkle tropical island themed confetti on the bar top.

For cocktails, create fruity tropical drinks and name them for the event or guest of honor.  Use pineapple, orange and maraschino cherry garnishes, then serve your cocktails with colorful drink umbrellas and tiki god beverage napkins or palm tree & hibiscus napkins.

For the bar backdrop, use a simple bamboo double-window shade rolled down or cut a luau table skirt in half to hang on the wall behind the bar.

BATHROOM ==>

Virtually every guest will visit the bathroom at some point, making it an excellent showplace for your distinctive decorations. Not only will you have a captive audience, but it keeps your party interesting as guests discover little surprises throughout the evening.

Coordinate your bathroom decorations around a single tropical motif, such as the palm tree or pineapple. Embroidered guest towels featuring palm trees and pineapples, soaps shaped as pineapples, palm trees and suns, along with a decorative metal palm tree votive candle holder add a touch of elegance to your bathroom.

Sprinkle a few pieces of tropical confetti and/or silk hibiscus flowers to keep things festive.

<== DINNER PARTY

Create a cheerful Hawaiian Luau dinner setting presentation with a charming pair of coconut characters as your centerpiece, such as this hula girl and monkey.  Scatter silk hibiscus flowers around your centerpiece for splashes of bright color.

Metallic palm trees add to the fun, flanked by a couple of real pineapples. Use brightly colored mango orange taper candles and shell design salt & pepper shakers (not pictured).

Use dinner napkins in bright solid colors and drape your silk flower leis on the back of each chair. Then, place a silk hibiscus flower in the center of each charger or dinner plate.  Finally, sprinkle tropical confetti sparingly down the center of the table around your centerpiece.

For a buffet, amaze your guests with your theme display. The food will soon be forgotten, but your decorations will be remembered for a lifetime.

Use votive candles in bright colors for additional lighting, if needed. Check out our dinner party guide for more planning tips.

HORS D'OEUVRE TRAYS ==>

Passing hors d'oeuvres on trays not only adds a touch of style and elegance, but introduces another level of excitement as guests anticipate the next tray of intricately assembled appetizers. 

In addition to wowing the crowd with your detailed bites, this is the perfect opportunity to introduce another tropical island surprise to each guest as the tray is passed. 

Buy small and sturdy accents as serving tray centerpieces for your hors d'oeuvre to delight your guests over the duration of the party.  Use the centerpieces as party area decorations once the appetizer has been served.  Some hors d'oeuvre tray centerpiece suggestions include:

We have also included some selected party appetizer recipes under Hawaiian Luau food ideas.

<== WEARABLES & FOCAL POINT

Leis are a must for tradition and festivity, however they also make a key decoration as guests wear them sprinkled throughout the party area.

Make a tasteful floral presentation at the bar by filling a basket with premium silk flower leis and polished kukui nut leis. Here we also feature a south sea island coconut warrior, colorful picket fence candle holders, and a tiki god cardholder.

Or use the silk flower leis to create a colorful focal point near the entrance to greet your guests. Drape a high table with a Hawaiian Luau grass table skirt and accent with a real pineapple.  Use a mirror as a backdrop to double the abundance of color.

SCATTER ==>

Theme-related confetti is an easy way to add subtle details and lift spirits. Spread happy thoughts by scattering confetti sparingly on the bar, in the bathroom, and on the dinner table. 

For your Hawaiian Luau, use a mix of cockatoos, pineapples, palm trees and bright colors to delight your guests. If you are mailing invitations or thank you notes, add just a smidgen of fun and festivity with confetti.

For a more dramatic effect, scatter brightly colored silk hibiscus flowers in orange, purple, red, green, yellow, and blue, complete with leaves and a plastic yellow pistil.  You can never have too many flowers at a Hawaiian Luau tiki party. Use a white background to make these blossoms really stand out.

<== PARTY AREA & LIGHTING 

Incorporate festive and fun lighting elements to add depth and interest to your theme.  Start by eliminating all overhead lights, then find creative Hawaiian luau and tiki related light sources to add warmth and entertainment.

String lights along the deck rail, under the bar, or around a doorway to make an attractive theme-inspired decoration for a day or night party. Suitable string light sets for a Hawaiian luau tiki party include:

For dusk to nighttime events, use tiki torches just beyond the party area and along walkways.  Use votive candles in frosted holders etched with green bamboo leaves liberally to add indirect lighting and/or use green votive holders with a pink, orange, purple, red and blue one thrown in here and there.

2)  Repetition:   Choose colors and/or motifs and repeat them as often as possible to reinforce your theme.
  • Colors:
    • Select a primary background color, such as dark green.
    • Use multiple pastel and/or bright colors on your green background to symbolize flowers:  pink, yellow, orange, purple, blue, spring green and red. Match the colors in your flower leis for continuity.
  • Motifs:    
    • Select a primary motif, such as Tiki gods.
    • Use multiple tropical island symbols throughout: hula girls, hibiscus flowers, pineapples, palm trees, parrots, coconuts, volcanoes.
3)  Tasteful decorations:
  • Buy quality and understated accents that are thoughtful and clever.
  • Seek out the unique and distinctive to make things memorable.
  • Avoid gaudy, in-your-face decorations.
  • Pass over common and cheap-looking paper and plastic items.
4)  Neutral background:
  • Neutralize the background when necessary to make your decorations stand out.
  • Remove competing colors and objects in the party areas that distract from your theme.
  • Use natural colors and textures as a background, such as wood, thatch, grass, and bamboo.