If you are going on a Hawaiian honeymoon or simply wish you could, you may want to have a Hawaiian rehearsal dinner to kick off your wedding festivities. A rehearsal dinner can and should be a relaxing time to celebrate with friends and family before the panicky whirlwind of the wedding sets in. A luau is the perfect way to accomplish this.

Unlike weddings, rehearsals can usually be planned with limited professional assistance. A luau is especially easy to plan because there are so many free Hawaiian resources available. A good place to begin your research is to peruse the Internet. A multitude of sites are devoted to Hawaii and related subjects. Other sources of information are people who have visited Hawaii. They may have ideas you can use or may even lend you some memorabilia to set the mood at your luau.

The easiest way to convey a Hawaiian atmosphere is to eliminate stress. No one is stressed at a beachside luau on the Hawaiian Islands. This no-stress theme should begin with the rehearsal dinner invitations. Don’t send formal engraved invitations for a casual luau. Make the invitations funky and colorful or send a “message in a bottle”. Don’t forget to invite your guests to wear casual, Hawaiian attire. Once the party actually begins, continue that carefree Hawaiian spirit. An easy way to convey an aloha feeling is to host the party outside under the open sky. Line the path to the dining area with tiki torches and play relaxing Hawaiian music. Assign someone to greet each guest with a lei, the traditional Hawaiian hello, or drape a lei on each chair. Silk leis are readily available and inexpensive at party stores and through the web and catalogs. In fact, many Hawaiian decorations are easy to find and easy on the pocketbook. The Oriental Trading Company offers a plethora of Hawaiian kitsch at a reasonable price. If you live near a beach or know someone who does, you can find decorations for free. Sand makes a great anchor for thin taper candles and seashells look fabulous in a bowl with floating candles. Miniature sand dollars and shells are also available at craft stores. Glue these in the center of colorful ribbons for playful napkin rings. Use your imagination and don’t be afraid to go overboard! Save the formality and elegance for the wedding.

At a rehearsal dinner, food is of the utmost importance. Hawaiian food is tasty and fun to eat. Serve the traditional roasted pig with an apple in its mouth if you want to go all out. If that’s not feasible, honey-roasted ham or Hawaiian chicken is just as good and easier to deal with. Serve a large green salad and fresh vegetables. A pasta salad is also a nice addition. Make a serve-yourself drink bar with plenty of fruity punches. Don’t forget the tiny umbrellas for drinks! For dessert, serve coconut cream pie and lots of fresh fruit. After dinner is over, start a game of limbo or just get down to some Island tunes. Whatever you do, have a blast! Aloha!

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