How to Host a Lu'au Style Welcome Dinner

When Clara and Elbert contacted us to plan their destination wedding in Hawaii, we had two short months to pull it off. Their wish list was simple: they wanted a remote and private venue to host over 100 guests traveling from South Korea. With most destination weddings, we like to take-on the events that surround the wedding day from rehearsal dinners to the post-wedding brunch. For Clara and Elbert, we planned a bright and tropical lu'au style welcome dinner for the night before their big day. 

Find An Epic Location


We suggested the Four Seasons Resort Lanai for its exclusive 5-star service and sense of utter privacy. Clara and Elbert heard that the resort was recently renovated and that motivated their decision. The newly designed FSR Lanai is gaining wonderful press and recognition for its Polynesian art, indigenous landscaping, and technologically tricked-out rooms. Clara and Elbert had never been there before but trusted the Four Seasons Resort brand. 

Design with Color + Tropical Fruit  


Hawaii is one of the most vibrant and colorful natural backdrops you could ask for in a locale. In designing a dinner party outside, it's all about using that color to create an effortless, festive scene. For the tabletop design, we started with a neutral linen paired with dark wooden chairs. Floral designer Mandy Grace selected wooden dough bowls as her vessel of choice in designing the arrangements. She created gorgeous centerpiece arrangements with a less-is-more approach, using tropical fruit (think rambutan, bananas, pineapples and mango) and greenery. Mandy even found mini pink pineapples that she artfully placed in the mix. Something to note, incorporating fruit in your arrangements is cost-effective, especially if you use seasonal produce. 

For every event that she has her hands in, Mandy Grace Designs dreams up an inspiration board for a visual guide, pictured above. 

Embrace the Aloha Spirit

It's important to us that partygoers have a sense of place when they enter the welcome dinner. Hawaii is such a special and unique destination, we like to pay tribute to the Aloha spirit when possible. Beyond the expected Aloha prints and tropical, tiki cocktails, the island cuisine and presentation is a nod to the beautiful Hawaiian culture. For the dinner menu, we served a favorite lu'au dish, kalua pork cooked in an underground oven called an imu. Guests also dined on fresh ahi poke, a local island delicacy. 
 

Encourage a Relaxed Vibe with Hammocks + Music
 

Most importantly, you want your guests to enjoy themselves and feel completely at ease. The warm weather and resort vibes will set this feeling in motion but we like to encourage lots of lounging with hammocks strung between palm trees and comfy seating for partygoers. The perfect playlist helps and even better is a DJ to set the mood.  

Vendors //

Photographer: Ashley Goodwin | Event Designer: Belle Destination Weddings & Events | Venue: Four Seasons Resort Lanai | Floral Designer: Mandy Grace Designs