HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU

Aloha and mahalo for stopping in today. I can’t believe summer is nearly over, but as I feel summer slipping away it encouraged me to think that there’s still time to fit in one last soiree. And there’s nothing quite like a luau to enjoy everything that this sultry season brings: warm temperatures, tropical cocktails, and a bevy of tropical food items that will help us to celebrate the fleeting days of summer. Then it occurred to me that I never did share with you a great Luau Birthday Party that I hosted for my husband. Brad and I met in Hawaii where we both resided for a number of years after attending the University of Hawaii. As you might imagine, I’ve attended a few authentic Luaus in my day. So, I thought, what better time than the present to show you:

How to Host an Amazing Backyard Luau

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Luau Table Decor

It takes a village to throw a large party so I always solicit the help of my family and friends to assist me with the party prep. Here my son Taylor can be seen rolling out burlap that we used to cover rented banquet tables.

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

It was very quick, easy and inexpensive to simply cut the burlap to fit the long table, no sewing involved.

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I purchased a tropical print fabric at a local wholesale fabric outlet and bunched it up down the middle of the table as a table runner. Then I simply added fresh pineapples, coconuts, bananas, papayas & mangos on top as table decor and voila, I had a festive, tropical tablescape without a lot of expense and effort.

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

In addition, I purchased inexpensive sanctuary candles at the grocery store. I then bought a Hawaiian beach matt, cut it up and hot glued it around the candles to produce tropical looking candles for the tables.

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Don’t Forget the Decorations

Since my party would extend into the nighttime hours I needed more than candles to light up the night. So, I lined the backyard terrace with Tiki torches that in addition to providing light, also gave my Luau the perfect tropical flare (pun intended). I picked them up very inexpensively here.

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | Tiki Brand Torches | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | Tiki Brand Torches | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I also hung string lights and created some fun signage with corrugated cardboard, craft paper, some paint & marker pens.

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

We wished the birthday boy Happy Birthday on my large chalkboard.

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I hung Hawaiian style buntings on the staircase and decorated a mantle as a place for the birthday gifts.

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Festive Luau Attire

On the invitation I asked all of my guests to dress in Hawaiian attire for the Luau. Since Brad and I had long since done away with our Aloha attire from the old days living in Hawaii, I discovered an online source for Hawaiian wear called TipsyElves that covered all our needs. I ordered Hawaiian shirts for not only the birthday boy Brad, but for my 3 sons as well.

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | TipseyElves.com |www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

And, I got 6% off my purchase by activating Ebates. You can enjoy the same savings at TipsyElves and at hundreds of other stores by clicking on the image below and signing up for Ebates.

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Make it a Buffet

Luaus are typically large events involving lots of guests and my luau was no exception. So for large parties I always serve the food buffet style. Rather than using paper napkins I purchased inexpensive fabric and sewed cloth napkins for my luau.

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I added bamboo cutlery & chopsticks and tied it all up with twine and black raffia.

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I then placed them on a tropical tray at the beginning of my buffet table.

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

In keeping with the tropical theme I used rectangular shaped bamboo plates.

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

For an added decorative touch I bought exotic blooming anthurium plants and wrapped them in burlap tied in twine. I also wrote the menu on a small chalkboard and placed it on a easel.

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I used grass skirts to line my buffet table and added bunched up fishing nets for yet further Hawaiian flare.

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Luau Libations

My parties always start in our bar so I crafted a couple of signs for the bar out of cardboard that invited my guests to come on in and enjoy a tropical beverage. Those are acorns I used to simulate coconuts on the trees.

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

On the Tiki Lounge sign you can see I used a beach mat for the background and cut corrugated cardboard to form the letters which were then painted.

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Our signature drink for the night was none other than the Mai Tai, which I placed in a self-serve beverage dispenser so my guests could help themselves. I fished cherries and pineapple onto long bamboo picks that became a tropical beverage garnish.

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

PuPus Anyone?

In Hawaii an appetiser is called a PuPu. So for my Luau I hired a local sushi chef who both entertained the guests with his skills and fed them delicious fresh sushi & sashimi as a starter dish.

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Hawaiian Style Plate Lunch

When it was time for dinner our guests lined up at the buffet for what is called “Plate Lunch” in Hawaii. I served Tropical Fruit Salad, Hawaiian Style Macaroni Salad, Napa Cabbage Salad, Sticky Rice, Hawaiian Fried Rice and BBQ’d Teriyaki Chicken.

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Time for Dessert

For a Luau style birthday dessert we made a variety of tropical cupcakes and displayed them on a decorative dessert table that I draped with burlap and fishing nets.

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comHOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comHOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comHOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Music Makes the Party

For background music during dinner we placed our Bose Bluetooth Speakers outside on the terrace and played Hawaiian music to set the mood. After dinner the band we had hired helped us rock the night away on a rented dance floor.

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Luau Style Party Favors

Don’t let your guests leave without a Luau style party favor. I had sugar cookies made in the shape of sunglasses, placed them in cellophane bags and tied them up with a little tag thanking them with a Hawaiian “Mahalo” for helping us celebrate Brad’s birthday with an amazing backyard Luau.

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

So there you have it: HOW TO HOST AN AMAZING BACKYARD LUAU

Mahalo for dropping in today! 

Express Yourself!

No blog post is truly complete without a word from you. I’d be so delighted if you’d leave a comment below. 

All opinions expressed in this post are my own. All photos are the original property of Celia Becker @ www.AfterOrangeCounty.com and may not be reproduced without specific permission.  This post contains affiliate links that help to make this blog possible.

Comments

  • Shenita

    Celia, you did an amazing job with this party! Every single detail was perfection! I am sure your guests had a wonderful time!

  • Again, another Celia event with no detail overlooked! You can’t go wrong with a Hawaiian theme and it always gets people in a festive mood. It looks like fun was had by all. I am sure Brad had a birthday to remember. With a cruise and a Luau…you are making me look like a bad wife for not doing more for Mr B’s birthday. LOL!
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Thanks Vanessa. This birthday party actually took place a couple of years ago and I just never got around to posting it. Now that summer is on its way out I thought it would be a good time to celebrate summer with one last summery party post. BTW, I know you are an amazing wife with nothing to feel bad about! XO

  • Ah, thanks so very much Shenita!

  • Celia,
    I wish you’d publish a book with all of your cleaver and fun entertaining ideas and props. I love all of the touches in this scenario and you come up with such clever (and inexpensive) ideas. This look like everyone had so much fun. Thanks for sharing.
    Karen

  • You made my day with the suggestion of writing a book on entertaining. Maybe one day I will be able to compile all of my entertaining posts into one. That sure would be nice! Thanks so much for the suggestion and your kind words.