This total Luau party plan has been created by especially for you by award-winning party planner and author Phyllis Cambria for To make your planning even easier, Phyllis has given you "QUICK TIPS AND EASY IDEAS" to plan your party when you're short on time or money. She's also designed a plan for a "BLOWOUT BASH" when you really want to make an impression.

And, to save you even more time, we've included links to quality party supplies hand-selected by this party pro.



Invitation to Our Island:

·        Send your invitation information printed on a tag that is attached to a plastic lei

·        Place in a plastic, self-sealed storage bag; add a colorful address label and mail, as is, from your post office. Or, use a plain, large white or colored envelope and embellish with tropical stickers.

·        Save time and money while setting the scene for your luau lounge by using a pre-printed Tiki, Tropical Sun, or Totally Tiki invitations.

·        Encourage guests to come dressed in tropical designs. That will put them more in the mood and they will actually become moving decorations.



Luau Decorations – Island Atmosphere:

·        Choose bright tropical prints  or hot, solid colors, to spruce up your space.

·        Straw beachcomber or novelty hats will add to the atmosphere, work well as a "bowl" for dry snacks,  and serve as a great party favor.

·        Float candles in bowls half-filled with colored water.

·        Drape tropical floral print sheets, or tropical tablecloths on your furniture or trim your tables with straw skirts to set up your Tiki lounge.

·        What's a luau without leis? Give them to guests, hang on your walls, use as chair ties, wrap around napkins, substitute for tiebacks – your choices are endless so buy them in quantity for added impact.

·        No time? No problem. Just pick up a total luau decoration party pack and spruce up your space in minutes.  Add colorful straw hats and leis and they'll love your luau.




Fun & Games – Island Activities:

·        Host a hula contest, complete with hula skirts and island rhythms.

·        Get your guests to try making sounds with a conch shell. (It's more difficult than it looks!)

·        Invite everybody up to do the limbo complete with limbo music.

·        Play "hot potato" with a beachball.



·        Make a Planters or pineapple-based punch and serve in tiki-themed cups.

·        Serve pineapple chunks topped with a maraschino cherry on tropical theme picks stuck into a pineapple skin.  (You can sprinkle with brown sugar if the pineapple isn't sweet enough.) 

·        Baste chicken wings with a pineapple, mango, kiwi or other tropical fruit glaze, jam or jelly and bake, broil or grill as usual.

·        Serve your meal in shell-shaped bowls, bamboo or rattan trays, bowls inserted into straw baskets, on trays lined with large, clean and bug-free leaves, pineapple skins or coconut shells.  Or select shell-shaped snack plates.

·        Buy Chinese restaurant take-out foods such as barbecued spare ribs, fried rice (add pineapple chunks and macadamia nuts for a more tropical flavor), sweet and sour pork or chicken, crab Rangoon and other delicacies which seem appropriate. Garnish them with small paper fans or tropical food picks for a luau look.

·        Use brightly-colored plates or colorful tropical print paper goods to make any menu item seem befitting of your luau.

·        For a sweet ending to your meal, serve vanilla ice cream topped with shredded coconut, pineapple chunks, and/or tropical fruit jam in coconut shell bowls, palm tree-style glasses or flashing margarita glasses for dessert.  Garnish with small paper fans small fans or tropical food picks.

Party Prizes/Favors

·        Award copies of the book “Hawaii” by James Michener.

·        Plastic, shell, leaf and silk flower necklaces and leis are luau loot they'll love.

·        Sunglasses are a must for your daytime luau.

       Take sunny snapshots of your guest and place in colorful party favor frames to take home.




·        Sending a "message-in-a-bottle" invitation is perfect for this island theme.  Write the party particulars on a 5" x 7" sheet of tropical-patterned paper, roll up and tie with a ribbon. Insert into a recycled, plastic soda bottle with a few seashells, sand, tropical beads, and a tropical drink paper umbrella.  Decorate the bottle with themed stickers, attach a mailing label and take to your post office to mail.

·        Write the invitation on a long strip of paper and insert into a conch shell.  Mail in a recycled, decorated mini milk carton.

·        Print your invitation copy with a paint pen on the inside of a large clam or scallop shell.  Mail in a small box or cushioned envelope.

·        Guests will flip over their flip-flop invitations. Just glue your invitation wording to the back of these party coasters.

·        Pen the wording on green construction paper cut into the shape of leaves, and attach to a silk gardenia or other exotic flower.  Add a drop of gardenia oil to the flower to add to the experience.  Send in a long, thin box designed to mail flowers.  (These can be found at florists, floral suppliers and box manufacturers locally or via an online supplier.)

·        Find travel brochures or magazine photos to an island getaway, and use labels to insert your invitation copy.

·        Type up your invitation and glue to a set of sunglasses or write directly on the sunglass lens.  Mail in a small box or cushioned envelope decorated with tropical stickers.

·        NOTE: When sending an unusual invitation, mail from your post office. Send yourself one first to determine its condition and length of time for delivery.



·        Prop up life-size hula dancer cutouts along your entrance to invite your guests to sway on in.

·        Line your walkway with luau novelty lights or torch candles to light the way to evening luau. For daytime events, let a life-size hula dancer Mylar balloon sway in the breeze to welcome you guests.

·        Trim the door to your luau lounge with a floral and fringe door cover or hang a printed "Tiki Lounge" banner.

·        Turn an ordinary beach or table umbrella into a Tiki hut with a raffia umbrella cover.

·        Tropical togs is the dress code for this island getaway.

·        Tie on a pile of fruit attached to a scarf for a Chiquita Banana look as part of your party host costume.

·        Adorn each guest with a plastic, shell, leaf or silk flower necklace or lei when they enter your hut and make them part of your decor.

·        The ladies will have "happy hands and feet" when they're covered with colorful floral bands.

·        Give every window an island view with tropical window scenery.

·        Make a BIG impression with a 4-foot tall inflatable Tiki god.

·        Turn an ordinary umbrella table into a faux grass-hut with a raffia umbrella cover and a raffia table shirt.

·        Even if it's 10-below, your party space will be a tropical oasis with a variety of inflatable palm trees spread around your space.

·        Use easy-to-remove sticky-tack to give any wall into an island paradise with a sunset, tropical island, mountain/beach, tiki hut, tiki god, palm tree or bamboo backdrop with a collection of easy-to-use scene setters. Or, give the illusion of a life-size aquarium with an underwater tropical fish scene setter.



·        Rent or borrow from your library movies or travelogues with a South Seas locale. Try “South Pacific,” “Blue Hawaii,” “Gidget Goes Hawaiian,” “Hawaii,” or any other videos that appeal to you.  You don’t need to leave the sound on, just play the video for added atmosphere.

·        Check with local dance studios or cultural groups to see if you can find a hula dancer to perform, and then have him or her give lessons to your guests. For added action, supply guests with hula costume pieces.

·        Find the musician in your group who can plink out island tunes on a ukulele.

·        Let guests try their luck by tacking a whack at a treat-filled Tiki piñata.

·        Tropical music will add another layer to your luau.



·        Fill a clear glass goldfish bowl with goldfish crackers.

·        Prop up a surfboard on chairs or sawhorses to use as your buffet table.

·        Serve dry snacks in an upturned neon or plain straw beachcomber hat or in the rim.

·        Set drinks on ice in a child's wading pool, preferably one with a tropical design. Or, place your beverages on ice in a pineapple-shaped cooler.

·        Roll tropical design flatware into a brightly printed napkin and tie with a flower slap bracelet for a grab-and-go packet.

·        A luau-design set of salt and pepper shakers will spice up your table.

·         Tiki, toucan or hula girl candles will add glow to your show.

·        Trim your table and chairs with glowing leis for a look they'll love.

·        A 24" Tiki idol or 20' Palm Tree would give a Polynesian presence to your buffet display.

·        Any drink will be more tropical when you add an ornamental drink umbrella and whimsical tropical straws.



·        Tropical beads with fun fruits will be a favorite.

·        Your party will be hot, so help guests keep their cool with colorful hand fans.

·        Let them make beautiful music with a wooden ukulele or an play an air version of their island music souvenir with an inflatable one.

·        Send guests home with an instant or digital photo set into a beach-themed frame.

Tropical Magnetic Photo Frames.

Each set includes a 7" x 5" frame with a 4 1/4" x 2 7/8" photo space and a 4 1/4" x 2 7/8" magnet. Assorted designs. © OTC

$5.95 per dozen.  For ordering information e-mail.


ã2006 – Phyllis Cambria - All Rights Reserved

More, More, More Luau Supplies Here.  Click on Themes and then Luaus--the selection is amazing. (Those hard-to-find Clam Shell Bowls here.)


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Attention Professional Planners or Committee Chairs.

Check out our Complete Luau Island Party Planning Package.


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ã2006 – Phyllis Cambria - All Rights Reserved