Luau Graduation Party Ideas


What better place to relax and celebrate than having a party at the beach! Every graduate dreams of those beautiful summer days spent lounging and playing in the water and on the sand. Find your nearest beach—whether at the local park, oceanside, lake—or your backyard, and get ready to surf your way to a great graduation party. If you want to make this kind of party a success, I have one word for you: Luau!

Graduation luau Invitations

Don’t forget to check out Party411’s personalized graduation invitations, which are an easy and fun way to get the party started.  You can always choose the personalized luau graduation invite to match your theme. Or try one of these invite ideas:
  • Another fun option is a luau boarding pass invitation or a photo ticket invitation (featuring a photo of the grad on the beach) inviting everyone to head to the beach to celebrate their big day.
  • Invite your guests to dress for the beach or even dress as a "tourist" to your exotic locale. You might get guests started by sending them a hula skirt and lei along with their invitation. Wearables get everyone in the mood to party and make for a great photo op, too. With that kind of an invite, no one will send regrets!
  • Mail a plastic bottle filled with sand, sea shells, and a strand of party beads with a rolled up piece of paper describing all of the party details. (Message in a bottle anyone?)

Whatever you decide, you can always just keep it simple with a handful of lei flower in each envelope.  What a sweet surprise for guests!

Make sure your invite wording gets everyone in the mood to hula!  Use one of these options for inspiration:

Flip flop on over for some fun -
Sarah is having a luau graduation!

Wear your Hawaiin shirts and hula skirts,
And we'll provide the leis!
We are having a luau to celebrate
Jordan's graduation day!

Hula on over and make a splash
At Christine's luau graduation bash!

Whatever you decide, make sure to send out your invites 6-8 weeks in advance.  Graduation is a busy party season, and you want to give guests enough time to mark their calendars and rsvp with yes!

Graduation Luau Decorations and Party Supplies
Set the stage for your guests from the minute they arrive at your party. If you're throwing your grad party at an actual beach, you might have signs welcoming them to the party or festively decorated tables and chairs. If at home, line the driveway and yard with palm trees, a Tiki hut, Tiki torches! Try a few more of these entrance ideas to give your party space a Hawaiian feel:

  • Set up a sign-in area with a luau sign in board where guests can leave well wishes and congratulations to the grad!
  • On the sign-in table, spread mementos of the guest of honor - school pictures, yearbooks, choir programs, etc. As a backdrop, spell the grad's name with cardboard letters covered in lei flowers. (You can also try this with their graduation year!)

Add a few more of these luau themed ideas, and you're ready to go:

  • Hawaiian Balloons:  Balloon bouquets always go a long way at any theme party!  Group pineapple balloons and parrot balloons with latex ones, and put them at all of your party hotspots - the buffet, sign-in table, and even as centerpieces.
  • Luau Banner: Hang a custom graduation luau banner over your entrance welcoming guests to your party.  Plus, this banner matches your luau invites!
  • Luau Graduation Cutout: Your graduate may be too busy to greet every guest at the door, so place a male graduation cutout or female graduation cutout of the guest of honor at the entrance instead. Add a bucket hat and flower lei so the grad matches the party theme!
  • DIY Sandcastle: Turn your entrance into a giant sandcastle! Build sandcastles out of cardboard and spray paint them with faux-sand (available at craft stores). Then, make flags out of lightweight cloth to fly from the castle top and attach them to small dowel rods. Write a custom message on the flags, like "Welcome" or "Bob's Graduation Beach Bash."
  • Luau Party Wearables: As your guests enter, offer them a tropical flower lei or a shell necklace. They will wear them all night long at your luau!
  • Create a Beach Hideway: Throughout your party space, carry the beach theme. If you're adventurous, get sand and dump it on your patio and backyard. Set up beach chairs, colorful towels, and cover your patio umbrella in this beach scene setter.
  • Finishing Touches: Hang beach balls from the ceiling and in doorways, and string lanterns and twinkle lights along deck rails and fences. 

Don't forget to decorate your tables, too! We have tons of great ideas to get you started.

Graduation Table Decorations and Menu
Set out colorful luau paper goods. They match the invites, favors, and decorations, and best of all - no dishes to wash!  Add a few more of these table decorating tips, too:

  • Sunglass Seating Cards: If you have arranged seating, then add a fun touch to your seating cards. Custom sunglasses do the trick! No need for Oakleys, you can get inexpensive glasses by the dozen. Or what about goggles? Guests will get a kick out of goggles with their names on them.
  • Sandcastle Centerpieces: Remember when we made sand castles as children, in the little plastic castle molds? Follow your theme with sandcastle centerpieces. Instead of filling a castle mold with wet sand, buy bags of dry sand at the hardware store and mix your sand with plaster of paris. This way they won't fall apart on your tables when the sand dries.
  • Beach Pail Centerpieces: Attach luau theme balloons to the inside bottom of plastic pails. Or choose balloon bouquets in the grad's school colors. Fill the pails with loose sand and a plastic shovel.  Finish the look by scattering seashells on the table. These same decoration would look great on buffets, around the yard/pool, and near important party hotspots (like the sign-in table).
  • Luau Theme Tables: Add zest to the table top by wrapping silverware bundles in lei flower bracelets. Spread out a fishnet under each centerpiece and a raffia table skirt to finish off the look! If your party will go into the night add some Tiki tabletop candles to make your space glow.
  • Custom Luau Water Bottles: Of course, guests will get thirsty at a beach party!  Serve water with personalized luau theme water bottle labels. Keep drinks cool in an inflatable palm tree cooler.
Since you'll be serving all sorts of tropical drinks (virgin pina colada or strawberry daquiri, anyone?), make sure to serve them in classic coconut cups. (Of course, add a classic umbrella drink pick!)
Get creative with a luau theme menu. You can't go wrong with any of these tropical inspired foods:
  • BBQ ANYTHING is the perfect main course. (Roast pig anyone?) Barbecue chicken skewers, kalua pulled pork sliders, and steak kabobs are a must!
  • The centerpiece of your buffet should be a towering fruit display with pineapple, watermelon, grapes, strawberries and more!
  • For sides, think pineappe salsa and chips, mango coleslaw, and bacon wrapped pineapple.
  • Add in a little seafood! Barbecue shrimp cocktail skewers are a real treat.
  • Of course, the grad and their friends would love a few slices of Hawaiian pizza (pineapple and ham).  Order a few, and you're good to go!
A dessert buffet with lemon bars, coconut bars, and other finger bites is a great finish to this fun fresh meal. Of course, don't forget the graduate's "Congratulations" cake.  If you really want to go traditional, check out these popular luau recipes.

Luau Graduation Games and Activities
If you're at the beach, then you're all set with activities for your luau. The sun, sand and surf will provide plenty of entertainment. But if you'd like to go all out, try one or two of these ideas:

  • Add a steel drum band or DJ who plays island, reggae and beach music, and your friends will have a fabulous time! Guaranteed.
  • And, of course, you can't have a luau graduation without a game of limbo! If you're having a band or DJ, make sure they play plenty of tropical songs during the contest. If you're not, set up a CD with tropical music. Be sure to have fun prizes to handout, too.  
  • Set up a photo booth with a "beach babe" photo op and "beach dude" photo op.  Who wouldn't want to look like that? 
  • To tie in graduation, don't forget a 2019 Graduation Photo Op, too.  It's perfect for large group photos. And don't forget a fun bucket of props - leis, coconut bras, and beachcomber hats!
  • Set up a volleyball net and blow up a few beach balls for an afternoon of fun.
  • If your location permits, have a beach bonfire.  Make sure to have plenty of driftwood seating for guests to lounge on.  Your party is sure to continue into the night!
  • Everyone loves pinatas!  We have tons of luau themed pinatas to choose from.

Of course, we have a ton of other Luau Party Games as well. Take a look!

Luau Graduation Party Favors

We always recommend edible party favors because everyone likes candy.  Here are a few of our favorite edible party favors great for your luau graduation:

Whatever you decide, make sure to attach a special thank you from the guest of honor for attending.  Congratulations to the grad from the Party Girl!