Luaus are one of the top themes for summer entertaining, but all too often the décor looks exactly the same, no matter who’s hosting the party. Too many hostesses rely on tacky, overdone decorations bought at party supply stores and miss a great opportunity to create an atmosphere that really feels like a Hawaiian island or luxury resort.
Here are some tips that will give you all the inspiration you’ll need to create your very own gorgeous and unique luau décor.
Create a color scheme
To create a cohesive look for all of your luau’s decorative elements, you’ll want to establish a specific color scheme. Laura Londergan, designer and owner of Eye Candy Event Details, suggests basing the color scheme based on a decoration or other item that’s particularly inspiring to you. “For example, I found red, white and blue leis, so a patriotic luau theme was born! Inspiration can come from anywhere — from a piece of fabric to scrapbook paper to a fun-colored party supply item. Take one to three colors, put them together and try to find similar items that match to create a well-put-together theme,” she explains.
Purchase fabric that features a Hawaiian or tropical print
Fabric may not be the first thing you think of when envisioning your luau’s décor, but it can be used in a number of fun and clever ways. Jennifer Shields, founder and president of Posh Tot Events, LLC, suggests buying fabric with hibiscus flowers or a simple striped pattern.
“You can create a table runner using pinking shears or by creating a hem with no-sew hemming tape you can find at the fabric store. Once you have your runner, you can use your fabric to create other elements for the table. Wrap it around different-size cylinders and float candles in them for centerpieces. Create napkin rings with small strips of the same fabric. Use it to create another runner for your buffet table,” Shields explains.
Draw inspiration from Mother Nature
Because luaus are traditionally hosted outside, you’ll definitely want to incorporate elements of nature into the décor. Glory Albin, owner of the Glorious Treats blog, recommends decorating with fresh flowers, greenery and shells. For centerpieces, she recommends adding shells to the vase of water before adding flowers. Albin says you can also embellish food platters with extra greenery from the florist or clippings from your yard.
Find creative ways to use grass skirts and leis
Rather than wearing a lei and grass skirt yourself, incorporate them into your luau’s décor. “Try purchasing several grass skirts, then tying them together to create one huge table skirt. Purchase several multicolored leis, untie them all and then re-tie them together to create a simple and inexpensive garland to hang across or over your table,” suggests Londergan.
Another idea she offers is to prop decorative letters above or behind food and drink spreads. To create this display, she suggests buying pre-made letters that spell “luau,” then hot-gluing flowers from a lei onto each of the letters.
Mix and match different types of lighting
If you’re hosting a luau, you’re probably planning to pick up a few tiki torches, but don’t stop there. You can create stunning ambiance with tea lights or a fire pit that guests can gather and mingle around. Shields also suggests buying colored paper lanterns, which can be found in various sizes at LunaBazaar.com.
Every summer, party supply stores pack their shelves with luau-themed décor and accessories. Be wary of buying too many of these items, because they can quickly create an atmosphere that’s tacky and cliché. Instead, invest in a select few items and find creative ways to use them in your luau’s décor. If you can create an atmosphere that makes your guests feel as though they’ve been whisked away to a gorgeous island or resort, your luau is sure to be a hit.