How to Throw a Hawaiian Wedding Reception

Eight Methods:Encourage Hawaiian AttireProvide Leis for the Wedding Party and GuestsProvide Hawaiian Name Tags or Place CardsDecorate with Hawaiian DecorationsFeature a Hawaiian Wedding CakeServe Hawaiian Luau Food and BeveragesInclude Hawaiian Language in the Toasts

A rising trend in wedding celebrations is for the couple to choose a theme for the ceremony and reception. A Hawaiian theme evokes romantic images of beaches, sunsets, tropical flowers, luaus, leis and ukulele music. In fact, the Hawaiian word "luau" means "a feast." To effectively carry out a Hawaiian celebration, it is important to incorporate Hawaiian-themed elements in all aspects of the reception, from the food to the decorations. Use these tips to throw a Hawaiian wedding reception.

Method 1
Encourage Hawaiian Attire

  1. 1
    Choose traditional Hawaiian attire for the bride and groom. A Hawaiian bride traditionally wears a white long, flowing gown with a haku lei, or ring of Hawaiian flowers, around her head. A Hawaiian groom traditionally wears white pants and a white shirt with a brightly colored sash around his waist. The groom also wears a green maile lei around his neck.
  2. 2
    Select Hawaiian attire for the wedding party. The wedding party attire can be formal or informal, depending on the formality of the event. For a more formal event, select suits with light colored shirts and ties for the men, and silk cocktail dresses for the women. For a semi-formal or casual event, choose linen pants and Hawaiian shirts for the men, and Hawaiian print sundresses for the women.
  3. 3
    Ask wedding guests to wear Hawaiian clothing to the wedding and reception. The guests' Hawaiian attire will help to create a Hawaiian atmosphere at the reception. Men may wear Hawaiian shirts, while women may dress in cotton or linen dresses with tropical prints.

Method 2
Provide Leis for the Wedding Party and Guests

  1. 1
    Provide leis for all wedding guests. As guests enter the wedding and/or reception, adorn each with a lei, which is a necklace made from fresh flowers. In Hawaii, leis are presented at celebrations as a symbol of appreciation, love and respect.
    • Select maile leis or kukui nut leis for the men. If you are worried that men won't want to wear a necklace of fresh flowers, offer maile leis, which look like leafy green vines, or kukui nut leis, which are strung kukui nuts.
    • Consider silk leis if your budget is tight. While fresh flower leis are traditional for Hawaiian celebrations, silk flower leis are less expensive and can be saved as keepsakes following the wedding.

Method 3
Provide Hawaiian Name Tags or Place Cards

  1. 1
    Carry out the Hawaiian theme with personalized name tags or place cards. With the help of a website, translate reception guests' names into Hawaiian and print the names onto name tags or place cards.

Method 4
Decorate with Hawaiian Decorations

  1. 1
    Decorate the reception area with tiki torches.
    • Use tiki torches to provide festive lighting for an evening wedding reception.
    • Utilize tiki torches to hold flower arrangements for a daytime wedding. Remove the fuel holder from the tiki torch and fill the torch with fresh or silk flower stems.
    • Drape chiffon fabric between tiki torches to create aisles or section off areas of the reception. Tie lightweight fabric to tiki torches to create decorative impact in the reception space.
  2. 2
    Provide Hawaiian table centerpieces. Because table centerpieces are highly visible, they are an ideal way to carry out a Hawaiian theme.
    • Decorate tables with pineapples and other tropical fruit. Place tropical fruit into large glass containers for easy and colorful centerpieces.
    • Create centerpieces from tropical flowers. Use flesh blooms from tropical flowers, such as plumeria and orchids, to create a fragrant and dramatic centerpiece. Add tropical greenery to fill out centerpieces. If fresh blooms are too expensive, consider silk blooms.
    • Decorate with Hawaiian figurines. Consider figurines of Hawaiian couples kissing or even dashboard hula wigglers for centerpieces with personality.
    • Create centerpieces from coconut shells or bamboo. For evening luaus, place candles in coconut shells or bamboo stalks to create centerpieces that also illuminate the table.
  3. 3
    Decorate the food, buffet and bar table. Rather than serve macadamia nuts and other small items in traditional bowls and platter, use large sea shells. Smaller shells or coconut shells can be used to hold condiments or silverware.
    • Wrap grass skirts around the edges of serving tables to create a Hawaiian feel to the reception space.

Method 5

  1. 1
    Choose Hawaiian music to set the mood at the wedding reception. Hire a live band, slack key guitarist or ukulele player who specializes in Hawaiian music. If live music isn't in your budget, play a Hawaiian music CD or stream Hawaiian music on your computer.
    • Select traditional Hawaiian themed wedding music. Rather than play the Wedding March, play the Hawaiian Wedding Song as the bride and groom enter the reception.
    • Hire a hula dancer to teach traditional hula dancing to reception guests. Hula dancers can teach guests a few basic hula moves, which will add elements of culture and recreation to the reception.

Method 6
Feature a Hawaiian Wedding Cake

  1. 1
    Create a Hawaiian wedding cake. A basic wedding cake can easily be transformed into a Hawaiian cake by adding silk or fresh flowers. If you prefer a more traditional bride and groom figurine cake topper, consider a figurine of a Hawaiian couple.

Method 7
Serve Hawaiian Luau Food and Beverages

  1. 1
    Provide traditional Hawaiian luau foods for the wedding reception guests. Consider menu items like teriyaki beef, kahlua pig, mochiko chicken, huli-huli chicken, mahi-mahi, laulau, lomi lomi salmon, chicken long rice, poi and haupia.
    • Include tropical fruits from Hawaii, such as fresh pineapple and papaya. The fruit can be cut into cubes and put onto fruit skewers, combined as a fruit salad or even made into a salsa to complement other menu items.
    • Hire a caterer who specializes in Hawaiian cuisine. Many caterers provide menus specifically for luaus that would be appropriate for Hawaiian wedding receptions.
  2. 2
    Offer traditional Hawaiian beverages. Mai tais and blue Hawaiians are popular alcohol drinks at luaus. You also can offer these in a non-alcoholic version, or offer a fruity non-alcoholic punch.

Method 8
Include Hawaiian Language in the Toasts

  1. 1
    Add a Hawaiian element to the toasts at the reception. Even those who aren't familiar with the Hawaiian language can incorporate a few Hawaiian words into toasts. Consider words like "ho'oheno," which means to love, "ho'olaule'a," which means a celebration, or "hau'oli," which means joy.


  • Keep lit tiki torches and candles away from any flammable materials.

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Categories: Theme Parties