How to throw a totally tropical party
The summer is upon us and that means it’s party time! If you are inviting family and friends round to mark an anniversary, birthday or just because you deserve to let your hair down, we think a tropical celebration is the way to do it. So, here’s our guide to saying ‘aloha!’ to party season!
When you send out your invitations, make one thing abundantly clear – you want everyone to get into the tropical swing of things by coming in their brightest and most summery outfits. Hawaiian shirts are the obvious choice, but any loud, flowery and over-the-top attire will do. Encourage people by awarding a prize to the best dressed, with extra points for Panama hats, grass skirts and big sunglasses.
Top tip: Have a stash of fancy dress accessories on hand so people who haven’t made the effort can still get into the spirit of things, or those who have come dressed up can add an extra flourish. If you are feeling crafty and creative, try making your own flower leis – kids will love helping you. Otherwise, raid the Party Pieces store for leis, hula skirts and flamingo sunglasses, plus kids’ flower lei sets.
You never need an excuse to go all-out with the decorations, especially when it’s a summer party and the theme is tropical. Throwing this kind of party gives you the chance to unleash the kitsch and Party Pieces is packed with decorations that will let you do that in spectacular style. Everything you need is in our Hawaiian Party and Tropical Party ranges. Bestsellers include these pastel palm leaf garlands, clip on parrot decorations and Tropical Palm outdoor rug. Go for it with the foil balloons, too: the stand-up palm tree, toucan and pineapple are all suitably over the top.
Top tip: If your party goes on into the evening, once darkness falls you’ll want to keep the outside space well lit. Eco Palm reusable solar lanterns or solar lantern balloon lights will add a smart touch to your party scene – helping balance out the full-on colours of the daytime celebrations.
You will need a banging soundtrack for your tropical celebrations, so either get a DJ who specialises in playing dancefloor sizzlers, or line up some of your favourite summer songs on a playlist, including a mix of calypso, reggae and salsa. If there are any kids in attendance, they will probably appreciate a few songs from the Moana soundtrack. You’re Welcome is our personal favourite!
Set up your own Polynesian-style tiki bar and remember that as with the rest of the party décor, subtlety is not an option. Adorn your bar table with a Hawaiian luau table kit and tiki bar centrepiece, and hang this gold pineapple garland behind it. Deck it out with a pineapple drinks dispenser and drinks jars, plus Aloha paper party cups and straws, and these super stylish embossed wine glasses.
Top tip: Once the party is up and running, you won’t want to be spending all your time filling up people’s glasses. As well as the pineapple drinks dispenser on the bar, fill a flamingo paddling pool, or better still fill this inflatable palm tree cooler, with ice and add a load of wine and beer bottles, as well as your favourite mixer cans and soft drinks so people can help themselves.
Tropical cocktail and mocktail ideas
And what exactly will everyone be drinking? As you’ve gone to the effort to put up a tiki bar, you should offer a menu of appropriately summery cocktails to go with it. Mai Tais are the quintessential Tiki drink, so this zesty rum-based cocktail should be top of your list. Otherwise, go Cuban with minty Mojitos or conjure up the spirit of summer holidays past by whipping up some delicious pina coladas, and you could also do a virgin version for the non-drinkers.
Top tip: Your tropical cocktails won’t be complete without some old school mini paper umbrellas.
What are you going to stick on the barbecue for your party? Whatever you’re going for, give it the tropical touch by adding fruity and spicy elements. Skewers of chicken and/or prawns with peppers and pineapple chunks on the grill will be delicious, or douse pork ribs in a marinade (overnight, if you can) spiked with pineapple juice.
Top tip: British barbecues are often all about cramming as many different kinds of meat over the heat, but we think it’s much more satisfying to do one main dish and a load of side dishes brilliantly. So, stick to ribs, skewers or something different, and accompany with your favourite salads and sides, and load up the table with tropical tableware. Get these Rio salad servers, Aloha table runner and colourful melamine plates for starters.
With the garden transformed into a tropical paradise, the summer cocktails flowing and the music blasting, everybody will be in the mood for some fun and games. You simply can’t throw a tropical party without a game of limbo or two. It only takes a few people to start playing and soon everyone will want to see how low they can go.
Top tip: For an added extra, lay out some hula hoops to get people moving, and you could even create a ‘pineapple bowling lane’. All you need is a flat stretch of ground, a ball and a load of pineapples arranged like bowling pins, then see who can get a spiky strike.
Kids can, of course, have a good go at limbo and pineapple bowling, but if it’s a hot day, set up a paddling pool for them to play and cool off in. Get them some water balloon bunches and water fight kits for added fun. A tropically-inclined piñata is a great idea to entertain the kids, too, and once the whacking starts adults usually want to give it a try as well. We think this flamingo is the one to beat, and don’t forget the mask and stick!