Q. My husband and I were recently married in a very small ceremony in Hawaii and afterwards spent our honeymoon visiting a few islands. Now that we’re back with family and friends and starting our lives together, we want to throw a big backyard party that’s casual and inexpensive as our substitute reception. Please help us with ideas.
A. Extend the environment you enjoyed at your wedding and have a luau party with your friends and family. Send out invites that show the theme and ask guests to dress for a Hawaiian party. (Of course, be ready for plenty of bad, loud shirts on the men, but that’s part of the fun!)
Create a menu that is easy to prepare. Look for foods you can make a day or few days ahead of time and marinate pork, chicken and other meat the night before; it will be a little less expensive than serving fish. Put someone in charge of the BBQ duty so you and your new husband can enjoy the party. For dessert, carve a large watermelon into a basket shape and fill scooped out space with fresh fruit like pineapple, mango and of course watermelon. Instead of cake and pie, serve fuss-free cupcakes. If you choose to make the food yourselves, rather than hire a caterer, then consider hiring a bartender/server(s) to help serve food and drinks. They can usually be found at local cooking or bartending schools for about $20-25 and hour.
Have games like a limbo stick ready and give the girls and guys fake grass skirts to wear while dancing. There are plenty of string lights, tiki torches, servingware and party accessories to pull together a fun, affordable luau theme event to help extend the celebration of your wedding. Create a music play list of beach songs, traditional hula music, and add in the theme of Hawaii 5-O.
The invites (from finestationery.com):
For the table (from plumparty.com):
Set the scene (umbrella cover from target.com):