How to Throw a Hawaiian Luau Party

Channel laid-back Hawaiian style by throwing an easy summer party filled with Polynesian elements.

Photo By: Melanie Grizzel ©2012, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Melanie Grizzel ©2012, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Melanie Grizzel ©2012, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Melanie Grizzel ©2012, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Melanie Grizzel ©2012, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Melanie Grizzel ©2012, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Melanie Grizzel ©2012, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Melanie Grizzel ©2012, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Melanie Grizzel ©2012, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Party in Five

Throw your own summertime Hawaiian luau with just five ingredients: tropical fruit, mai tais, chopsticks, leis and exotic florals.

Have a Hukilau

Embrace summer's scorching temperatures island-style by throwing a tropical Hawaii-inspired party. It's simple to put together a table and menu that are both sophisticated and reminiscent of a fantasy island getaway by working with a simple color palette and incorporating some tiki elements.

In the Tropics

Create that island ambiance by hanging tiers of banana leaves on a vertical space, like an exposed fence or a wall of your home. The rows of greenery make a big impact and double as the perfect backdrop for photos. Stake tiki torches around the dining area and light them just as the sun is setting for a soft, flickering glow.

A Place With Purpose

For a modern-meets-Pacific vibe, layer clean white plates and bowls atop woven chargers. Tuck a tropical leaf in each place setting for an earthy pop of color that will tie your table to the banana leaf wall. Chopsticks resting in Asian-inspired bowls hint at the delicious menu to come and double as place-card holders for your guests.

Front-Runner

Add an unexpected twist to your table by laying patterned fabrics horizontally across two place settings. These perpendicular runners create place mats for guests and add an additional layer of color. Mix and match tropical- and Hawaiian-inspired prints.

Flaunt Your Flora

Incorporate more natural elements into your table by using bamboo containers to hold an abundance of exotic flowers like white freesia, red begonias and monstera leaves. Scatter tropical fruit like mangos and coconuts amongst the arrangements for an effortless (and edible!) punch of color.

Lei It On Me

String lei garlands across the backs of chairs for a final decorative touch. Make them yourself out of crepe paper flowers and ribbon, or purchase leis from any party supply store. Cut premade leis in half so you have one single strand to tie on each end of the chair, and keep some necklaces whole for guests who want to get in the spirit by donning theirs.

Tai Me Up

A mai tai or other tropical rum punch is practically a requirement for any luau-themed soiree. Top with a classic paper parasol and garnish liberally with fresh fruits.

Get the Recipe: The Original Mai Tai

Sweet Starters

Serve easy-to-prepare tropical appetizers: grilled fruit skewers. Mango, kiwi, strawberries, pineapple and grapes become even sweeter when cooked as their natural sugars caramelize. Soak bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes before threading on the fruit and cooking so they don't catch on fire.

Roll With It

Asian-inspired spring rolls filled with veggies and meats are great for feeding a crowd and keeping things light on a hot summer evening. Try an all-veggie roll with a ginger-soy sauce or a sirloin roll with a peanut dipping sauce. Channel the traditional pig-on-a-spit fare by making pork summer rolls that let your slow cooker do the work in advance of your party.

Get the Recipe: Shredded Pork Summer Rolls

Crazy for Caramel

For a salty-sweet finish, serve dressed-up popcorn in banana leaf cones. The star ingredient? Hawaiian macadamia nuts, of course. Start with this caramel corn recipe as a base, swapping out the pecans and cashews for the tropical nuts. Guests can abandon their seats and walk around with the crunchy mixture while mingling.

For even more tips on throwing this luau, click here.

Get the Recipe: Caramel Corn

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