Want to throw a memorable party for the bride? Get inspired by these traditional and not-so-traditional options.By: Sharon Naylor
Description: Take a trip to the Hawaiian islands without leaving the mainland! Your luau shower will transport guests to a paradise mindset of warm sun, sand and palm trees, with delicious tropical drinks!
Decor: If you can hold the shower outside at sunset, especially near a pool with a fountain, you’re in great shape! Light some tiki torches around the grounds, set tropical flower wreaths and candles in the pool, and enjoy the nighttime summer air. If inside, use real or plastic palm trees, a variety of tropical flowers (like birds of paradise, hibiscus and stephanotis) in your centerpieces, set out coconuts and pineapples as decor and string up fun fish-themed lights. Those little grass skirts they sell at the party supply store make fabulous decor for your bar or buffet table; just tack them or tape them onto the fronts of your display tables and you have an instant tiki bar! Include posters of Hawaii, ocean scenes, sunsets, surfers and hula dancers for some added Hawaiian touches. And visit the craft store to load up on big, faux seashells like conches and starfish to set on each guest table and food table as accents.
Menu: Tropical fruit salad, freshly cut pineapple, lomi lomi salmon, seared ahi with mango sauce, tempura, shrimp dishes, mahi mahi curry, Hawaiian pulled pork, pan-fried tofu with seaweed, banana and papaya breads, and a sheet cake in coconut flavors designed to look like a beach or with ocean blue icing and colorful fish created from sugar paste or molding fondant. Include coconut-flavored truffles and macadamia nuts on the side.
Drinks: Serve drinks in tall glasses with slices of fruit, pineapple and cherry spears or tiny drink umbrellas in real or top-quality plastic coconut shells. Go for frozen tropical concoctions, like the Blue Hawaii or the Mai Tai, as well as pina coladas and daiquiris.
Games: Play "What’s Under Your Skirt?” Guests try on grass skirts, perhaps to do an impromptu hula dance. Those with a certain color tag on the band of the skirt win a prize. Or use those colorful leis as part of a game. A certain word is considered "taboo" for the night. If one guest hears another guest say the word, she takes her lei and puts it around her own neck. Other "taboo" actions may include drinking with her right hand, saying the bride’s name, pointing, crossing her legs at the table, cursing or tossing her hair (this last one is tough since we all do it!).
Set up a table featuring photos of Hawaii and a pretty, blank journal or notepad, and ask shower guests to record their favorite suggestions of where to go, where to eat, what to see and where to swim on the islands of Hawaii. It'll be a personal travel guide of suggestions and warnings to make the couple’s honeymoon even more amazing.
Favors: Plastic coconuts filled with wrapped candies, boxed coconut-flavored truffles, homemade cookies with the word Mahalo! piped on them, keychains, conch shells, tiny framed seahorses or starfish, sunglasses, beach bags filled with shore paraphernalia like sunscreen, sunglasses, a beach-read and a CD of classic Hawaiian music.
A Little Something Extra: Have a few of the bridesmaids learn an authentic hula dance (like the huki lau), and then teach the entire group this simple traditional dance. Or do a little research and print out Hawaiian marriage blessings and prayers or mystical island legends about weddings and royal marriages. Play Hawaiian music, like Sounds of Hawaii,Do Ho Hawaii’s Greatest Hits or Drew’s Famous Hawaiian Luau Party.