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Posted by Rae Lynn on 3/11/2014 to Hawaiian Luau
Historically, the luau was a type of party created by King Kamehameha II, where all members of society were invited to eat, drink and dance together. It has since come to include many cultural contributions across the Pacific islands.
The word ‘luau’ is actually the Hawaiian name for young taro leaves, an ingredient central to Hawaiian cuisine similar to spinach. They are commonly simmered into gravy with coconut milk with pieces of chicken and served on special occasions.
Other traditional fare includes poi (mashed taro root), poke (salted raw fish), and most famously Kalua pua’a, which is whole pig roasted spit-style over an open flame.
Decorating with Polynesian Tiki god figures allegedly imparts good luck to friendly gatherings. Even if you are an expert on South Pacific cuisine, the party atmosphere will be cultivated by your decorations and soundtrack reverberating with island vibes.
The décor and conversation are what will set your event apart from the rest, so here are a few decorating ideas to spur some remarks about your impeccable taste in party decorating.
Luau/Tiki Theme Party Essentials:
Welcome your guests to paradise by chasing away their woes before they set foot past the door. Ceremonial and decorative Polynesian tradition invokes the mask’s power to frighten away evil spirits, similar to the Western-style gargoyle.
An attractive 15-3/4" Tiki Mask or Metal Tiki Hipster will have your guests mouthing their “mahalos” right off the bat. Lighting up the doorframe, columns or railings with colored Electric Mini Lights in green & pink will serve as a beacon to arriving guests.
Bestowing leis upon attendees is the mark of a hospitable host, and it may come in handy to place them in the foyer to betoken arriving guests. It will also serve as a colorful display in the foyer to enhance the party theme.
While genuine flower leis ought to be refrigerated to preserve their freshness, a more cost-effective and convenient option is to use the beautiful silk flower Hawaiian Leis available at PartySwizzle.com.
They also make attractive table decorations in baskets, twined throughout centerpieces, or draped over the backs of chairs.
Decorate focal shelves and small tables with cute island-themed votive candles, clasped by attractive Bamboo-Leaf Votive Candle Holders or Beaded Palm Tree Tealight Holders. They will add ambiance as well as offering a clever understatement of the party theme.
Scatter surfaces with Tropical Island Confetti for some extra sparkle. A single Basket of Exotic Sea Shells can dress up an out-of-the way corner table with their unusual shapes and natural beauty. Other natural shapes that relay the theme include fruits such as starfruit, pineapple, and kukui nuts.
Hang or prop up a Coconut Ukulele atop the mantelpiece or bookshelf, and place a Rustic Tiki Hawaiian Tribal Drum to signify the spirit of music, and musically inclined guests can even play them to add to the island beats.
Dress up the serving or dinner table with grass table skirts sporting Beach Colors or Hibiscus Flowers. Place Coconut figures such as the Hula Girl and Monkey between colorful Taper Candles for a festive centerpiece, and scatter Fabric Hibiscus Flowers around the scene.
Set 6" Tiki God Statues or whole pineapples at either end, and incorporate Shell Design or Hawaiian Luau Tiki God Salt & Pepper Shakers to spice things up. Use Tiki God Placecard Holders at each setting or on the bar for an "Aloha!" greeting.
Bar & Serving Trays
As we’ve mentioned before, the bar is an area of heavy traffic and limited space so hanging decorations are ideal. Hang a bamboo window shade on the wall and a Tiki Bar Sign behind the bar for an authentic tiki feel.
Brighten up the night with Electric Party Lights that come in a variety of shapes, such as Palm Trees, Surfboards, Tropical Fish and Sea Turtles. Festive Ceiling Swirls featuring Hibiscus blossoms or beach colors will enliven the atmosphere.
Use a variety of tiki gods of different styles and shapes to make your bar scene truly tiki. Then, add some sparkle with a sprinkle of Tropical Island confetti or Fabric Hibiscus Flowers.
Don’t forget to garnish your signature cocktails with colorful Drink Parasol Umbrella picks and personalize it with a glowing LED ice cube. Serve cocktails with Tiki or Hula Girl luau themed beverage napkins.
Themed spreaders are a unique way to incorporate the theme while serving crowd-pleasing appetizers. Check out our selection with Pineapple and Tropical Cocktail themed handles!
In addition, add a small and festive decoration to the center of hors d’oeuvre serving trays such as a Metallic Pineapple or Palm Tree Weight for a touch of an extra tropical surprise.
If you have an outdoor area, plan to incorporate it in your island-themed gathering. The fresh air and circulating breeze will enhance the carefree atmosphere. Lit Tiki torches are always a hit and will set the Hawaiian Luau mood.
Wrap the railing with colored Electric Mini Lights to provide more illumination and decoration. Adorn outdoor surfaces with themed votive candles and grass Deck Fringe with Hibiscus Flowers to decorate larger areas.
Last but not least, don’t neglect the decor in the guest bathroom. Most if not all guests will visit this room at least once, and a cleverly placed decoration is sure to delight.
Switch out the regular hand soap with themed soaps shaped like Turtles, Shells, Palm Trees, Suns, and Starfish. Embroidered hand towels featuring Hawaiian-inspired designs will demonstrate your eye for detail.
A few unusual shells and attractive Metal Sea Turtle Votive Candle Holder are sure to impress this humblest of rooms.