How To Host An Elegant Hawaiian Luau Party

overhead view of luau themed place setting bamboo placemat with white dinner plate smaller white plate with gold rim and small square bamboo plate stacked on top gold fork resting on left side of plate gold knife resting on right side of plate and white napkin with rope and seashell napkin ring to right of plate "runner" of small seashells at top of plate

It’s tablescape day for my monthly dinner club group. I’ve been looking forward to the theme this month since the beginning of the year. So let’s get to it, and let me show you how to host an elegant Hawaiian luau party.

If you’re coming over from Stacy at Bricks N Blooms, welcome! I’m so glad you’re here and joining us for a tropical theme Hawaiian luau party.

Wasn’t Stacy’s table so creative and beautiful??

an elegant Hawaiian luau party tablescape

side view of luau themed place setting bamboo placemat with white dinner plate smaller white plate with gold rim and small square bamboo plate stacked on top gold fork resting on left side of plate gold knife resting on right side of plate and white napkin with rope and seashell napkin ring to right of plate "runner" of small seashells at top of plate

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I’m referring to my tablescape as an “elegant” luau party, because traditionally a luau party or tropical theme party would be bright fun colors.

My neutral loving heart just wanted to go outside the box a bit and try and create a neutral theme luau tablescape.

Since, I went all neutral and didn’t incorporate bright colors, it ended up looking a bit more classic and elegant.

You could incorpate all of the ideas here, but replace with pops of color, if you prefer.

For example, a colorful napkin, bright color floral arrangements and even a bright color plate.

luau definition

First of all, let’s talk about what a luau is.

The meaning of “luau” is an elaborate Hawaiian feast, usually held outdoors featuring traditional Hawaiian food and entertainment.

The very first luau was thrown by King Kamehameha II in 1819, as a way to celebrate the end of the Hawaiian cultural taboo against men and women eating together.

elegant luau table details

luau themed table set up in backyard natural grass skirt all around table base woven parsons chairs with white lei draped across chair back gold bar over table with trumpet vine all across it and over table fishing net down center of table with small seashells runner on top 4 place settings with bamboo placemat white dinner plate smaller white plate with gold rim and small square bamboo plate stacked on top

First of all, what do you think about this “over the table” rod?

My mom bought it for me for Christmas, and I’m loving it. All kinds of ideas are swirling around in my head for different ways to use this in my next tablescapes.

It comes in black or gold, and adjusts to the length of your table.

For this particular table, I couldn’t resist wrapping the top of the bar with beautiful blooms from my trumpet vine that is blooming right now.

That was the only exception to my “neutral” luau tablescape.



Another fun detail about this luau tablescape is the grass skirt around the table. I picked these up for $1.25 each at my local dollar store.

I used 6 of them to go around my table, so it was a fairly inexpensive detail that made a big impact.

It is tacked around the edge of my table with wooden thumbtacks. But you could easily use command velcro strips if you don’t want to put holes in your table.

elegant luau centerpiece


For the table runner, I used a fishing net that I had purchased for the “shrimp boil tablescape” that I did last month.


If you missed it, you can see that here.

overhead view of shrimp boil tablescape with brown paper on table covered with fish net place setting of white dinner plate stacked with woven plate holder and white salad plate on top small metal bucket lined with parchment paper on top of salad plate 6 place settings and 2 mason jars filled with small white daisies



This time I scrunched it up a bit and created a narrow runner down the center of the table.

Leaves that I trimmed from a house plant were tucked underneath the fishing net to create a tropical look.

You could always use a faux leaf or paper leaf to achieve a similar look.

Seashells that I’ve collected on beach vacations for years came in really handy for my luau table centerpiece.

Basically, a “runner” was created out of the seashells, and I love how it turned out!



If you don’t happen to have seashells, they are typically available at the dollar store and craft stores fairly inexpensively. They can easily be used for any tropical, beach, or luau themed party or event.

Next up, was a thrifted vase placed in the center of the table among the seashells.



One of my tropical looking houseplants got a haircut and I used a beautiful bloom from my moonflower for the floral arrangement.

Hibiscus, Oleander or Mandevilla would be great tropical looking flower options, as well.

And finally a few votive holders with tealights were scattered among the seashells.

Candlelight at any dinner makes everything so much more magical. Especially an outdoor party or event.

neutral luau place settings

Bamboo placemats that I’ve had for years were perfect for my tropical theme party.

And large white ironstone plates layered with smaller white plates with a gold rim made an elegant place setting.

Disposable square bamboo dessert plates that were left over from my daughter’s wedding were perfect for this theme.

And lastly, these large seashells that I thrifted last year stole the show and topped off each place setting.

These would be perfect to serve an appetizer or dessert, don’t you think??

overhead view of luau themed place setting bamboo placemat with white dinner plate smaller white plate with gold rim and small square bamboo plate stacked on top gold knife resting on right side of plate and white napkin with rope and seashell napkin ring to right of plate

overhead view of 2 luau themed place setting bamboo placemat with white dinner plate smaller white plate with gold rim and small square bamboo plate stacked on top gold fork resting on left side of plate gold knife resting on right side of plate and white napkin with rope and seashell napkin ring to right of plate "runner" of small seashells at top of plate

finishing touches for an elegant luau place setting

coastal napkin ring with white rope and small seashell on top of rope with white napkin pulled through napkin ring sitting on bamboo placemat and 2 stacked white plates beside it

These napkin rings were a super easy DIY.

Empty toilet paper rolls and a bit of rope topped with a seashell made perfect napkin rings for a neutral luau place setting.

You can see how to make them here.

And lastly, I picked up white leis at the dollar store and draped them over the back of each chair to finish off my luau themed tablescape.

menu for luau party

Be sure and check back on Saturday for the full menu with recipes. But here is a sneak peek at what’s coming!

Pineapple Basil Cocktail
Fresh and Easy Pineapple Salsa
Oven Roasted Vegetables
Pineapple Fried Rice
Huli Huli Chicken with Grilled Pineapple
Pineapple Dump Cake

luau dress

Although a grass skirt and a bright color flower lei is very “Hawaiian”, I opted for my favorite white kaftan and a white lei for my luau party.

Any bright color blouse or dress would be perfect for a Hawaiian luau or tropical theme party.

A bright color flower in your hair would be a nice touch too.

woman lighting candle at luau themed table set up in backyard natural grass skirt all around table base woven parsons chairs with white lei draped across chair back gold bar over table with trumpet vine all across it and over table fishing net down center of table with small seashells runner on top 4 place settings with bamboo placemat white dinner plate smaller white plate with gold rim and small square bamboo plate stacked on top


I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing how to host an elegant Hawaiian luau party.

overhead view of 4 luau themed place setting bamboo placemat with white dinner plate smaller white plate with gold rim and small square bamboo plate stacked on top gold fork resting on left side of plate gold knife resting on right side of plate and white napkin with rope and seashell napkin ring to right of plate "runner" of small seashells at top of plate and 2 large green tropical leaves on table



Next up on the tour is Jen from Midwest Life & Style. Jen’s tables are always so beautiful and creative!

Be sure and stop by and see everyone’s amazing table creations by clicking the link at the bottom of the photo.


aloha friends,

Be sure and Pin It to remember it….

pinterest graphic with collage of elegant luau tablescape "How to host and elegant Hawaiian luau"

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If you have missed my last few tablescapes, you can see them by clicking the link at the bottom of each photo below.



18 thoughts on “How To Host An Elegant Hawaiian Luau Party

  1. Michele,
    As always you’ve blown me away with your table setting. I loved every detail. Great job.

    1. Aww, thanks so much Rachel! I’m so glad you liked it and I really appreciate the kind words.
      I love that we both used the grass skirts around our tables.

  2. Michele I love how we had a similar idea but created two totally different looks! Wow your table is beautiful! I love the pretty neutrals and textures.

    1. Thanks so much Stacy! So glad you liked it. This was such a fun theme!

  3. Oh my goodness Michele…Hawaii is one of my very favorite and special places and you brought me right back there! This table is STUNNING! I LOVE the neutral theme you went with…it gives it a romantic feeling and that rod above with the hanging greens is amazing!! SO GOOD…I enjoyed every second of this one!!

    1. Thank you so much Rachel for your kind words! I always appreciate your comments and so grateful that you follow along!

  4. Wow!! You’ve done it again absolutely stunning. I love every detail. The over the table decor is gorgeous. And the neutral color scheme is so serene. Pinned!!

    1. Thank you sweet friend! I truly appreciate the kind words, and I’m so glad you liked it!

  5. Michele,

    I love your use of seashells in your tablescape. Such a beautiful idea!

    Thank you for letting me hang out this month. Xx

    1. Thank you Libbie! I really appreciate that, and I’m so glad you could join us!

  6. Gorgeous as always Michele. And I didn’t even miss all the bright colors which surprised me!

    1. Oh, good Diane! And thanks so much for the kind words!

  7. Michele, you always create beautiful tablescapes, but this may be one of my favorites I love all of the layers and the details from the shells and bamboo place mats. It’s luau perfection. Pinned!

    1. Aww, thank you sweet friend! I really enjoyed creating this one. I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  8. Michele, I love the sea shells on the table with the fishing net. The neutral tones gives it that elegant look. It’s divine!

    1. Aww, thanks so much sweet friend! Happy Sunday!

  9. Michele, this is just stunning! I love everything about this table — the soft neutrals, the amazing texture, the lush green and the natural elements. So gorgeous!! It’s the perfect luau table!

    1. Aww, thanks so much Kim! I really appreciate your kind words, and so glad you enjoyed the post!

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