How to Host a Luau-Inspired Summer Pool Party

As temperatures are slowly on the rise, it’s officially time for some fun in the sun! And there’s no better way to celebrate the season than with a pool party inspired by the colors, flavors and flowers of Hawaii. This year, take a cue from everyone’s favorite tropical destination, and host a stylish yet approachable luau with these simple tips.

Photo By: Buff Strickland ©2014, Buff Strickland

Photo By: Buff Strickland ©2014, Buff Strickland

Photo By: Buff Strickland ©2014, Buff Strickland

Photo By: Buff Strickland ©2014, Buff Strickland

Photo By: Buff Strickland ©2014, Buff Strickland

Photo By: Buff Strickland ©2014, Buff Strickland

Photo By: Buff Strickland ©2014, Buff Strickland

Photo By: Buff Strickland ©2014, Buff Strickland

Photo By: Buff Strickland ©2014, Buff Strickland

Photo By: Buff Strickland ©2014, Buff Strickland

Photo By: Buff Strickland ©2014, Buff Strickland

Photo By: Buff Strickland ©2014, Buff Strickland

Photo By: Buff Strickland ©2014, Buff Strickland

Photo By: Buff Strickland ©2014, Buff Strickland

Photo By: Buff Strickland ©2014, Buff Strickland

Set the Scene

Put some of your favorite indoor furniture to good use by bringing it outside! Use a low coffee table to set up a summer buffet that’s gorgeous yet casual, and a stylish side table instantly brings a level of sophistication to the space. Mix and match heavier furniture with attractive folding furniture to create enough seating for your guests, then cozy things up with some decorative cushions.

Tricks of the Trade

Unique table runners can be pricey! Our little trick: Buy a few basic ones in natural materials like linen and burlap, then layer them on top of inexpensive fabric that's cut straight from the bolt. This green floral pattern was found at a local craft store and cost less than $5, and it adds the perfect texture and color to the table.

Handmade Details

Nothing brings a table to life quite like a vibrant bunch of flowers. Instead of displaying yours in glass containers, which can be dangerous near a pool, why not create your own on-theme vessel? A store-bought pineapple can be instantly transformed by cutting off the top and hollowing out in the inside of the fruit. The final product holds water just as well as a vase, and guests will marvel at the sight of such a unique tabletop accessory.

Floral Fantasy

Visit your local floral shop to pick up blooms that will instantly transport your guests to the tropics. This arrangement consists of large tropical leaves, a ti plant, vibrant orange dahlias and some greenery for filling. Cut all stems to fit your pineapple vase, then adjust until it’s just right.

Grub on the Go

Create a Hawaiian-inspired lunch menu that’s family friendly and easy to eat. This recipe for chicken satay with peanut sauce combines Asian ingredients like curry and peanuts with simple grilled chicken strips to create a dish that’s irresistible to all.

Get the Recipe: Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

A Seasonal Favorite

No summer party is complete without everyone’s favorite poolside food: burgers hot off the grill. For an option that’s easier and more fun to eat, make these beef and ground pork sliders, which are perfectly dressed with lettuce, caramelized onions, cheese and a delicious sauce. Be sure to make plenty, as guests are sure to come back for seconds of these little guys!

Get the Recipe: Beef and Ground Pork Sliders

A Sizzlin' Treat

For those guests who are looking for a little more spice, whip up these grilled stuffed jalapeno chiles. Stuffed with mozzarella and oregano, then wrapped in crisp bacon, these hand-held snacks are bursting with decadent flavor.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Stuffed Jalapeno Chiles

Dining Details

Single-use dinnerware can be stylish and good for the environment! Small bamboo plates and utensils are a sleek, natural alternative to flimsy paper ones, plus they’re both compostable and biodegradable. Set dinnerware out alongside festive cloth napkins for easy access on the buffet table.

A New Leaf

Folding tray tables aren’t just for TV dinners! Super functional and easy to transport, a tray table is the perfect way to instantly create an additional surface outside. With a drinks station in mind, we covered our tray table in a layer of store-bought tropical leaves for an added dose of color and texture. Tip: Lightly spritz your tropical leaves with water to keep them from spotting or drying up from sun exposure.

Hydration Station

Set out a few different beverage options in resealable bottles for guests to quench their thirsts. Any fresh-squeezed juice or infused water will do, and a sprig of fresh mint instantly adds a refreshing, herbal flavor to the brew. Supply clear acrylic glasses so guests can fill and refill as they choose.

Poolside Partying

Guests can help themselves to the spread, then dine poolside as they enjoy the warm sun and cool water. Don’t have a private pool in your backyard? This fare is a smash hit for any watering hole! Head out to a community pool, sandy beach or lakeshore to re-create this exciting party for friends and family.

Patterns and Prints

Great quality, inexpensive pool and beach towels are hard to come by, so we recommend finding a pattern or print that you love and investing in a full set that can be used year after year. Consider picking a color palette and buying a few different complementary towels, or simply stick to a single design. You’ll take comfort in knowing that you have a matching bunch to offer guests at your pool parties.

High and Dry

If you’re hosting in your own backyard, neatly roll up your towels and arrange them in a large bin. If you’re hosting at a different location, a bin or basket with handles is a great way to easily transfer supplies to your party and then display them beautifully once you’re there.

A Day for Leis

For a fun activity that’s family friendly and oh so Hawaiian, set out supplies for a lei-making station that guests can indulge in freely throughout the day. Rather than purchasing expensive fresh flowers, stop by your local craft store and purchase white twine and a few different kinds of faux tropical flowers. These faux flowers can be easily plucked off the plastic stem to reveal a perfectly centered hole for stringing onto a necklace.

Time to Accessorize!

Guests can don their handmade accessories all day long, then take them home as a memorable party favor!

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