I love tropical themed parties. Pineapples, tropical leaves, palm trees; I am obsessed. So when I had the opportunity to style a fabulous luau-style party I had so many ideas I barely knew where to start. Luaus or any sort of tropical theme are really easy to pull off right now since they’re trending and finding supplies and decor to match this theme is as simple as heading to your local dollar or party store. I wanted to share the details with you to help you bring your own luau birthday party ideas to life!
Photography: Krystle Images
Macarons: Kizzy’s Macarons
Event Styling and Planning: Sprinkles + Streamers
When guests arrived we wanted them to get into the luau mood, so I designed this sign inviting guests to grab a lei. You can find leis from party supply stores as well as dollar stores and they’re very inexpensive. There are so many choices you can easily have them match any color scheme.
I knew an over the top balloon garland was a must for this theme. Tropical colors are so bright, fun, and festive they are practically begging for balloons! I created a treat table and tiki bar drink table next to it so I wanted the garland to bring those two main features together, but keep them separate at the same time since I was styling them slightly differently.
I kept the focus on citrus colors; bright yellows and greens. I added in pops of Caribbean blue and dark pink. If you’re planning on making your own balloon garland they are dead easy, they just take a loooong time. If you have an air compressor with a nozzle attachment this helps to blow a lot of balloons up quickly. I suggest making as much of the garland as you can the night before, and if anyone offers to help take them up on it!
To create a balloon garland simply blow your balloons up in varying sizes. Once you have them all blown up tie them onto a fishing string randomly. Keep going until most of the balloons are done.
Fill in any empty spaces with leftover balloons. I also added some honeycomb pineapples, tropical leaves, and flowers to the garland using a low-temp glue gun. You can buy these from most craft stores or even some dollar stores.
The Treat Table
This is always the most fun part to style. As I mentioned, party and dollar stores are rife with tropical-themed products right now, which makes planning your luau super easy. Honeycomb pineapples are definitely the way to go when it comes to adding a tropical vibe to your event. They’re cheap, and so cute! There is just something about honeycomb decorations that I can’t get enough of.
For the backdrop I used another great dollar store find; beach mats. They are neutral so you don’t have to worry about coordinating the rest of your decor to them, and they are cheap! I made the ‘Aloha’ using patterned card stock with my Silhouette Cameo. To frame the backdrop I used tropical leaves from the dollar store (keep an eye out for these, they seem to go quick) and tiki torches that you can buy just about anywhere this time of year.
For the table skirt I bought two adult-sized grass hula skirts found at any dollar store. You can get plastic ones in various colors but I prefer the look of the raffia skirts. Make sure to get adult skirts so they reach the floor. The tropical leaf garland was made with my Silhouette, but you could just use a print-out of a leaf to use as a stencil and cut your own out if you don’t own a die-cut machine.
Now onto the food!
I really wanted to focus to be on pineapples, and there are loads of great ideas out there, especially on Pinterest. All you need to do is add a green topper and voila, you’ve got pineapple themed food! Check out what I served:
Aren’t these macarons from Kizzy’s Macarons gorgeous?? I love serving macarons because you can color coordinate them to any color scheme. These green, blue, and yellow beauties were perfect for this dessert table, and I also used them on top of the drip cake.
So I’m admittedly not a professional cake decorator (obviously) and this was my first go at a drip cake. I prematurely put the cake in the fridge so the drip ended up a bit wonky, but the macarons and palm tree topper as the focal point saved the day.
Next up are my ‘pineapple’ treats:
How cute are these donuts, right? Donuts are having a moment right now, and seriously who doesn’t like these deep-fried delights. I took simple grocery store donuts (if you live in British Columbia and haven’t tried the glazed donuts from Save On you are missing out) and popped a pineapple top on them. You can use a die-cut machine like the Silhouette to cut them out, or simply cut them out by hand. These were a hit and disappeared quickly.
I mentioned it in a previous post, but these little jello pots are a hit at any party, and you can color coordinate with ease. Obviously this party needed yellow jello with the pineapple toppers. Tropical vibes baby!
Marshmallow pops are another favorite to serve at parties. Again, they’re dead easy, inexpensive, and kids and adults alike just love these. To make these:
- Melt the green candy melts
- Pour the liquid melts into preferably a squeeze bottle, but a tightly sealed piping bag with a small round tip will do
- Draw the outline of the pineapple top and fill in with candy melts. Let dry completely.
- Put straws or lollipop sticks in each marshmallow
- Melt the yellow candy melts
- Dip marshmallows in melted yellow candy melts
- While the marshmallows are still wet put a pineapple topper on top. If it doesn’t stay simply insert a toothpick behind to hold it up. This works best if you have florist foam or something you can stick them in while it dries
- Before the yellow is completely dried, but it’s is fairly firm, pull out the toothpicks
- Let dry completely
These are pina colada cupcakes, and they are hands down the BEST cupcakes I have ever had, and let me tell you that’s saying a lot! They are simply delightful; super moist pineapple cupcakes with the most decadent coconut cream cheese frosting. I’ll be sharing the recipe for these lovelies in a few weeks.To make the cupcake toppers I used these festive pieces from a confetti pack from Party City. I loved the colors and gold accents.
Treats don’t have to be sugary, so we included these fun fruit skewers as well. To serve these we drilled a holes into one side of a wooden round (you don’t need to go all the way through so it won’t ruin them). Super easy and they looked awesome.
The Tiki Bar
What is a luau party without a tiki bar? Mixed drinks were served and the Margharitaville was well utilized. You don’t need to serve a full bar at your party, but a few festive drinks are always fun. I also served lemonade in the drink dispenser for kids and those looking for a non-alcoholic option.
I designed this drink menu to go along with the drinks being served:
I made these stir sticks using my Silhouette, and the cups are from party city. They fit in with the tiki bar theme perfectly and are a step up from paper cups.
Here’s a final shot of the whole setup:
You don’t need to go all out to host your own luau birthday party, just go with some bright island colors and add in plenty of tropical elements. You can even use things you have lying around your house.
Just to recap here are a few ideas you can use and where you can source them:
For the Decor:
- beach mats – dollar store
- grass skirts – dollar store, Party City
- tropical leaves – dollar store, Michaels, Amazon
- balloons – dollar store, Party City
- honeycomb pineapples – dollar store, Party City, Target
- tiki torches – Walmart, Canadian Tire, Party City, dollar store
- leis – dollar store, Party City
- donuts with pineapple topper
- pineapple marshmallow pops
- fruit skewers
- pina colada cupcakes
- jello pots
I hope you have found some inspiration for your own luau, if you have any questions or comments please leave them below, I love to hear from you!